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Running A Marathon with Little Motivation

Posted Sep 26 2012 7:37am

Today’s guest post comes from the lovely Mary from Food & Fun on the Run ! Mary and I met during Healthy Living Summit as she has become one of Meghann ’s triathlon buddies in Tampa and is all around amazing! A Lululemon Ambassador, Mary is about to become a 7 time marathoner! While she ran track and cross country in college, her love for running has only evolved from there. I hope you all enjoy this post as much as I do and hop over to her blog to give her a big hello and good luck in Chicago!


Hey guys! I am someone that thrives off of having a plan in place – whether it comes to my job, vacations, and of course running! Signing up for a marathon, and knowing exactly what I will be doing to workout for the next 18 weeks is very exhilarating. I plan my weekends around the long runs, and if a vacation or out of town trip presents itself, I am immediately looking at a MapMyRun route to see where I can tackle the miles in a new city.

But what happens when you get into the core of marathon training and your plan has a bit of a snag in it? I am little bit more than a week away from running the Chicago Marathon. Normally, my training plan is littered with tempo runs, track workouts, and pace runs, but it you look at my Workout Log , my completed workouts do not reflect that – at all. I have had no speed training for more than about 10 weeks due to a hamstring injury. Don’t worry, I’m not being a dummy and running through an injury that is going to sideline me for months and months. My injury is getting no worse at its current state. With increased stretching, icing, and massage, it is actually improving, just not enough for speedy improvements. What does this mean for me? I will not be reaching my 3:30 goal for Chicago – I will be running it to take it all in – my 3rd race in my quest to complete all 5 World Marathon Majors!

Without a time goal, my usual super pumped marathon training attitude has been a bit more lack-luster this time around. Here are 5 tips when your training motivation just isn’t there, whether it is due to a nagging injury, summer training (hello Florida runners!), or even scheduling too many back to back races.

1. Be Flexible

The thing that helped me the most was just letting go of the goal I had set, and truly coming to terms with it. I am very determined to run a 3:30 marathon. I know I can do it. October just will not be the time that I achieve it. At first, I was not ok with that. I tried to suck it up and just run through the pain. That thought ended quickly, and I realized that it is just one race – big deal that I will not PR. There will be plenty more down the road for another attempt, and I am going to do something pretty awesome on October 7th – run the Chicago Marathon –> for fun!

2. Skip a Workout

Yep, you read that right. Sleep in if you need to. Grab drinks with friends after work instead of hammering out that hour run. It is ok if you do not do 100% of every workout in your training plan. I am going to say that the majority of people that have run marathons (even the pros) have skipped a workout from time to time. Sometimes your body just needs to physical and mental break. Just pick up where you left off the following day. One piece of advice – don’t try to make up your skipped workout on another day. It will hurt other workouts you have planned for the rest of the week, and will actually hurt you more than help you.

Skip a workout

3. Connect with Others for Motivation

I have a group of friends here in town that I can always count on to run a few miles with me, no matter what the circumstance. If it is crazy hot, or beyond early in the morning, they are there to help me complete my runs. I was lucky to have them accompany me on one of my 20 mile long runs, and I would not have finished it without them. Their support is invaluable when the motivation to run is just not there. The camaraderie of these women is a direct reflection of me making it to the start line in Chicago. Find someone to run (or even bike ride) next to you when you need it most!

Connect with Others

4. Do Your Long Runs!

No matter what your goal is for a marathon, it is incredibly important that you do the long runs on your training schedule. Even if you do not have a time goal in sight, completing those 18-20 mile runs will make the actual race significantly more fun (and hurt a heck of a lot less).

5. Ditch the Garmin

I have a problem with focusing on pace way too much when I run. I will look down, see a less than favorable split, and then it throws off my whole run. If you can, map out your run before leaving on line so that you know how far the completed mileage is, and then just go run it. Bring your watch if you want, or have the freedom to leave it at home. I think you will be surprised how amazing it is to run with the pressure of time!

Ditch the Garmin

Just to note: I was cleared by a doctor to run the race. If you have an injury or think you are incapable of finishing a long race like a marathon, please check with your doctor first! Running a race is not worth a permanent injury!

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