Words: Benita Willis
As you draw closer to the halfway point of your Gold Coast Marathon training program, you may find your motivation slipping. Life’s constant barrage of challenges and responsibilities can steer your training away from your original plan, resulting in a loss of enthusiasm and drive. As a former elite athlete, I know this feeling all too well. Here are my five tips to help you reaffirm your goal and get back on track as you head into the second half of your training plan:
1. Take it one week at a time
Take your Gold Coast Marathon training one week at a time and prepare to be flexible with other commitments
When you reach the halfway point of your plan, it’s tempting to look ahead. Seeing the number of hours and kilometres awaiting you can be overwhelming, especially if you’re feeling behind in your training. I recommend taking it one week at a time.
Look at next week’s plan and break it down session by session. Now, look at ways you can fit these sessions into your work or family responsibilities for that week. Be prepared to be flexible. A busy week filled with evening plans might mean shifting your usual afternoon runs to the morning or lunchtime. Once you’ve figured out your plan, write it down and stick it on the fridge, set reminders in your phone or tell a friend or partner so you’re accountable.
2. Find a friend
Having another person waiting for you is a fantastic way to force you to train as you don’t want to let that person down.
There were many times during my elite career when sharing training sessions with others pushed me to run further and faster, particularly when my motivation was low. If you’re feeling sluggish and struggling to get out of bed for those early morning runs, it’s helpful to reach out to someone who can keep you accountable. Having another person waiting for you is a fantastic way to force you to train as you don’t want to let that person down.
Try a friend, family member or colleague of a similar running ability so you’re able to chat along the way and take your mind of the kilometres you’re logging – you’ll notice the time will fly by! If you’re struggling to find anyone to run with, search online for local running groups. It’s a wonderful way to meet like-minded people, broaden your running partner options and make your training sessions even more enjoyable!
3. Reaffirm your goal
Reminding yourself of the ‘why’ will go a long way to you achieving your goal.
Look back to when you made the decision to run at the Gold Coast Marathon. What was driving you to enter? Perhaps it was to lose weight, achieve a personal best time or raise awareness for a charity close to your heart. Over time, it can be easy to lose sight of the reasons why you started your running journey. Without a firm goal, you may feel like you’re wandering aimlessly through your plan.
During my career, I made my goals clear and concise. Whether it was to qualify for the Olympic Games or simply to complete a long run, I made sure I constantly reminded myself of them. Some ways to do this include writing your goal down and placing it somewhere you will be reminded daily such as your fridge or work desk, telling a friend, family member or colleague your aspirations, posting it on social media or creating a mantra that reinforces your goal when you’re struggling during a training session. Reminding yourself of the ‘why’ will go a long way to you achieving your goal.
4. Find a build-up race
Participating in lead up races can be a fantastic way to rejuvenate your training program and reinforce your Gold Coast Marathon ambition
An exciting way to break up your training for the Gold Coast Marathon is to schedule build up races. While I was training for major marathon events, I would often include smaller distance races in the lead up to help me assess where I was at physically.
No matter the size of an event, it’s always exciting running alongside others, achieving a goal, crossing a finish line in front of a crowd and receiving a well-deserved medal. This can be a fantastic way to rejuvenate your training program and reinforce your Gold Coast Marathon ambition. However, it’s important not to go out too hard in these races as you don’t want to injure yourself. Use it as a unique way to log your scheduled kilometres while having fun in a social running setting.
5. Book a holiday and extend your stay
Visualising your trip as a reward is a wonderful way to stay on track while training
A terrific way to stay motivated while training for the Gold Coast Marathon is to extend your stay in the city! Adding a few more days to you planned trip will give you more time to recover from your run, experience one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations and enjoy all the famous attractions for which the city is renowned. Visualising your trip as a reward, including all your post-race celebrations at world-class bars, restaurants or surf clubs, is a wonderful way to stay on track while training. Knowing there is a prize at the end of all your hard work will make your training sessions much easier. Plus, winter on the Gold Coast is a delight. It’s warm enough to enjoy the beach, put your feet up and relax in style.
Gold Coast Marathon ambassador Benita Willis is an 11-time Australian record holder, four-time Olympian, two-time Commonwealth Games representative, 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Champion, 2003 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships bronze medallist and three-time Australian 5,000 metres champion. She is the Recreational Running Manager at Queensland Athletics (Qrun), an online running coach and leads the running program at Brisbane Girls Grammar School.