Marathon Training: 5 Tips for Staying Motivated

Tips for maintaining your determination so you can finish training ready to race

Whether you’re new to the world of marathon running or you’ve completed a handful of 26.2-mile courses, maintaining the motivation to train for a long-distance event is a struggle that every runner must overcome.

There comes a point when the initial excitement of signing up for the race dies down. Then, after a few weeks of training fatigue, exhaustion and a hunger that no meal can seemingly satisfy all start to set in. As a result you’re ravenous, often over-emotional and the last thing you want to do is go for a run.

But if you don’t complete your training, you likely won’t make it to the finish line on race day. Or you will, but it will suck a lot more than it has to. So, when you’re deep into the throes of your marathon training program, how can you muster up and maintain the same amount of motivation you had when the whole process was just beginning?

It’s not an easy thing to do, but the following tricks and tips will help to uphold your determination so you can train strong all the way up until race day.

Envision the finish line.
You know what it feels like to cross the finish line of any race; no matter what the distance, it’s almost always euphoric. Every day, take a few moments to picture yourself crossing the finish line and imagine what it will feel like. The fact that you’ll be covering 26.2 miles this time will make it even more exhilarating.

Remember why you signed up.
Whether you’re running for charity, in honor of a loved one or simply to prove to yourself that you can do it, it’s important to constantly remind yourself of why you signed up for the marathon in the first place. Write your reason down and hang it somewhere you’ll see it every day. 

Split up your workouts.
As you really get into the thick of it, if it feels like your training schedule has too many miles to handle, try splitting up your longer mid-week workouts into two parts. An eight-mile mid-week run might seem daunting if you don’t have a solid block of time to fit in. But a four mile run in the morning and another in the evening will seem more manageable for most. And while it’s not the most ideal way to train, it’s a smart way to make sure you’re getting all your miles in instead of skipping a workout because you felt like you just didn’t have enough time.

Money matters.
Use money as your motivation. I bet your race entry fee wasn’t cheap, so maintain your spirits during training by reminding yourself of the ridiculous amount of money you forked over just so you could suffer run happily for 26.2 miles on race day. Don’t let it go to waste!

Take it one run at a time.
It’s easy to sit and stare at your training plan and think, “How will I ever cover this many miles?” A quick and simple tip: don’t do that. It will only lead you to feel overwhelmed. Take your training just one week at a time. Then break it down even further by focusing on the workout you need to complete each day. Try not to look too far ahead and whine to yourself (or worse, your friends and family) about how many miles you have to complete later on in the week or month.

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