Running is very challenging, especially when it comes to distance running. One of the biggest things needed to finish the miles is motivation. Here are some tips and recommendations that I have personally found helpful.
Run for Someone or for a Cause
My first 3 marathons were for one of my favorite student organizations, we ran to raise money for pediatric cancer at the University of Iowa.
Find a Buddy
Whether your buddies are human or furry friends, they will help hold you accountable. This can also be a great way to compete with one another in a friendly atmosphere.
I don’t have any crazy friends that like to run marathons so I got a dog-he is officially up to running 10 miles with me!
Find a Reason
Maybe you want to fit back into that dress you bought, prove to yourself you can do it, improve your health, impress someone such as a parent, child, or significant other. This can truly be anything you want. Make it your own and personalize it to your life. When you do this, make it something that is hard to back out of to stay 100% committed to the run. When I was younger, I played softball and HATED running. I wanted to prove to myself that I could finish a whole 26.2 miles. I finished my first marathon in 5 hours and 20 minutes.
I understand that sometimes long runs can be extremely boring and all you can think about is how you want to be in your bed eating ice cream (I know I do!)
When you run, there are a couple of ways to keep yourself entertained and push those negative thoughts aside.
Self-talk: I utilize this pretty frequently and most people use it but don’t realize that’s what they are doing. This is just internal thoughts about your progress and your successes. Always find ways to talk yourself up and to push forward. Talk yourself out of giving up and appreciate those little accomplishments you’ve made!
(Back story: I loathe running on treadmills):
While I’m running on the treadmill I think to myself: “Would it make that big of difference to shorten my run for the day?“
Self talk positive me: “Yes. You have been doing so great so far with all your planned workouts. You only have 3 more miles on the treadmill. Suck it up and get to that finish line!”
Music, podcasts, ebooks, movies: I am a huge fan of music and singing (even though I am not very good at it). Making a great playlist can help keep you pumped throughout the whole run. Always freshen it up with new songs and hits that will keep you moving. I have friends that like to listen to podcasts or ebooks while they run to keep them distracted. Finding both podcasts and ebooks that match your personality are a good way to keep you engaged in something else besides your negative thoughts. Otherwise, if you are inside on a treadmill during a snowy/rainy day in Iowa putting a movie on can also help keep your attention somewhere other than how bored you might be and help to finish your miles for the day.
The thing about becoming a marathon runner is not just the physical preparation but the mental preparation. Being able to complete a marathon is more of a mental game than a physical one. You need to tell yourself that you can do it and push to the finish line. Of course, there will be moments of doubt that cross your mind but push them aside and think about how far you have come with less than a month, to running a full 13.1 or 26.2. As I said, it’s not easy but you have to want it and once you finish there is no greater feeling once you have accomplished your goal.