Love your marathon

You’re now over a month into your training schedule for the 2016 Virgin Money London and you’ve reached a milestone. Trust me, you have! You’re around a third of the way through your build up, you’ve established some running routines, have started to build up some distance and will have started to notice the benefits of regular running.

Ok, let’s also be honest here, at times it’s probably felt hard to stick to your plan, you’ll have had moments where you’ve been seriously tempted to stick to the sofa rather than lace up your kicks, and there will have been times when runs have been missed when your mojo has taken a dip.

This is more than just a pep talk. You see, perhaps the most important aspect of marathon training is consistency. Doing the running week in and week out for months before race day, although tough, means you’ll be physically and mentally ready for the miles from Greenwich to the Mall. It’s quite common to experience fluctuations in motivation, enthusiasm and love for running and even the most committed marathoners have down days where running feels a slog. Don’t panic if this is you. It’s okay to have a few ups and downs but you don’t want to fall off the mojo wagon completely.

If you’ve started to ask yourself some questions about ‘is it all worth it’. If the miles are getting harder and you’re starting to feel your motivation dip. If there’s a wobble in your running motivation and you’re worried it’s all going to go a bit ‘Pete Tong’ then here are 12 tips to help you stay on track to Virgin Money London Marathon glory!

  1. Display your goal. Stick up motivational posters or statements around your house, on your fridge, on the mirror, on your car dashboard, on your office desk. Every day a reminder of the goal you’ve set yourself. Make sure one of these is your target finish time, your personal performance goal or your reason for running.
  2. Share your journey. Blog about your training, keep an online diary, join a community of runners online where seeing the progress of others can really spur you on.
  3. Ditch the gadgets. Leave your mp3, GPS, heart rate monitor at home and just run. Focus your attention on really being in the present whilst you’re running. Run in the moment.
  4. Love the fresh air and the freedom. Remind yourself that you’re in a fortunate and privileged position to enjoy inhabiting the greatest piece of equipment you’ll ever own, your body. Be grateful you can actually run compared to those who don’t have the freedom, safety or capacity to be out running.
  5. Just get on with it. Remember, you’ll feel so much better having gone out and done it than stayed in and not done it. The coldest, wettest, darkest run is better than sitting at home injured or ill wishing you could be out running.
  6. Look backwards to go forwards. Reflect on previous training and remind yourself how worthwhile it’s all been. All the hard work you’ve banked so far has helped you run faster, feel better and hit a goal. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come so far and be proud.
  7. Think momentum! Use the drive of your personal goal to help you generate constant momentum. Think about how great it’s going to be when you cross that finish line and achieve your reward for putting the miles in. Every single step you take is helping you achieve your goal.
  8. Run with others. Running solo all the time can dampen even the strongest spirits. Get an instant ‘pick you up’ and find a few friends to share the miles.
  9. Run how you feel. Get back to basics. Don’t stress about times, splits or targets. Don’t worry about performance or planning. Just get out and run how you feel.
  10. Think about heroes. Think about people who inspire and motivate you to run and then remember that there is always someone, somewhere who is motivated by your running and what you will achieve. Be the inspiration for others.
  11. Peaks and troughs. It’s normal to have highs and lows in training. Just accept them. The slump rarely lasts long. Work your way through it, get your head down and come out of it feeling stronger and really empowered you can do it.
  12. Get some banging tunes. Listen to your favourite motivational upbeat music whilst running. Loose yourself in the beat and the miles fly by.