Finding Motivation to Run When You’ve Lost It.
As a long-distance runner who was, for the most part, fanatic about training, cross-training, and eating clean, the past year or so has been a new experience for me. In 2015, I ran exactly one race, the Oakland Half Marathon. I was feeling the effects of life events taking precedence over running. I never thought that would ever be the case for me, but so it was.
Fast forward to 2016. I had signed up for the Zion Half Marathon months ago. And again, life events took precedence. So, when March 12 came around, without any real training, cross training or clean-eating under my belt, I decided to run the race anyway. The experience left me feeling like I could have written a book on how to run a half marathon without really trying. Instead, with tongue-in-cheek, here are my top ten tips.
Run a Half-Marathon Without Really Trying
Don’t Train – Sign up and have loads of distractions that keep you from running.
Lose Motivation – Get out of the habit of running and lose motivation to get back in it. Enjoy all those distractions that got you here.
Take a Trip – When you are supposed to be training, like a few weeks before the race, take a trip to Costa Rica instead. Work at a hippie festival on the beach and in the jungle, get a stomach bug that keeps you in your tent and close to toilets for 24 hours. Stick with a safe diet of liquids, fruit and salty things for the rest of the trip. A great way to get down to racing weight.
Plan Your Race Strategy – 48 hours to race day. Upon returning to Zion Canyon, plan your race strategy. Review the course. It starts off at 3500 ft elevation and takes you up to just under 4000 ft. Wonder if the fact that you’ve just spent close to 3 weeks at sea-level has an impact. This isn’t a PR opportunity. It’s an opportunity to injure yourself, so try not to. Decide to run/walk at a 9:1 interval. Look for your trusty Gymboss to help. Start hydrating.
24 Hours to Race Day – Check the weather and plan what you’re going to wear, including compression calf sleeves. Set it all out, get your bib and pin it to your shirt. Get out all the gear you want to use such as your Garmin, a Gymboss Interval Timer, your favorite hand-held water bottle, and set it out so it’s all ready in the morning. Set out all the nutrition you’ll want for the race, including electrolytes, pre-race meal, race fuel, and recovery nutrition.
Pre-race Night. Eat a simple carb dinner of pasta and red sauce. Check the weather again. Pull out rain gear since now it looks like rain. Plan on getting a good night’s sleep, then allow events to unfold otherwise. Eat some pie.
Race Morning. Wake up knowing you prepared as best as you could given the circumstances. And you’re tired but you’re also content. That was some good banana cream pie. Consider bagging the race since it’s raining and the idea of snuggling in bed on a rainy Saturday morning feels like a much better option. Go anyway.
Run Your Race – Listen to your body. Remind yourself that the goal is to finish without injury. When your calves are on fire at mile 11, start taking more breaks to stretch. Remind yourself again that the goal is to finish without injury. Stick with run/walk intervals and avoid the urge to actually race the final mile.
Mile 12 – At mile 12, see your sweetie waiting for you on her bike. She paces alongside you for the final 1.1 miles. Gets our coworkers to cheer as we pass Zion Guru.
Finish! – Finish the race with a great big smile, sore calves, but no sign of injury. Sweetie loads me up with recovery chocolate almond milk and bulbs. Mission accomplished!
All kidding aside, I ran a slow but successful 2:45. Considerably slower than my very first half marathon. Then again, I actually trained for that one. I consider this one successful because I finished it, having only run a few times in the previous 3 months, my longest “training” distance a mere 6 miles.
And I finished it without injuring myself, blessed with wisdom and know-how accumulated over the years. Most importantly, however, I consider this one successful because I finally feel motivated again to get out there and run. Mission accomplished, indeed!
Lizette Militar is a run coach and regular contributor, as a writer, to Go WOW Living. Her articles are often full of mindfulness tips and this one, while a bit whimsical too, fits into not taking life (or racing) too seriously every moment.