Let’s face it, putting in the time to train for 26.2 miles can be a little tedious, sometimes, the last thing you want to do on the weekend is log another 18-miler. Those long runs are important, however, they not only condition your body to tackle a marathon but also help prepare you for the mental aspects of running a long race as well. Here’s some ideas on marathon training motivation to go on those hours-long weekend runs so you  and stay on track with your marathon goals.

Have a mantra:

Establish your own personal phrase that keeps you going. It could be some marathon motivational quotes, a list of who you’re running for, an inspirational quote, or a fun phrase that lightens your mood and helps keep your mind away from negative thoughts that can pop up when you hit a wall. Taking the time to remember your personal mantra or intentions before you set out on a long run will help push you through as well as help establish tactics that will help during difficult portions of your actual race.

Record your runs:

Jotting down all the runs you’ve completed during your training plan can help provide more motivation to go running. It’s encouraging to see in one list how far you’ve come and how many miles you’ve logged, especially if you’re dreading your next long running session.

Focus on the mile you’re in:

Knowing you have dozens of miles left when you’re not in a good zone mentally or physically can discourage you even more. Instead of thinking about all you have left to complete, focus on doing the best you can for the mile you’re in. Breaking up your run into smaller goals will help the end of your run seem much more attainable.

Stop checking your time:

You don’t always have to keep pace during a long training run; other training tactics like intervals and tempo runs will help you increase your speed. Allowing yourself to let go of aggressive time goals during long runs can help alleviate stress and allow you to enjoy the journey. If you’re wearing a GPS watch, tell yourself you’ll only look at your pace for fewer increments or not at all, allow yourself time to walk and regroup if you need to, and stop pressuring yourself to meet inflexible goals.

Make a power playlist:

If you can’t imagine running for a few hours without your own soundtrack, make a playlist that will take you through the hardest parts of your long run. During the week, you can even set aside time to make a playlist of separate power songs for the especially difficult last miles. Selecting the perfect songs can help you get excited for your long run ahead.

Go with a friend:

Long courses can be tedious without a running buddy, try finding a friend with a similar pace to help distract you during hard miles. Even if you’re not marathon training with anyone, having someone come out with you for just a few miles can help break up your long run and make the time go by faster. You can also try checking with a local running club to see if anyone is also training for a marathon so you can help motivate each other during the week and hold each other accountable.

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