7 Ways to Stay Motivated During Long Training Blocks

If you prefer running alone, consider training with a coach, either online or locally. He or she will follow up with you on a weekly basis via phone or e-mail without having to be there physically while you run. "A coach keeps you accountable and knows in what areas you have more potential or perhaps need more assistance," Jameel says.

5: Spice Things Up

Months of running in the same location and at the same time of day can take its toll. Jameel recommends spicing up your routine by altering the scenery or time of day you typically run. "Do different kinds of training so you're not always running the same course all the time," she says. "Here in Arizona, we have great trails--some hilly, some flat--that train certain muscles and offer unique scenery to prevent burn out."

Also consider running certain days with a friend or listening to a new style of music or motivational audio. One of the best ways to beat boredom is to integrate cross-training exercises into your weekly routine such as yoga, cycling or swimming. "Aside from the mental benefits, cross-training exercises can help you improve your flexibility, strength, balance and more," Jameel says.  

6: Make it Personal

The answer to staying motivated is a personal one--everyone has a different reason for putting one foot in front of the other. It is important to understand how you run best, whether alone or with a friend, first thing in the morning or late at night, on the trails or in your neighborhood. "There is no magical solution--you can't tell someone to be motivated," Dunn says. "They have to figure it out on their own." What is the first step to finding your motivation? Dunn explains, "Knowing yourself as a runner is key--what energizes you, excites you, inspires you?"

7: Train Your Mind

Sport psychology consultants Brian Baxter and Paige Dunn offer the following tips to prepare your mind for a successful run.

Visualize Race Day: Dunn asks her athletes to complete an imagery exercise where they write down their idea of a perfect race day. To try this exercise, visualize different aspects of race day such as what you'll be wearing, the visual and technical aspects of the course, and what it will feel like to hear your name announced at the finish line. Write down those thoughts.

Concentrate on Breathing: To keep your focus during a run, Baxter recommends circle breathing, which is breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. "When you start to lose your focus, circle breathing puts your mind in a relaxing, almost meditative state," he says. Get into a rhythm with your circle breathing. For example, concentrate on breathing in every fourth step and out every fourth step.

Listen to Music: According to Dunn, listening to your favorite music can inspire you and prevent boredom from setting in during your training runs. Try running with different styles of music to find the one that works best for you. You might surprise yourself and find that you enjoy running with relaxing music, such as R&B or classical, compared to upbeat tunes such as alternative or hip-hop.  

Focus on a Project: Consider using your training runs as time to focus on a particular project. Whether planning for an upcoming meeting or thinking of ways to redecorate your home, productive thoughts will keep your focus, Dunn says.


Breanne George is the editor of Women's Running.

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