Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a first-time runner, training for an upcoming race can be difficult — both physically and mentally. In fact, it’s pretty common to have the excitement wear off and to have to remind yourself of why you ever wanted to complete this race in the first place. The good news is there are plenty of ways to stay motivated and get to the finish line.
Here are a few tips to help you stay on track with your training:
Tip 1: Connect with other runners.
No one really knows what you’re going through quite like another runner. Running with others can be a great source of support and help you conquer lack of motivation or other obstacles.
How to do it: Check out local running stores for group runs, post an ad at your gym or, at the very least, ask a friend to bike alongside you while you run.
Tip 2: Track your progress.
Reaching milestones in your training helps you realize the results of your hard work. Keeping track of your progress allows you to see how far you’ve come.
How to do it: Set realistic goals and then write a quick note at the end of every week about what went well and how you improved that week.
Tip 3: Listen to your body.
Allowing yourself a walk break or slow down during a run if you feel you need to is OK. Pushing too far may put you at risk for injury. Don’t beat yourself up for a missed run. Instead, let the signals your body is sending be a guide for when to add more distance and when to back off.
How to do it: Replace one of your run days with a yoga class, or try a new form of physical activity every few weeks to break up the monotony of training.
Tip 4: Reward yourself.
Having something fun to look forward to can help prevent burnout, keep a positive mindset and motivate you to finish.
How to do it: Treat yourself to new running apparel, a massage or a pedicure when you reach new milestones in your training.
Tip 5: Revisit your goal.
Thinking back to when and why you signed up for the race is a key way to stay motivated.
How to do it: Write down your goals, and keep them in places you’ll see them. Visualize yourself on race day, and think about what it will mean to you to achieve the goal.
You’ve got this!
Alyssa Baker is a wellness facilitator in Mankato, Minnesota.