I remember in college the panic that began to set in before final exams. All of a sudden I would remember the importance of studying as I saw my grades flash before my eyes (unfortunately my parent’s eyes as well). Well a few weeks before a race that same sense of impending panic will also begin to set in. Two or three weeks of training for a road race is not recommended, so how then do we find the motivation to train months and months before that race? I have found a few ways that have helped me to stay in the groove so I feel calm and prepared for whatever distance I am going to run.
Training for a race is the surest way to enjoy your race day experience. I have been in enough races now to enjoy the conversation in the corrals as we wait for our start time. I have heard more than once that someone is not prepared for what they are about to do and thus they are dreading the race they are about to run. Isn’t the point of spending all this money and spending all this time to have fun? When I travel east to Walt Disney World from Denver I have spent significant money and time to get to where I am standing. I want to enjoy the entire experience, every single second. Races are the reward of your training and thus with the proper amount of preparation the race becomes an enjoyable experience. runDisney races provide even more joy and opportunities for reward so I have found it even easier to train as I look forward to running in one of my favorite places on earth. Run your race so that you enjoy it so put in those miles even when you don’t feel like it.
I have also found that setting weekly or monthly goals help me to continue to run even when I have don’t have a race on the horizon. I use the running application called RunKeeper. It allows me to track my running and thus set goals for myself as I go along. I am by nature a very competitive person and so when I set a goal for myself I want to do whatever I can to reach it. I love to run those miles and see myself creep ever closer to my goals. For example, I have set the goal of running 500 miles this year and as of July 17th I have hit 286 miles. I know that if I don’t run then my goal remains farther away and that motivates me to get off that couch and go for a run even if it is a short one. Give yourself a reachable goal and then go for it. Maybe it is 5 miles a week or 20 miles a month and then next week or next month jump up the numbers a little. Reaching these little goals will get you going and continue to prepare you for those races to come.
Another way I have found to motivate myself is to plug yourself in to a running community. One of the greatest things I have found on my running journey are the amazing people you meet along the way. Twitter, Facebook, Blog Sites and even running applications provide more than enough avenues to communicate and keep up with your running friends. I have been encouraged and pushed more than I can count from my running friends and I believe I have done the same. We look forward to races and reflect on the ones we have run and look forward to meeting each other whenever we can. I have even had the privilege of running with friends outside of runDisney events. You are not alone in the struggle to train and sharing the struggle with others makes it a little bit easier. There are strength in numbers so use those numbers to your advantage.
Find that motivation and get out there are get those runs in. I can tell you more than a few times I struggle to tie those running shoes but once I get out there I rarely regret that I did. I challenge you as I challenge myself that you can do it and that the reward of crossing that finish line will be completely worth it.