Marathon training can be challenging, exciting and rewarding. But sometimes, it can just feel like a long old slog.
With the average training plan covering a timeframe of four months, waning enthusiasm can kick in, especially once you hit week eight or nine. At this point, the initial euphoria of gaining that coveted race place might have started to dip, yet the end goal still seems so far away.
Coupled with the fact the warm weather is yet to kick in and the mileage is steadily increasing, and it’s no wonder hiding under the duvet can seem like a good option!
But never fear: if dragging yourself out for a training session is starting to feel like a chore, check out these five tips to help reignite your marathon motivation.
Break it down
Rather than focusing solely on the end goal of the marathon itself, set yourself some smaller targets. You could even set yourself a specific goal for each training run (for example, to perform your threshold run a little faster). Bite-sized goals will help keep your motivation high.
Log your progress
Keep track of your fitness and mileage. Remember when you couldn’t run for half an hour? Yet now you’re clocking 90-minute plus sessions. Reminding yourself how far you’ve come can be great inspiration to keep at it.
Find a training buddy
If you have a nearby friend who is training for a marathon at the same time as you, you have a ready-made training partner! However, if this isn’t the case, you’ll need to think outside the box.
Do you have any friends or relatives who could join you for short sections of your long runs? Our marathon forum could also help, giving you the chance to chat to other Bugs in the same situation.
Run for charity
If you’re not doing so already, deciding to fundraise for a charity close to your heart can be great motivation to train.
‘Fundraising for a charity whose mission you truly believe in can be unbelievably powerful,’ says Greta Lakatos, Challenge & Community Events Executive at War Child. ‘The thought that your challenge will spread the word about an important cause and make a true difference has an incredibly motivating effect.’
You chosen charity will often also be a great source of support and encouragement:
‘Our dedicated challenge events team is here to support every member of #TeamWarChild with their fundraising and training,’ says Greta. ‘We check in with people regularly and strive to build a community among our challenge fundraisers on various social media channels, as well as arranging get-togethers and training days. This means our runners can support each other through tough training times.’
You’re putting in hours of tough training week after week, so go on, treat yourself… you deserve it! By rewarding yourself with the promise of a treat every few weeks, you’ll be motivated to earn it. While some new running kit or a sports massage might be high on the list, your rewards don’t have to be expensive.
A relaxing soak in the bath after your long run or a movie night with a friend can serve just as well for a spot of motivation!