Passion isn’t enough – 10 steps to stay motivated during marathon training

My challenge for 2016 is to run four UK marathons in one year starting in Manchester and ending in New York, to highlight that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In addition to this my secondary goal is to complete all six world marathon majors. I hope to raise awareness and encourage other people to turn what they perceive as a weakness into a strength.

“The fear of losing something makes you weak, lose it and gain your strength.” Farid F. Ibrahim

So now you have a goal, how do you maintain motivation months down the line, when fear, demotivation, tiredness, and setbacks creep in.

1. Determine your why. For me it’s about raising awareness. Remember this in the low moments.

2. Create a consistent routine, which then becomes an automatic habit.

3. Anticipate that there will be setbacks. Have a plan to help you through during these difficult times, and see it as an opportunity to learn.

4. Keep it level. Don’t believe the hype of your success when things are going well, and don’t despair when things are going badly.

5. Give every training session your best effort, all those little consistent efforts help you improve. Right now is what you have so give ‘this’ training session 100%. When you start on the race line, and your nervous remember how hard you worked in training, and take comfort in knowing that the race is the result of the ground work you’ve undertaken.

6. Forget the past and what you have achieved before, whether they are marathon results or PBs.

7. Forget the future. Even if your working towards a race, you can’t forget the details of today, as that’s what you can control.

8. Work with people more knowledgeable than you and keep learning.

9. Keep training fresh to avoid burnout.

10. Don’t listen to the naysayers.

To re-emphasise, focus on giving each training session your best effort, this quote rings true with me:

“The past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions.” Eckhart Tolle

In terms of item no. 8 above, it’s important to work with those more knowledgeable than yourself to improve your performance. I’ve been fortunate to work with my coach Andre Schieck at Running4Life. Andre has helped me improve my race times. He is based in Brazil and despite the distance I’ve been following his training plans for the last five months, however I’ve set PBs in distances from the mile to the marathon.

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