Category Archives: Marathon Training

And so it begins…the training journey to Disney’s Marathon Weekend

While I’m always working out, hitting the weights, doing an Insanity video, going for a run or a ride or just taking a brisk walk/hike, Monday marked the first day of my own official Walt Disney World Marathon training plan.  This year I will be running just the marathon on Sunday which means I will feel great for running around EPCOT on Sunday afternoon/evening!

I’ll be running the Disney marathon with three good friends and fellow runners on the WDW Radio Running Team which is exciting as marathon weekend is one of the only times the four of us are all in the same part of the country at the same time!

To kick off Monday’s training I woke up with a killer pain in my lower back from this past weekend’s camping trip. We stayed in cabins, but was so happy when the cots gave us that real “sleeping on the ground” experience!

Not to be deterred I went to the gym anyway and rode the bike for 8 miles and then spent 25 minutes lifting weights.  I primarily am going to focus on dumbbells over the next 16 weeks and go for an all body workout hitting the major muscle groups. Here’s what I planned out for my Monday morning cross training.

First, I hit the bike. It’s a nice way to warm up and it does wonders for strengthening the leg muscles, tendons and ligaments especially around the knee joint. The gym bike allows me to adjust the resistance to either work on foot turnover which helps speed on the run or just to get a good alternative workout from running. Next I lift some weights.  I only do free weights as the machines are much less effective at strengthening muscles. Why? Because the machine balances the weight for you which makes it easier.  All the little muscles that you would use to balance a dumbbell above your head are taken out of the picture or severely lessened. Therefore, I use free weights only. Time is a factor in the morning so I focus on the big muscle groups.

  • Back
  • Legs
  • Chest
  • Shoulders

I usually do 3 sets of 8-10 reps or 5 sets of 5 repetitions. I’ve been using dumbbells a lot as this allows me to quickly change weight for a specific exercise and it’s safer since I don’t workout with a partner who would spot me.

After my visit to the gym I went home and before the day was finished I did an Insanity workout video focused on cardio recovery. The workout consists of lots of stretching and plank work for the core. Overall, my back was feeling great by the time I was warmed up and stretched out.  I can’t wait to get going on my three run this week!

Happy Training!

Brian

Dopey Core Work

It occurred to me that I could elaborate a bit on the core work that I suggest doing for the Dopey workouts. Thanks Tammy & Tammy’s friends who are following the program!

First let me reiterate that core work is very important to running or any sport. A strong core will help you maintain your running form across the long miles of the Dopey Challenge or any distance really. A strong core is also great if like me, you have a desk job that may have you slouching all day. Before we get to the exercises I suggest in the plan I made let’s first discuss what is meant by “The Core.”

Most people think of their core as just their abdominal muscles or their “Abs.” While the abdominals are included, the core is made up of around 30 muscles depending on how you count them. I’m not going to go through all 30 here so don’t worry this isn’t a Gross Anatomy 101 lecture.

Here they are! Your core muscles as one part of the core.

Psoas Major/Iliacus: Known as the hip flexors, these muscles lift the thigh toward the abdomen and limit excess motion of the hip joint. **Limiting excess motion means a better running form so these tiny muscles are important to runners!

Erector Spinae: This collection of three muscles straightens the back and, along with the multifidus, a short muscle, supports the spine. Remember I said that I have a desk job? Slouching over a desk kills these muscles. Strengthening them helps your posture throughout the day and during a run.

Now, let’s talk about the abdominal muscles of the core.

Obliques: These muscles rotate your torso and work with the transversus abdominis to support your center during movement. If these are weak and you need to make a quick directional change then it’s going to be difficult.

Rectus Abdominis: These are what the lay person means when the say “The Abs.” These form the six-pack we all long for at the beach. Primarily, this muscle helps stabilize your core, its main function is to flex or curl the trunk like during a crunch or bending over to tie your shoes.

Transversus Abdominis: This muscle is your natural weight belt. It’s a very deep set muscle sitting under the obliques and wraps laterally around your center just like a belt.

Okay, now that you know the basics of the anatomy of your core let’s talk about how we are going to make them stronger because you know Dopey has a six pack under that tunic he wears to the mines, right? That’s because he is an avid core worker and his job is physical. The dude is stacked!

