By Karen Simpson
TORONTO September 12th, 2016
How will you feel in 5 weeks? In that time, we will all be finished our goal race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon! But right now, we are doing our best to deal with the longest of our long runs and I have decided to write a post about how to stay motivated.
They say training is the hard part and the race is the reward. If this is true, and I believe it is, then we are currently in the hardest part of our training plan. We all need a little reminder about how and why to stay motivated. Here are 10 creative approaches I’ve been using this summer:
Raise money for charity. This has been a great motivator. It’s no longer just about you, it’s about all the people who you can help and all the donors who have helped you to help others. Be accountable to that and use it as positive motivation to continue your training. It’s not too late to pick a charity! A lot of money can be raised in 5 weeks. Check out all the official charities you can fundraise for in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.
Hold that moment. If you track your training runs using a GPS device, go through the downloads. How has your pace improved? How has your distance improved? Often we are so consumed with where we have to go that we forget how far we’ve come. Pat yourself on the back and take a few minutes to review just how far you’ve come in training in just a few months.
Run in a group. Run alone. Mix it up. Personally I’ve learned to love both and my training during the week consists of group runs and my weekend runs are typically alone. This year, I have run with 9 different groups, met many new friends and I get something different from each group. I’ve been challenged in interval training by one group, discovered the joys of running new routes in different parts of the city with others, and met people from all over who run my pace. Just go on Facebook and search running groups, there are many.
Smile. Even when you don’t feel like it. While you’re running, smile. When you smile you release chemicals in your body that make you happier. When you smile and other people see you smile they usually smile back and this sends a whole bunch of good vibes into the world. Sometimes it’s not all about performance, but about joy and let’s face it, when we’re happier, we end up performing better.
Go back to the start. Why are you doing this race? What or who was your motivator? You must have really wanted a challenge in your life and now is the time to remember just why you chose to put yourself out there with this goal. If there’s a ‘who’ that motivated you, call them.
Just run 1 kilometer. I’ve struggled with the heat as I’m sure many have this summer. Several of my runs have started by committing to run just 1 kilometer at a time. At some point, I realized the effort of getting dressed, finding time and getting my butt out the door was harder than actually completing the distance required. Using this technique has helped me complete many of my training runs.
Have people in your life who push you out the door. Tell them they have a role, even give them a title like ‘Kick my butt cheerleader’ and tell them to ignore you if you complain about running, make faces at them or you act like you don’t like them anymore.
Count-down to your taper. Prior to any big adventure, there comes a point where I count down the number of sleeps until I’m on the plane. Look ahead in your schedule and figure out how many runs until you start your taper! If you have a 16 week training plan you’re in the final lap of your training. One foot in front of the other and do whatever you need to do to keep your head in the game.
Get more sleep! Rest and recovery are two of the most important elements to get you to the start line. Getting to the start line injury free is your goal right now. Rest will also help you maintain a better attitude during your training.
Create 3 goals for race day. One easily doable goal, a reasonable stretch goal and a goal that will have even you shocked on race day. Over the next 5 weeks assume everything is going to be perfect on race day and finish off your final weeks of training based on the 3rd goal … you might just surprise yourself.
About Karen Simpson: I’m Karen and I’ll be running to raise awareness and funds for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. I have watched an impressive young man deal with the challenges of this disease and it really put things into perspective. We are blessed to be able to run, so let’s never forget that! There are tons of great charities to represent through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge this year. I want you to pick a charity, get a tutu and join me for some fun on October 16th. I started running in January 2013 after climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. I fell in love with climbing and wanted to train like a mountaineer — turns out most of them have distance running as part of their training. Since then, I have done a lot of running and climbing, including 5 mountains around the world and I just returned from Mt. Elbrus in Russia. Races are my motivation and I’ve completed over 60 so far! STWM was my first full marathon in 2014 and I recently ran my first ultra-marathon (53km) to celebrate turning 53. Let’s get this party started! Connect with Karen on Twitter and Instagram.