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Maintaining Motivation

Maintaining Motivation


You’ve set yourself on the path to run the marathon. You’ve been training every week, trying to get better. Now you’re wondering what you had in mind in doing this. Where did that big spark of motivation go that started all of your hard work?

Pause now and go back to construct what may have helped you avoid this pitfall.


One step suggested by many is to visualize yourself accomplishing your goal. See yourself crossing the finish line and your friends clapping happily. This is what you wanted to accomplish.

Reasons to reward

Re-look at the reasons you had for trying the marathon.

1. Was it because this will show that you can improve yourself in this way?

2. Are you hoping to win the race’s first, second or third prize?

3. Is this a first step to accomplish longer marathons at a more competitive speed in the future or a start of a lifelong sport to enjoy?

4. Will it be an accomplishment to finish the race – a point of pride for you?

5. Are you racing with your friend and hope to beat his or her speed?

Break it down

You still have weeks left until the race. How can you break your training down into smaller goals?

After each smaller goal is accomplished (i.e. increasing your speed by 3 minutes), decide on a reward that you will give yourself for that accomplishment. It may be something as simple as taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes. It could include a cool drink and a dessert. If your task is particularly challenging, you may want to set a reward such as buying yourself something new or going someplace such as to a movie or a special restaurant. Don’t worry if others don’t think that your goals are a big deal. They were to you and that is all that matters.

Rewarding yourself after accomplishing smaller steps toward the main goal will keep you going. It will make it easier to track your progress if you check off progress in increments.

Find ways to make your workouts fun

  • Take a new path.
  • Create a new soundtrack for your IPod
  •  Invite a friend to come with you
  • Run to an unfamiliar location and reward yourself by allowing yourself to stop and explore it
  • Challenge yourself to memorize objects and people you normally see at each stretch to predict what you will see the following day

Collect supporters

Share your progress with people who care about you. Support is an important part of feeling motivated. Sharing also helps you keep your commitments, as supporters will most likely follow your progress.

See the big picture and make a change if necessary

Keep your eye on the bigger picture. Merely participating is an admirable action in itself. If something isn’t working for you (i.e. running after you get home from work and you’re too tired), be prepared to make a change. Be lenient enough with yourself that you can change what you need to and still get where you’re going. Many successful people have achieved their goal by trying out what didn’t work and adapting to another path of action. Find out what works for you as this is your plan and achievement.

Cause your own happiness

If none of the above works for you, try smiling when you run. Studies have shown that subjects actually feel happier when they forcibly smile.

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