Below is an excerpt from my Dopey Challenge Novice Training Program blog post concerning core work. Remember if you want a more advanced program I did write a Dopey Challenge Intermediate Training Program as well. The core work for both programs is similar except I added a standard plank to the intermediate plan.

EXCERPT:

Core:

Working your core is imperative for your training as a runner especially for the novice runner. As you run long distance your core stabilizes your entire body from your upper torso to your hips and spine. As your core fatigues your running form begins to degrade and you must expend more energy to keep running or maintain pace. Worse yet, as your core stabilizers weaken across the long miles it is easier to become injured as your ability to recover from a quick side-step or a high curb lessens. DO NOT SKIP your core workouts! Ask me if you don’t know how to do these exercises. I’m happy to explain!

Oh, and forget sit-ups. Sit-ups are worthless. I almost didn’t add crunches as I don’t do them, but I know the standard crunch is a recognized exercise by many people. Try to move from one core exercise to the next with minimal rest between exercises and only 30-60 seconds of rest between sets. If you are just starting take it slow at first and work your way into the workout little by little.

After you finish the core work stretch out the major muscle groups for 20-30 minutes holding for 15-20 seconds for each muscle and do 3 sets each. Hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calf muscles should all be stretched after your core work.

Core  Rep/Time  Sets
Standard Plank 60 sec 3
Low Plank w/one leg off the ground: both legs 60sec 3/leg
High Plank position. Knee to elbow. Both legs 15/leg 3/side
Crunch w/arms crossed on chest 30 3
High Knees 50 3

The Core Exercises:

Standard Plank:

The standard plank has two positons, Low Plank & High Plank. The high plank position is just like when you are doing a push-up and you have your arms locked out straight at the top of the movement. Your hands and elbows should be directly below and in line with your shoulders. There is a straight line going from your head to your heels. Don’t allow your pelvis or hips to sag toward the floor and keep your head in line as well. Also, don’t stick you butt higher than your shoulders. Remember, a straight line is the goal. Just holding this position is a great beginner’s exercise for core work. Work your way up to holding it for 60 seconds for three sets. The low plank position is the same except you’re resting your weight on you forearms as your elbows are bent at 90 degree angles. Again keep a straight line going from your head to your heels just as with the high plank. Your elbows should be directly below and in line with your shoulders. The low plank may be an easier start for the newbie athlete as compared to the high plank. The picture below shows both high and low plank position as well as how to transition between the two.  The transition from high to low plank and back again is another exercise for the core if you want to add it later.

Transition from Low to High Plank position
Transition from Low to High Plank position

Low Plank w/One Leg Off the Ground

Get into the low or high plank position. I suggest low plank for beginners. From the low plank position and while maintaining the straight line from head to heel you will simply lift one foot off the ground so it is 6-8 inches off the ground. You will need to balance on one foot and your forearms. This is more difficult than the standard plank as your core has to work to balance you.

Low Plank with One Foot Off the Ground
Low Plank with One Foot Off the Ground

High (or Low) Plank – Knee to Elbow

This is an advanced move. Get into the low or high plank position. From the plank position and while maintaining the straight line from head to heel you will bend your right leg at the knee and hip bringing your right knee toward your right elbow. Depending on how flexible you are you may be able to touch your knee to your elbow (I can’t do this so no worries if you can’t either). Just don’t force it! Slow and controlled is the key until you learn the movement. Avoid allowing your butt to raise into the air as this compromises the integrity of your core. Remember, slow and controlled.  Work your way up to the suggested number of repetitions ans sets. Repeat for the other leg and keep the number of repetitions and sets the same for each side. NOTE: While I suggest doing this in high plank you can also do it from a low plank position as well. In low plank you will need to bring the knee to the outside of the body a bit more so you don’t scrape your knee on the ground.

High Plank Knee to Elbow
High Plank Knee to Elbow

Crunch:

When training I assume nothing so let’s go over the proper form for a basic crunch. Do these at the end of your workout as this exercise is from the most stable position. I don’t want you to pre-fatigue your abdominals until you’ve learned well the movements discussed above and built some dynamic core strength.

