Finding Running Motivation For Upcoming Races That You’ve Stopped Training For.
Hi everyone, apologies for not posting on Sunday. I ran 16 miles around town and it really fucking hurt. To add to the misery I kept having lower back cramps after it and couldn’t get comfortable in bed on Sunday night.
I’ve recovered now and am back in business!
I thought I’d do something a little different tonight and respond to a comment on the blog and use it as a theme for a post that’s about motivation and upcoming races.
Sharon is overwhelmed with an upcoming half marathon
Sharon’s situation got me thinking about feeling totally unprepared before races. Every runner has experienced a dip in motivation at some stage, especially with a race on the horizon.
Here are some ideas on how to work through motivational problems for an upcoming race that you maybe haven’t started to train for.
- Take the pressure off yourself – There’s no point yourself through needless stress. Running should be therapeutic, not another emotional drain in your life. I told many people about my ambitions to run my first marathon and didn’t start training for it until the last feasible moment. At the time I was thinking of falling down a manhole to try to back out of it. I felt ashamed, guilty, weak, feeble and fucking lazy but none of those feelings helped. The only thing that worked is getting out there in January 2011 and running what I could at the time. One week it would be 4 mile long runs. Then the next 4.5 mile long runs. Over time it built up and I completed the race OK.
- It’s better to walk in an event than to not have tried at all – You might feel that you aren’t ready to run the full race distance at the moment and because of this you’re ready to give-in. But there’s nothing wrong with covering the distance in anyway you can, with the idea being to come back next year to record a better time. It’s easy to fall into the way of thinking “well I’m not fit for this year’s event, but I’ll train really hard for next year’s race!” and to then retire to the sofa for 3 years. Keep going in any way you can. If you give up, give in and put on lots of weight over the next year, you’ll look back at the fitness levels you possessed now and kick yourself for not building on what you had. Exercise gets harder the longer you leave it and easier the more you do it.
- Don’t entertain ‘if only’ scenarios – By this I mean ‘if only I had spent June running and not sitting on my ass eating chocolate then I’d be fit as hell now!’. You are where you are because of your choices yesterday. Tomorrow you’ll be in a better place if you make the right decisions today.
- Re-assess your target time if you don’t think you’re gonna make your goal – If you’ve missed a few weeks of training and have found that you aren’t as fast as before then don’t be afraid to be slightly less ambitious with your target, particularly if you haven’t completed the distance before. You don’t want your first experience at the distance to be completely miserable.
- If you’re running for charity don’t feel guilty if you have fallen behind in training and have already taken donations – If others have donated to your cause and you have fallen behind in your training then the guilt and pressure you may feel can be incapacitating. If necessary contact your charity with your concerns and work in a positive mindset away from where you are now into a position of strength.
- Don’t brood over the training runs that you have missed – Focus on what you can do now to get ready for the event. If you’ve missed a training run, don’t overwork yourself in a short period to make up for it. You could easily injure yourself. A good idea is to try to eat better on days where you’re inactive.
- Taper back on the taper caper – Some training schedules go overboard with tapering. For example a lot of beginners marathon programmes recommend 3 weeks worth of tapering. If you’re a week or two behind with your running and you’re entering the tapering phase, then there’s nothing wrong with reducing it by a week and going on one or two extra long runs.
- Convince a friend to join you – You can gain back some of your focus if you start to train with a friend for the event in question. Enthusiasm tends to be contagious and it’s harder to skip training sessions if someone else is dependent on you.
- Think bigger with your goals – Sometimes it’s easy for us to become demotivated if the challenge ahead isn’t grand enough. If this is the case you might want to make your race a stepping stone towards more exciting targets. If you aren’t inspired by your upcoming half marathon, enter a marathon a few months away and train up for it.