I started running 3 times a week in November and ran my first 5k in April. I have my next one May 25 & I'm starting to train for a 10k. I love what running has done for me physically and mentally but still struggle staying motivated and welcome any tips to keep things fresh and exciting.
Keeping motivated is something everyone faces, so there's as many solutions as there are runners. Here's a few that my friends and I use, some might work for you or give you ideas.
- join a group. Ok, your job may make this a little harder but getting to know others and running with them is one of the best ways.
- sign up for more races. I use this one and it works because fear of failure is a big deal to me. I've finished every race I started even though some were not pretty and I ended up in the med tent after my half ironman. I refuse to quit during a race so training to be ready for it is essential and is a serious motivator.
- pick a challenging race. My half IM was a classic example. This was a 9 month lead up and I struggled in the heat on the day but more normal challenges like half marathons are enough to get me out the door too.
Some other things to remember:
- nobody stays highly motivated all the time. Take a break for a month or two and just do easy fun stuff. After a big event you'll need the time off to recover anyway so don't feel you need to keep training.
- it's hard to stay highly motivated on long build ups to a big event. When I do a big event which for me is anything that takes over 4 hours I take several months to train up. Usually by the time the event rolls around I'm ready to be done with it and relax again. I've actually had 1 event where I decided I was tired of training hard a month out which is peaking way too early.
- keep it fun and the base fitness will improve making everything else easier to do. Add some variety and don't put so much pressure on yourself to stick rigidly to a training plan. Cross training is great for this. I do triathlons for fun and play beach volleyball for something different that still demands I be able to play hard for a few hours.
In the end you'll do fine so relax and enjoy the race. The only pressure you feel to train up is what you put on yourself. I don't think I've completed a half marathon yet that I haven't walked part of the course, but I finished all 4 of them and that's all I really care about.