Lay with your back flat on the floor with your knees bent so that your feet are also flat on the floor. For beginners, cross your arms on your chest. Using your abdominal muscles lift your shoulders and head off the floor reaching your forehead toward the ceiling. DO NOT GO TOWARD YOUR FEET but rather toward the ceiling for proper form. I always describe having a string tied to your nose that pulls your head and shoulders toward the ceiling. Apologies, I don’t have a picture for this one as all the ones I found show the improper technique of yanking the head toward the feet with the chin pressed against the chest. there should always be space between the chin and the chest for this exercise.

Additionally, avoid putting your hands behind your head until you have gained enough core strength to not use your hands to lift (yank on) your head. This is hard on your spine and lessens the exercise as your arms are doing all of the work instead of your core.

High Knees:

These can be done “cardio style” or they can be done more as a slow and controlled “set and rep” style. From a standing positon raise your knee straight in front of you until your quadriceps (the front muscle group of your legs) is parallel to the ground. You don’t have to raise the knee higher, but you can once you get used to the exercise and learn the movement. Avoid just throwing the leg up, but instead use the core muscles (Psoas Major/Iliacus…hip flexors) to lift the leg. Cardio style is when you do these fatser and for a specified amount of time. Learn the movement before trying them “cardio style”. Play the right music and you could even do them Gangnam Style.

High Knees
High Knees

So that’s it for the core! There are basic and advanced moves in the program that hit all of the core muscles. If you wanted to do this more than once a week you definitely could. I do a 17 minute core workout twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays before work. My exception is that I don’t do crunches or sit-ups. There are a lot more exercises and versions of the exercises we discussed above that you could add, but this will get you started. As always, if you have questions I am here to help.

Happy Training!

Brian

Running Secret #262: Cycling Makes you a Faster Runner

You’ve heard it before. Cross-train, cross-train, cross-train, but you may not have the desire nor the equipment or time to do so…or at least that’s what you tell yourself. After all, how can you fit in cycling workouts along with your interval work, tempo runs, hill repeats, base mileage, LSDs, and recovery runs each week, right?  It’s a busy training schedule going for that PR or just trying to hit that new distance and they say you should get a rest day in there too or “run the risk”…see what I did there? …of over training.

Cycling however is a g-r-e-a-t, GREAT way to compliment your run training and will improve many aspects of your run. This is why if you see any current program I create for someone or just look at a plan that I’ve created for myself you’ll notice that I’ve put in at least one day of cycling whether it be a road bike, spin class or ye olde gym bike.

Here’s Why:

1. Mental Recovery

This isn’t usually listed as a cycling perk, but let’s face it, there are times when we need to take a break from running. Please hear me out before you start to warm up the tar and pluck the chickens. Running is a great time to think and solve the world’s problems, but there are times when we do dread going out that door with our kicks knowing that for the next few hours we’ll be pounding pavement. So let’s get a little variety to save our sanity and at the same time improve upon what we love to do the most, running, by spinning out a few revolutions in the saddle.

2. Improvement in Foot Turnover

If you are new to running or just haven’t done a lot of reading on running form then you may not know that increases in speed come from faster foot turnover, NOT by elongating stride length. What can help you with a faster foot turnover?  You guessed it, cycling. If you are hitting the bike try to go for a 90+ rpm rate and then build into a more difficult gear as you improve strength on the bike.

3. Works the Same Muscles in a Different Way

The primary muscles for the “power phase” of cycling are the glutes and quads.  On the “recovery phase” the primary muscles are the hamstrings and tibialis anterior on the front side of the lower leg.  The hip flexors are used at the top of the cycle going into the power phase while the calf muscles are used at the bottom of the cycle going into the recovery phase. So if you know your anatomy then you know these are very similar to the primary running muscles which include the glutes, quads, hamstrings, calf muscles and iliopsoas.

