We’re less than two weeks away from the Cape Town Marathon. Let’s face it, putting in the time to train for 42.2km can be a little tedious especially now toward the end of the programme. It’s almost taper time, but before that here are some ideas on training motivation to get you through those last few longer runs.
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.
Focus on the kilometre you’re in:
Knowing you have dozens of kilometres 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.
"My training has been consistent with my weekly millage going up to 150km a week for the past three months," explains Givemore Mudzinganyama who is aiming for a solid result at the Cape Town Marathon and knows all about pushing through tough patches.
Givemore tries to go as close to his marathon pace during his tempo runs which stretch between 12km to 18km depending on how he feels on the day. "I usually have one key speed session which is like 8-10×1000m at 3mins/km repetitions with 2minutes easy jog recovery. My longs runs are usually between 30km to 40km at averaging 4mins/km."
Stop checking your time:
For someone with top 10 or podium aspirations such as Givemore, time-tracking is everything, however, for you it doesn't need to be. 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 runs 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.