Half Marathon Training: How To Stay Motivated

Time is ticking. I have 40 days left to train for the Half Marathon of San Francisco on the 26th of July. After injuring myself and feeling like a failure, it’s time to move on!

Also read part 1: why I decided to sign up for the San Francisco Half Marathon
part 2: how I overdid my training and injured my knees in the second training week
Part 3: how I had some bad runs and felt like a failure

No time to sob

With such a short time to prepare myself to run a half marathon (two months), there is no time to sob over ‘bad runs’. Whining about bad runs makes you feel demotivated and makes you lose even more time to perform better.
So despite my last run that made me feel like a turtle, I prepared to lace up my shoes again.

Motivational boost through Twitter

On Sunday night, Addapp was involved in a #runchat on Twitter. Throughout the hour,  @therunchat asked questions to runners all over the world and Twitter. The last question of the chat was, “The community manager of Addapp is training for her first Half Marathon. Any tips?”

Not only did I get so many useful tips like “Remember to use every water stop,” “Check the route in advance and figure out where things would get hard so you can plan ahead,” and “Focus on the long training runs instead of the shorter ones.” I also got a ton of motivation from the running community.

All the messages told a same story: You never forget your first race, so have fun and smile. It’s your run; pace, performance and others don’t matter.

I was so hyped up by the positive words, I couldn’t wait to hit the pavement again, which I did 30 minutes later.

Smashing all records

I started out slow. The first 10 minutes were hard, but once I got through those, I felt like it didn’t take any effort to run. I was wearing a rain jacket that doesn’t breath and I felt the sweat dripping off my back. I felt so alive and healthy!

After 30 minutes, I texted my friend that I would be late meeting up after my run “because I was on a roll.” I could have kept running. I felt proud enough to stop running after 50 minutes and 8.75 km. At that point, I had smashed all my previous records.

I immediately set my goal for the next week, a big goal, running for at least one hour.

Runkeeper run

Forget your bad runs

After my great performance, I immediately forget my “bad run” from earlier this week, and I even felt bad whining about it.

It’s very easy to get caught up in disappointing experiences, but you can’t let it get to your head. You have to forget about it and focus on your next run.  Instead of giving up, you have to find new motivation and encouragement to get out there, in whatever way that works for you.

5 tips to stay motivated to keep running

1. Make fun plans for after your run

Whatever it is that makes you happy, make sure you plan plenty of it after your run. I had plans to meet up with a friend and told myself I couldn’t meet up if I didn’t run. I am sure that looking forward to meeting him was improving my performance.

2. Look for support with other runners

There is no one that knows exactly what you’re going through, besides fellow runners. They will pick you up when things get rough. They have gone through the same feelings, pain and experiences. They give great advice and will cheer you on to continue. If you’re looking for motivation from fellow runners, you can easily find them on Twitter or even in person through local running Meetups.

3. Have people follow your progress

It’s stimulating to have close friends and family following your progress and noticing the progress you don’t notice yourself. I am focused on my time, distance and pace but my friends notice different things. The tell me about my improved skin condition and how my body is getting tighter. It’s incredibly motivating to hear that your efforts are giving results you didn’t think of, but also that those results are being noticed by others.

4. Reward yourself

When I run, I reward myself with music. I made a fantastic playlist with upbeat music that I really like. I force myself to not listen to that music when I am not running. So whenever I go running, it’s a reward to be able to listen to this playlist. I forget that I am running when I am listening to that music. I’m not just going through the motions; I’m going all out to the beat. Maybe you’re not into listening to music while you run, but you do enjoy great scenery: Make your favorite city scenes or country landscapes a part of your running route so you’ll constantly be inspired.

5. Remember where you come from

You are running. You are exercising. You’re doing better than when you were not running. You are doing better than everyone who is not running. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Each run is a good one. Keep on running!

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Community manager @Addapp. Fascinated by sleep tracking, healthy nutrition, technology, social media, sunny days and Addapp users.
Training to run the Half Marathon of San Francisco.

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