Therefore, you can work these same (or similar) muscles without all of the pounding of running so your joints will thank you for the occasional change of pace. I like to do a short bike ride at times putting in 5-10 miles on the bike before doing a run.  This is referred to as a “brick” in triathlon/duathlon training, but you as a runner can use it too!  This way you can get in the feel of a long run in less time….you still need to do long runs though.  😉

4. Active Recovery

Remember how you are supposed to rest occasionally?  Well this is 100% true.  You do need a day off now and again where you are doing NOTHING, but you may also choose on occasion to take an “active recovery” day where instead of laying on the couch all day (yeah right…I have yard work to do.) instead you choose to NOT run, but instead go for an easy bike ride.  I like to do this after a long run or any other run where I might have a bit of lactic acid build-up.  Just moving the legs helps to flush out the lactic and speeds recovery by improving blood flow in comparison to just resting.

A Massage…go get one.

I stopped by the local Sports Massage School for a long overdue massage last Friday in lieu of going to the gym. This was a good decision as the therapist told me I had a band of muscle under my left scapula the size of a highlighter that was keeping my shoulder blade from moving properly. This would explain the pain in that area during any long distance running including my last four races.

The massage felt great until an hour later when I felt like I had completed a really exhausting back workout the day before and the muscles were very fatigued.  I almost typed that it felt like someone had beat the crap out of me…but in a good way. This feeling was a GOOD thing as it was needed (the massage…not the feeling of a beating) and it told me how bad the tightness in my scapula area had become.

The therapist had to dig in and work the tightness out of my back muscles.  This is something that doesn’t go away with rest, ice, compression, and elevation…or even heat.  It takes someone who knows what they are doing to work it out otherwise it comes right back. If you do a lot of running or biking or swimming then remember that massage is an important part of your overall training regimen. This is a hard lesson I forgot. I have another massage scheduled in three weeks.

Even though the research is still accumulating for all of the benefits associated with massage some of the benefits of massage include:

  • Increased circulation to specific areas
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased range of motion
  • Decreased muscle stiffness
  • Increased performance*

I put an asterisk next to the last one because the jury is still out, but from personal experience if I have less pain in my shoulder during long runs as a result of a massage sessions and I then can push farther and faster for longer distances then my performance has increased thus that last bullet item is true for me.

If your massage budget looks like mine due to most funding going for race registrations 😉 then do like I do.

  1. Find a local massage school (try for a clinical school that instructs primarily for hospitals or rehab)
  2. Find out when they start classes
  3. Wait a couple months so the new students get some clinical hours under their belt
  4. Schedule it and relax!

Happy Training!

Brian

The Dopey Challenge

Are you Dopey enough?  Of course you are!
Are you Dopey enough? Of course you are!

It’s already started. People are asking that very important question.

How do I train for the Dopey Challenge?

For many, the Dopey Challenge may be the closest they ever get to running an ultra marathon…it seems I may have said something similar to this about a piddly little race called the Goofy Challenge a couple years ago…I’m joking obviously as both are very much a challenge! However, now we can officially be Dopey!

An ultra marathon is defined as any distance beyond the 26.2 mile marathon distance in a single day, BUT most ultra marathoners will tell you that the respect of ultra runners start at the 50 mile marker and not a step before. Anything less is just a “marathon plus”.  The Dopey Challenge will cover 48.6 miles across four days while the shortest official ultra will cover a minimum of a 50K (31.069 miles) in a single day. However, I digress as this post is about the Dopey Challenge.

I’ve decided to post “unofficial” training plans for the Dopey Challenge for my personal use. I’m basing the plans off my experience from training for relays (64 miles), two Goofy Challenges, multiple marathons, half-marathons and other shorter races. My educational background is in Movement and Sport Science double majoring in Exercise and Fitness.

Disclaimer: You should always consult your doctor before beginning ANY exercise program regardless of previous experience.  If you want to use a plan posted here then it is your choice. It’s freely posted on the web and you use the plan at your own risk.

Here are some general guidelines to get you started before I post my training plans:

  1. Start now or as soon as you consult your physician.
  2. Don’t wait or only wait until after you consult your physician.
  3. Start slow regardless of previous experience
  4. Start slowly building your mileage to 50 miles per week over the next several months. (Dopey = 48.6 miles)
  5. Get yourself used to running back to back to back to back days with increasing distance. Start this process slowly and take a few months to build your base miles and consecutive running days.
  6. Cross train. Bike, lift, spin, row, swim, whatever, but do something more than just run and do it weekly until December.  Preferably cross training should use something else besides your running muscles.

