When you sign up for a race, you usually have a few months to prepare for the big day. You’re feeling excited and motivated and looking forward to getting started with your training. I often get asked how does one maintain motivation, avoid boredom with their training or overcome self doubt after a sub-par run? How do you keep the exciting and motivating feelings from sign up through race day? I’ve put together a few tips for runners who find themselves in this spot— and trust me, it’s very common.
Tip 1 – Find a Running Buddy.
Have a person you meet up with at least once a week and tackle long runs together. Instead of meeting a friend for dinner or drinks, meet up in workout clothes and head outside. It’s a great way to catch up with someone in an active, healthy way— and the miles fly by!
Tip 2 – Try a New Loop.
Running the same loop over and over is going to get boring. Try going to a local park or track and check out new scenery. A good site to search find loops near you is on USA Track and Field.
Tip 3 – Spice Up Your Same Old Loop with Fartleks.
Fartleks break up the monotony of running your same old loop because you’re focusing on the watch— not the loop. Try different types of fartlek runs such as:
Fartlek #1: Run 1-2 Miles warm up then run 1 minute hard – 1 minute easy, 2 minutes hard – 2 minutes easy, 3 minutes hard – 3 minutes easy, 3 minutes hard – 3 minutes easy, 2 minutes hard – 2 minutes easy, 1 minutes hard – 1 minutes easy – then cool down for 1-2 Miles.
Another Fartlek to pass the time and work on your speed is 10x30seconds. Run 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy— repeat for a total of 10 times.
Tip 4 – Run in the Morning.
When you put off your run until the evening, you have it sitting on your “To Do” list all day. After a long, tiring day, you might start to see the run as a daunting chore. Avoid this predicament by setting your alarm a bit earlier and running first thing in the morning. Also, crossing something off your list gives you a feeling of accomplishment before you leave the house!
Tip 5 – Don’t sweat a “Bad Run.”
Bad runs happen. Anything from what you ate, how you slept, how stressful your day was, how hydrated you are and what the weather is can all affect your run. Try and figure out the cause of why the run didn’t go as planned, take note and move on.
Tip 6 – Plan Your Weeks.
Everyone is busy. Take time on Sunday nights and plan your week. Deciding what days you will run and what time of day will help keep you on track. Schedule them in your calendar just as you would an appointment.
Tip 7 – Reward Yourself.
Set small goals along the way and reward yourself. If you killed a hard workout, reward yourself with your favorite Italian dish or a cold beer. Be sure to set a reward for race day and if you hit your goal— indulge! You earned it!
What other tips do you have to stay motivated?
Karen Welby is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Running Coach and Personal Trainer. Run With Nutrition is a compilation of recipes, workouts, healthy living tips, food, fitness and fun! As a former Collegiate Track and Field Middle Distance Runner turned Health Coach and Personal Trainer, Karen shares how to make simple lifestyle tweaks via nutrition and exercise to feel better— and run faster!
She can be found on Twitter (@coach_karenw), Facebook (Run with Nutrition) and Pinterest (coachkarenw).