It’s a lot of work training for a marathon, and even more than being ready in time it’s vital to go about it in a healthy way. There are real debates about how healthy marathon running can be depending on individual factors, and understanding what your body can handle and how you should train is more important than anything else. Provided you can handle a marathon however, and you’re working toward that goal in a healthy and realistic way, there’s something else very important that you have to think about: motivation.
There are certainly some people who are able to train for long-distance running with ease, or who thrive on the semi-mythical “runner’s high” and are naturally inclined to this sort of workout. For most though, this style of exercise is a legitimate struggle, and working your way up to being able to run a marathon – or even a half marathon – can be incredibly trying. You may well find that you need to motivate yourself, so beyond the typical tips and tricks, I wanted to write about some of the more creative things one might try to stay motivated throughout what can often be a very lengthy training process, if it’s gone about in the right way.
1. Listen To Audio Thrillers
Most people associate headphones during a long run with music, and it’s certainly true that plenty of runners develop perfect playlists for their workouts. However, more and more people seem to be discovering the value of audiobooks for the same purpose. Interestingly enough in fact, Stephen Fry – a man known for having an in-demand voice, and who has voiced the entire Harry Potter series on audiobook – has even credited his own weight loss with walking around London to listen to books. It’s definitely an idea that makes sense, particularly when you consider the idea of coupling it with the thriller genre, or with anything else that would be called a “page turner” in book form. The idea is that you can get so caught up in the story you’re listening to, your run ceases to bother you or become monotonous.
2. Reward Yourself At Small Goals
This idea in and of itself isn’t particularly creative given that it’s fairly common, but you can certainly get creative about your own milestones and rewards. As a general example, maybe you’ll decide to treat yourself to a meal at your favorite restaurant the first time you do two five-mile runs in a single week. Maybe you’ll get yourself a massage after your first 10-mile run (which your body will probably thank you for at that point anyway). There’s a limitless range of options here, with the idea being that these interval rewards will break up the process and help you to be proud of progress even before you reach your end goal.
3. Bet On Success
You hear now and then about weight loss bets, and while it’s not a common concept it’s something to explore if you feel that you need unusual or creative motivation. Particularly now that the U.S. has legally welcomed sites hosting sports betting and things of that nature, you can at least look and see if a professional sportsbook will take a bet. It might be that you’ll be able to run a marathon in a given amount of time, or that you’ll run a certain distance by a certain date, etc. And even if you can’t get a professional firm in on the action, you might be able to work out a similar bet with a friend or trainer. Just remember, nothing beats a financial motivator!
4. Run Simulated Real-World Routes
One way to have a little bit of fun with your repeated long runs, and to motivate yourself to keep moving, is to map out your training program, add up your planned total mileage, and find a real-world route that approximately matches it. Then, you can track your progress in distance such that instead of just running, say, 200 total miles throughout a multi-month training program, you mark points along a map showing your progress from one city to another, or along a famous roadway. Maybe you can even run the Great Wall of China! Whatever the specifics, it’s a good way to liven up the process and give yourself interesting goals, even if they’re essentially imagined.