Happy Training!

Brian

A Week in Review

What a great week for training! I am making a concentrated effort to drop another 15-20 pounds by April 20th for my next full marathon. So far so good as I am down ~6 pounds since my initial weigh-in 2 weeks ago. Here is an update on my training from this week culminating in my long run today!

A Week in Review:
  • Monday: Cycled at the gym for 10.25 miles for high RPMs to work on foot turnover
  • Tuesday: Interval training.  6 x 800m at an 8:44 pace
  • Wednesday: 2 miles walking
  • Thursday: Tempo run for 6 miles + 2 miles warm-up & cool down.
  • Friday: Insanity Workout – Insane Abs
  • Saturday: 13.1 miles at MP+15sec
  • Sunday: Rest

Hard to believe I completed the Goofy Challenge (Unofficial) just five weeks ago and now I’m back into full marathon training for April. I love running!

Happy Training!

Brian

Recovery

Recovery is perhaps the most difficult thing for someone after the big event. Whether it’s your first 5K or your second unofficial Goofy Challenge there is a mixed bag of emotions that come with crossing the finish line.  Joy, relief, determination, excitement, the feeling that you WON’T be doing THAT again anytime soon, and the realization 24 hours later that you can’t wait to do it again…and better this time.

Besides recovering emotionally there is of course the physical component. There are some things you can do immediately post race to help your body recover “faster”.  I put the word faster in quotes because time to recovery is relative to the individual and is a complicated equation.

Here are just a few things that effect time to recovery.

  • Age
  • Training Time for the Event (did you train for it or foolishly jump in over your head? …like me)
  • Previous training (high school track doesn’t count unless you never stopped)
  • Nutrition –> A lot goes under this one
  • Rest (immediately after the event AND the weeks following)
  • Rehab
  • Time
Age

We can’t do a lot about this one except keep training as that is the only way to minimize the effects of one more trip around the sun. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to sell you something. You can’t outrun time.  Just ask Captain Hook.

Training Time for the Event

Did you give yourself enough time to train for the event or did you wait until you had the bare minimum time to start a program? A lot of people will take 16-20 weeks to train for a marathon and 12-16 weeks for a half marathon. When I decided to run my first marathon I gave myself a year to train with a LOT of mile markers along the way.  I ran three 5Ks, one 4.5 mile race and four half marathons on my way to running my first marathon at Disney.  Preparation is key. Make the decision and go for it.  When you are well trained recovery takes less time.  Now days, I only need a day after a half marathon and I’m back full force 2-3 days after a full marathon.

Previous Training

Is this your first rodeo or is this your 6th or 60th marathon?  If you continue to train (with periods of rest and cross training) then recovery will be easier and faster. Only training for eight weeks a year for your annual event will be a trip to eventual injury.  Believe me, it’s harder to start over than it is to slow down a bit, but still keep going.

Nutrition

There is so much under this one that I could right about.  Here are some general recovery tips concerning nutrition.

  1. Hydrate
  2. Fuel before, during, and after a race.
  3. Hydrate
  4. Take in some protein within 30 minutes of ending the event.  Add some carbs to make it even better. I use EAS shakes.
  5. Hydrate
  6. Don’t forget some electrolytes
  7. Don’t over hydrate
Rest

This should be an obvious one, but there are times when after a race that you don’t want to go rest…ahemDisneyRacesahem.  Still, try to get as much rest as possible as soon as possible. After my first Disney marathon I went and took a three hour nap before hitting the parks. Taking it easy is good. Sitting and being off your feet is better.  Sleep is best.

Rehabilitation (Rehab – They tried to make me go…)

This refers to those other things you can do such as:

  1. Ice bath or ice pack
  2. Compression gear
  3. Elevation of the legs
  4. Stretch
  5. Foam Roller
  6. Massage
  7. The Stick
  8. Chiropractor

Many of these can and will speed recovery if used properly. I’ve used ALL of these.

