Staying Motivated: 5 Ways to Switch Up Your Race Training

July 13, 2017

Need that extra boost to keep running? Here’s how to stay motivated as you train for your next race.

If you’ve ever excitedly signed up for a race, to only lose your motivation and interest in training a few weeks in, I feel ya. This happens to me often. I love signing up for new races and creating training plans, but my motivation tends to dip pretty quickly. I’m most interested when taking on a new distance (like my first marathon and first triathlon), but when you’re on your 10th+ half marathon, it feels a little less exciting.

And this is where a switch in strategy comes into play. If pounding the pavement is getting old, refocus your training plan to keep things interesting.

Before we even get to the physical changes you can make to your training, let’s take a moment to chat about the mental side of training. The mental piece is huge, and if your head isn’t in the game, your body will follow that cue. Remember why you wanted to sign up for the race. Was it to hit a PR? To enjoy a new race environment? To run with friends? Don’t forget why you were once excited about the race, and keep that at the front of your focus as you run each week.

And now how to keep those workouts interesting…

Race Training

Here are 5 switches to keep you motivated during your training cycle

  1. Join A Running Group: Long runs can be a solo struggle, so don’t go at it alone. Many cities host free run groups. Even if you don’t know anyone, take the chance and join. You’ll meet new people, get running tips from the pacers/leaders and get to zone out as the leaders will keep you on pace and on the right route. In NYC I loved the Nike Run Club and in SF I just tried a free SF marathon training run with Run365 (though it looks like most of the trainings you have to pay for).
  2. Hire a Running Coach: If you struggle to stick to a plan, a running coach can give you the much-needed guidance to stay on track in a safe and effective way. Some run coaches will meet in person to take you through warm ups and workouts and will give you form tips throughout. Other coaches may provide a virtual training plan. Either way, it’s someone to hold you accountable, which will make you more likely to stick with the plan.
  3. Add Track Workouts: Anyone else get flashbacks to high school track practice when you see a track? Even if you might want to cry thinking back to those workouts (I sure do), track workouts can be super beneficial to your training. Plus, it welcomes a new type of workout if you’re tired of the treadmill or your same old neighborhood route. Add speed workouts on the track and try to bring a friend to keep things competitive and interesting.
  4. Diversify Your Workouts: Yes, running is key when preparing for a running race, but that doesn’t mean running should be your only form of working out. Add strength workouts and yoga; it will build up your power and flexibility, will prevent training burnout, and will make you an overall stronger athlete.
  5. Switch Up Your Run Route: It can get real old real fast to cover the same route for all your runs, especially the weekly long run. Even if it might take more time or cost a bit of money, get out of your neighborhood and check out new spots. Research popular local routes, or instead of running out and back from your house, run out for your total mileage and grab a Lyft Line to get home.

I’ve put these ideas into practice as I prep for the San Francisco Half Marathon, coming up in two weeks. Thanks to my friends at Lululemon, I had the opportunity to work with Lululemon Ambassador & run coach Alex Ho. After one session I had a reignited excitement about training (though I wish I had that feeling earlier in my training cycle!). We headed to a hidden (to me) spot in SF, a run track right in the middle of the city. Having someone to check my run form, and challenge me with a workout gave me the motivation to work harder at my speed, a part of training I typically neglect.

Whether you’re flying through your training plan or need an extra push to get to that start line, I hope these tips help you get prepped and feeling your best.

How do you stay motivated? Please share your tips below.


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