FEBRUARY 5, 2018

BY COACH MATT LAYTEN

FOUR TIPS TO MAINTAINING MOTIVATION IN 2018 AND BEYOND

Many of us have a familiar and easily accessible route we often run, so we don’t have to venture too far away. However, doing the same thing day in and day out can cause boredom. Boredom in training can lead to inconsistent training. If you don’t like what you are doing, then you won’t want to continue doing it. That is why I highly suggest finding new places to run during the week. Go on a personal field trip for your workouts or weekly long run to find new places to run. Try to get away from the city streets and avoid routes where you have to stop at crosswalks so that you can settle into an enjoyable rhythm.


You can also run informal mini-workouts to liven up your runs. Set some segments where you go at a slightly faster pace for a minute and then go easier for the next minute. Such mini-workouts can give you something to look forward to during your run while still keeping it manageable.


The best and easiest way to see progress in your fitness is consistent easy running for multiple weeks at the start of your new training cycle. In order to do that, however, you need to be realistic about what you can handle, so that you don’t burn yourself out and end your consistent streak.


While these are just a few of the tips that can help, different methods of maintaining motivation work for different people, so it’s important to find the one that works best for you. Start small and gradually hold yourself accountable to your new habits for multiple weeks. Good luck with your training journey in 2018!

TIP 4: INCLUDE VARIETY IN YOUR TRAINING

TIP 3: USE CALENDARS AND JOURNALS TO MEASURE PROGRESS

TIP 2: SET A SPECIFIC TIME OF DAY TO RUN

marathon runners in a pack
marathon runners in a pack
marathon runners in a pack

If you can see a visual representation of your progress each day, then you are more likely to uphold accountability in your training. The goal is to view running as a daily practice. Because of this, using calendars or running journals to log your workouts is extremely helpful. I use a large calendar on my wall where I can put a large check mark through the date I ran along with details about that workout (e.g. distance, pace, how I felt, etc.). I keep my calendar in a place where I can see it. The intrinsic reward you feel the moment you cross off the day on your calendar will motivate you to run the next day. The goal is then to create a long chain of check marks as a representation of your progress. Visual aids like these can increase your confidence in your fitness and encourage you to take a long-term view of your training.


The best way to improve your running performance is to maintain consistency in training. You can’t cram in your fitness in the same way you once crammed for tests in school. Consistency is a fundamental quality of solid training, and it simply cannot be bypassed. 


Five days of running 30 minutes at an easy pace will do more for developing endurance than running two hard ten minute runs each week. In the same way, two weeks of solid training followed by two weeks of rest can bring you back to square one, thereby hindering your progress.


Before setting pace and mileage goals, focus on simply lacing up your shoes and running for a specified number of days each week. If you know that you aren’t ready to run six or seven days per week, schedule in a few structured rest days. If those weekly run and rest days are planned in a realistic manner, then you will be able to replicate those weeks and build consistency. With consistency, comes the ability to set new goals and begin specific workouts.

TIP 1: PRIORITIZE CONSISTENCY

marathon runners in a pack

It’s a new year and your resolutions have been made. But without new habits, it will be difficult to maintain your resolutions beyond a few weeks. This is especially true when trying to accomplish a new running goal. Here are four tips for maintaining motivation in 2018 and beyond.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Coach Alexander Lowe Educated Running

Be realistic with this one. If you decide you are going to wake up at the crack of dawn but it’s hard for you to run when it’s dark and 10 degrees outside, it’s not realistic to expect yourself to stick to that routine week in and week out. In the same way, if you know that scheduling your run in the evening makes you tired and more likely to talk yourself out of your run, then consistency won’t materialize for you. Some people prefer to complete workouts during their lunch breaks when it is warm, and to provide a temporary escape from the monotony of the workday. Basically, know yourself. Know if you are more of a morning or evening person, know your work schedule and breaks, and identify times when you can easily and habitually complete your workout for the day.


Coach Matt Layten

Coach Matt Layten earned his Masters in Kinesiology from San Jose State University. He is a USATF Level 2 Certified Coach in endurance events and USTFCCCA Certified Coach in strength and conditioning. Coach Layten trains runners in the Colorado Springs area .

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