Time

You can’t help but give yourself time to recover. It takes, well, time. After my first Goofy Challenge I was surprised that it took me a month before I felt 100% again and started running again and was able to actually train. I’ve made it a habit to give myself time off after a race and really rest.  I still am active, but in other things besides running.  After my impromptu Goofy Challenge a few weeks ago I focused on weight lifting, short runs of 1-3 miles, and a lot of biking and elliptical.  I just took the time to enjoy working out and not run allowing time for those running muscle to recover.

Happy Recovery!

Brian

You can also follow me on Twitter  @TheRunningMan23

My rhino virus turned into the plague…

As you know I got a cold the weekend of my last long run. The long run didn’t happen. Instead, I did an hour walk and a 30 minute bike ride, but wasn’t able to go a full 20. My cold turned into “the plague” on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday with a fever. So tapering has been a lot of forced rest so far! Some would want to get a long run in the weekend before, but I’m just going to do an easy 5-6 miler on Sunday with a few other 3 mile-ish runs thru Thursday before I fly down to Disney on Friday.

I’m not worried. I had enough long runs to where I know I am prepared to do a full marathon. It’s my 6th marathon in three years and my 3rd Disney marathon on the 20th anniversary of the WDW Marathon AND it’s also the place I ran my 1st marathon so it’ll be fun no matter what!

Screen shot 2013-01-05 at 10.44.54 AM

The real training for 2013 starts after marathon recovery!

Happy Training!

Brian

You can also follow me on Twitter @TheRunningMan23

Taper Time for Disney!

A Final Long Run

I have one more long run tomorrow and it will be time to taper for the Walt Disney World Marathon! Tomorrow is my 20 miler. I’ve done 15, 17, and 18 mile runs over the last few weeks building up to this final run for my usual “cross the finish line” training plan. I plan for it to take a full 4 hours. Unfortunately I caught a rhino virus over Christmas that decided to finally show up last night so Sunday’s 20 mile run should be interesting. As usual my long run will be slow or what runners call an LSD, a long slow distance run. If it were anything but the common cold I might have to skip the 20 miler and start tapering now, but we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. It may be that I do a 4 hour walk on Sunday which would be closer to a 12-13 miler, but regardless I am in it for a 4-hour time period.

I want to make sure that I am ready to stay on my feet and in motion for Sunday January 13th. I’ll be running the Disney Marathon with a friend who is going for her first Goofy challenge. It will also be her first marathon so having a couple people along for moral support will be a big help! You may even know her from the blog she writes! My friend is the force behind the We Wants the Redhead blog! Check it out!

We both run on the WDW Radio Running Team to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation through the Dream Team Project. We run to grant a child’s wish to go to Walt Disney World, a worthy cause if ever there was one! If you have an extra $5 dollars I would greatly appreciate the donation. I will be happy to dedicate a mile or two to you!

The Taper

Tapering is always interesting as you reduce your level of training significantly to allow your body rest, recovery, and repair for the big day. Next week assuming my cold is gone I will still do a tempo run and a day of interval training, but I won’t go for the top end speed as I usually would for those types of training. I’ll also decrease the amount of strength training I do to just one or two days as that kind of training can make you a bit tight and tapering is also about getting loose for the big day.

Two things I will increase are my time on the elliptical and sleep!  I’ll do the elliptical to maintain my calorie burn for the week. The holidays have not been kind to the number on my scale so over the next two weeks I am focused on a structured nutrition program and getting a good calorie burn each day.

The week leading up to the marathon will be light and primarily just easy sessions on the elliptical along with a couple short runs of less than 5-miles at an effortless pace and no weight lifting. Rest rest rest is on the training agenda!

I’m really looking forward to running my 3rd Disney Marathon. This will be my 6th full marathon overall and my 8th runDisney race! I hope to see some of you at Walt Disney World in a couple weeks!

Happy Training!

Brian

You can also follow me on Twitter @TheRunningMan23

Back on Track to being Motivated

It’s been tough getting motivated to train over the last few weeks. My heart has just not been in it and with the holidays there is plenty to keep me doing other things than hitting the gym on a regular basis. One thing that motivated me two weekends ago was a fellow Daily Mile member who had asked for anyone who could run to go out for a mile or two since he was injured and “on the bench.” That day I managed to go outside and run an easy 5K.  Last weekend I managed a nice 10+ mile run at the gym. The miles were easy as I watched ESPN on the treadmill. This was a confidence booster as I hadn’t ran over 5 miles in several weeks. The next day I felt great with zero soreness giving testament to my enduring fitness level even though I had been taking it easy with only 1-2 workouts a week. Goes to show you that fitness does go away, but it doesn’t go away overnight.

