Once the novelty of undertaking a very specific training regime has worn off, there are going to be times when you wonder what an earth you have undertaken. As the mileage begins to creep up and the weather begins to turn nasty, training can quickly change from being an enjoyable experience to one that you dread.
The highs and lows throughout your training are all part of the “endurance running” experience and it is important to know that at some stage the pressure of training will feel like it’s getting the better of you. All it takes is the alarm clock going off at 6am, a grey rainy day, the prospect of a six mile run and a minor niggle in your knee to make you wonder whether you want to continue with your training.
Lulls in motivation are not uncommon but quitting the challenge is always an option you will live to regret. If the demands of training are getting on top of you, try following a few of the following tips to get you back on track.
Remember the reason you are running
Whether you are running to achieve a certain time or just aiming to get round, the chances are that you will be running for a charity. Spare a thought for the invaluable use the money you raise could help Tommy’s baby charity. By dropping out, just because the going gets tough, you will be depriving Tommy’s of much needed funds. Remember that even though the training is tough, at least you have the physical ability to be able to run – many people don’t.
We all have an inspirational figure we look up to and not necessarily in the running world. When the going gets tough, look at your inspirational figure or read their book. What would they do in your situation? How would they deal with a lull in motivation? Whether your inspiration is Jessica Ennis, Margaret Thatcher or Rodger Banister, think about what they would say to you to keep you going. Would they tell you to quit?
See what you’ve already achieved
Dips in motivation tend to arise once the mileage begins to creep up and you can easily begin to feel daunted by the training that presently faces you and the training that lies ahead. When times gets tough, try looking at what you have already achieved and how far you have come since training began. Chances are that you will look back and be pleasantly surprised at what you have already achieved. Think about what a shame it would be to throw it all in weeks before the end.
The consequences of quitting
It goes without saying that sometimes it may be necessary to pull out of a race through injury, but at other times when the going gets tough, the prospect of quitting seems like the most logical idea. However, have you thought about the consequences that quitting will have? You will not only let down your charity, but you will have to live with the decision that you had a chance to complete an endurance event, but decided to drop out. Muhammed Ali once said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'” Think about it on your next long run.
If your exercise regime needs some inspiring (boredom won’t help you keep going) try mixing it up with these fun at home exercise tips.
Joining a running forum on the internet is a great way to share your motivation issues with fellow runners. Some may even be competing in the same event as you and be in exactly the same state of mind, you can even create your own new thread in our MadeForMums forum. You will find comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone and that many other runners are going through the same experience. By using other runners as a “sounding board” it will help to get your worries off your chest and help you get back your motivation.
Make sure you’ve got the right kit too, like running shoes and handy running gadgets that’ll help keep you safe and motivated. If you’re running while pregnant, there’s some great maternity sportswear buys, and if you are exercising while pregnant or just getting back into exercise as a new mum, make sure you listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard.
Put it all in perspective
Although it may not seem like it at times, the weeks you spend training will be over before you know it. In years to come, you will have forgotten about the hours and miles you put into your legs to prepare for the race but the resounding memory of crossing the finishing line will stay with you forever. When you feel overwhelmed by the training demands, remind yourself that on the grand scheme of things a few weeks left of training is nothing compared to the lifetime memories you will have finishing an endurance event.
Let us know how you’re getting on on our Twitter and Facebook pages and we’ll tweet you some encouragement, use the hash tag #mumsontherun
Written by Graeme Hilditch for Tommy’s Let’s Run