Motivation Secrets from Top Marathoners
Find a mantra.
A running or exercise mantra is a phrase that you repeat or remind yourself of when your motivation is waning. Not only will it keep you moving, but it's a positive way to fill your head with thoughts other than how tired, sore or bored you are. “Define Yourself” is the mantra of choice for Deena Kastor, American marathon record holder (2 hours and 19 minutes at the London Marathon), Olympic bronze medalist and a brand spokesperson for MARATHON bar. “This phrase was given to me by my coach in 2005, when he told me to define myself before I started a big race,” says Kastor, who feels it can apply to other moments in daily life as well.
…and use it!
Whether you feel like you can't run another minute or you can't do another rep, sometimes a mantra is the only thing that helps you put mind over matter when the going gets really tough. “My mantra is ‘Relax, breathe and put one foot in front of the other’,” says Jim Lynch, an 86-time marathoner (best finish time: 3 hours and 28 minutes at the Chicago Marathon) and author of the forthcoming book, One Foot in Front of the Other. “I saw it on the side of a road when I was struggling through a marathon and kept repeating it to myself until I started to feel better. Now I use it in every marathon and long training run.”
Ditch the notion of perfection.
Beating yourself up over one missed workout or training run is not worth it. “If you can follow 80 percent of your plan, you’re probably ahead of most people,” says John Honerkamp, a two-time marathoner (best finish time: 2 hours and 44 minutes at the NYC Marathon), New York Road Runner’s Head of Training and running coach of The Official ING New York City Marathon Training Program. There are going to be some days that don’t go according to plan, and when that happens you have to let yourself off the hook. Just get back on track the next day.
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Do you already use some of these tips? Do any of these tips sound like they might work for you? If so, which ones?
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