This also reinforces that it’s okay to take some time off and cut back as long as it doesn’t turn into six months of doing nothing. I was hitting the gym 1-2 times per week getting a lot of extra sleep and recouping physically, mentally, and motivationally. Now it’s go time as I have a full marathon at Walt Disney World in 45 days!

Last Sunday I did my 10 miler. Monday I hit the elliptical and some light weight lifting. Tuesday I did some speed work on the treadmill with twelve 400m repeats. Today I duplicated Monday’s workout.

So I feel like I’m back on track, but with that being said I’d like to lend some advice on getting back on track to finding your motivation again when it gets lost in the woods.

Ways to Find your Motivation

  1. Start Small
    1. Just like when you first started being more active if you’ve been away for two weeks or two months don’t try to pick back up exactly where you left off. Go for a walk, a short run, ride a bike in front of the TV, play a sport you love, or walk your dog, but just get active again!
  2. Follow others to find motivation
    1. Someone you know likes to run, bike, swim, lift weights or play badminton. If you don’t have someone personally close to you then go out to Facebook, the daily mile, or the plethora of other websites and just watch those people go!  Many are willing to send you an “atta-boy OR atta-girl” for being active.
  3. Don’t think
    1. You can be your own worst enemy so quit thinking and start doing. Don’t sit there and talk to yourself about how busy you are for next 10 minutes. Instead use that 10 minutes to be active! A 10 minute walk is activity!
  4. Tell everyone about it
    1. Find some motivation by posting what you did on a website or start your own blog. If not then just tell the first person you see who asks, “How are you today?”  The response, “I’m good! I hit the gym this morning.” If you have a specific goal tell them about that too. Nothing motivates you more than knowing that everyone knows, you know?
  5. Find a goal
    1. Find something far enough in the future that you can train for it, but close enough that you need to start now.  Looking forward to a half marathon a year from now means you could slack for six months and still do it.  Registering for a 10K six weeks from now means you need to get going now!
  6. Daily reminders
    1. Put it on your calendar at work to remind you daily about your goal. Add an update to your mobile phone. Write a note and put it on the fridge!
  7. Find a buddy
    1. You don’t have to do the same workout, but just being accountable to someone else that you’ll show up at the gym does wonders.  You can’t let ’em down!
  8. Do your homework
    1. Subscribe to Men’s Health, Runner’s World, or some other fitness oriented magazine. Reading about exercise will keep it on your mind and perhaps motivate you to try new things.  You can also go to Amazon.com and find some great books on running or just about any other sport or form of exercise. Go for those inspiring stories that make you want to run out the door at 3am for a 10K run! No extra cash to buy these things?  No problem. Follow a few more fitness bloggers for free or “Like” a magazine on Facebook. Those sites put up free content all of the time!
  9. Get on a plan
    1. If you are returning and have a goal then write down a training plan even if it’s a simple one. Even if it’s a one week plan that you are going to repeat for the next four weeks that’s okay. Just get it down on paper.  And remember, write it in pencil.  Who knows, you may run an extra couple miles and need to edit!
  10. Talk yourself up
    1. I’ve written before about negative self talk or what I call the Voices of Doubt and I’m sure you’ve heard that voice in your head saying, “It’s too early just go back to bed.” or “Who cares about your run tomorrow when you can watch the American Idol finale now?” or worst of all “You’re not good enough. You can’t do this. You should give up.”
    2. When you hear those voices you should instantly say something positive. “I’m awake so I’m getting up.” or “I’m going to DVR American Idol, problem solved.” or “I am amazing!”  Positive self talk is a method used by both amateur and professional athletes so why not use it yourself.  Telling yourself, “I can do this!” is a great way to prove yourself right!

That’s it! 10 ways to stay motivated or get re-motivated. If you are state side I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. If you see me at Disney in January be sure to say, Hi!

Happy Training!

Brian

Follow me on Twitter @TheRunningMan23