It was in pursuit of a mental and physical challenge that I began training for Comrades, an 89km ultra marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. At that time, I was an enthusiastic 5km runner at best but during those bitter winter mornings spent training, I discovered a hidden love for endurance running and a new passion was born.
With many marathons and ultra-marathons now under my belt, I wanted to share a few tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the years, particularly focused around the Royal Parks Half Marathon which takes place on October 8th in partnership with Fitbit.
This week is all about ‘staying motivated’. With just over a month until the Royal Parks half, those racing will be approaching the peak of their mileage which is often when motivation starts to deteriorate.
If you are struggling to find the motivation to train, I recommend mixing up your running route. Find somewhere different to run, preferably changing up the terrain and steering clear of roads and other hard surfaces which can take it out of the knees and joints.
It’s really important to have a goal or target to work towards when training so I often ‘chase people down’ during shorter and faster workouts. Whether it’s overtaking another runner or even targeting lamp posts during tempo sets! Even better, if you have a partner to train (and/or race) with, you can help keep each other accountable and running when you’d rather be back in bed. Use each other for support and motivation.
Finally: track and monitor your progress. Nothing motivates me more than seeing physical proof that I am getting faster and fitter. Using a tracker such as the Fitbit Blaze allows you to analyse your data during and after a run, helping you to track progress and optimise performance. Negative splits (where your last interval is faster than your first) during interval workouts are a great indication that you are building speed and improving your performance.
Preparing for my marathon in November, this week I focused my training around a 16 mile long run, with some shorter workouts throughout the week. It was tough! I wasn’t feeling particularly strong but it’s important to note, we won’t always feel our best. Be happy that another week of training is complete; there’s still plenty of time.
Good luck with your next week of training! If you have any specific questions, comment below and I will answer as best I can. If you are behind on your training: don’t stress and build up your weekly mileage, slowly. It’s far better to reach the race in good health than to have over trained with possible injuries lingering.
Next week: ‘Get Your Heart Racing’