Aug 8, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 8/08/2013
The fall racing season is approaching fast, and if you have a marathon or two planned this fall, you are probably in the middle of training. You are building up speed with interval training, those long runs are getting longer, and your weekly mileage is quite impressive. You avoid junk food and alcohol, eat well, go to bed early, wake up early, run a lot, and repeat.

At this point, marathon training may seem to take over your life, and sometimes, it's just hard to drag yourself out of bed before the sun rises to get in a run before heading off to work. It could be hard to keep the motivation up, but I hope that my tips can help you from feeling burned out.

1) Sign up for a local shorter distance race and run it as a training run. Not running to race will take the pressure off and the excitement of the event usually increases my motivation to run more. I did this with Riley's Rumble Half Marathon to gauge my progress, enjoy the race atmosphere, and run with other people to spark the competitive side of me that wants to train harder to reach my marathon goals.

2) Use social media. Post updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc. about your training to keep yourself accountable. Use apps like Strava or MapMyRun to record your progress and "race" against other users. A little friendly competition may be just what you need to stay motivated.

3)  Cross-train by doing something you enjoy. Running everyday isn't for everyone, and can lead to over-use injuries, or at best, muscle fatigue. Take one or two days of the week to cross-train doing something that works different muscle groups, is lower impact, and most importantly, is fun! Try cycling, swimming, kayaking, walking, hiking, rock climbing, just to name a few.

4) Treat yourself. Studies show that rewarding yourself with chocolate/froyo/your favorite treat 30 minutes after your run leads to a positive association to running fast and will increase the likelihood of getting PR by 82% (and there is a 78% chance that this statistic is made up). But really, your hard work should be rewarded, so if a post-run ice cream or beer keeps you motivated, go for it. Oh, and about abstaining from alcohol? Here are a few tips for enjoying alcohol as an endurance athlete.

5) Determine if you need to take a rest day. Sometimes, a body just needs some rest and relaxation. Training is hard on the muscles and joints, and the body needs time to repair. If you are feeling excessive muscle soreness, tightness, joint pain, or just overall fatigue, don't be afraid to take a day or two of complete rest. Don't worry, you won't lose fitness in just a few days, and you'll most likely benefit from the rest. Your legs will thank you.

What do you do to motivate yourself? 


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