QUESTION: I spent almost two years exercising, running marathons and triathlons, losing over 170 pounds. Three months ago, I had an extremely disappointing marathon, my second, and since then my desire to exercise has dwindled. I have another marathon this April. I am sure to be ready for it, but am concerned about how to get my mojo back to where it was. Any suggestions? I have tried running in smaller races, switching exercises, taking time off, running without a watch, running on trails, etc. All this helps, but I still seem to be in sort of a "funk." Any suggestions on how to motivate myself again?
HAL’S ANSWER: You’ve already made it difficult for me to offer motivational suggestions, because you’ve claimed all the easy ones, as above. But first, let me congratulate you for the weight lost. Look in the mirror if you need someone to motivate you. Other than that, getting involved in a precise training program usually helps. Knowing you are scheduled to run so many miles on a certain day can push you out the door when you need to be pushed out the door. Often, runs don’t become fun until two-thirds of the way into the distance, so be patient. Also, are there any training groups in your area? Perhaps you could join one. Your local running club (or running store) can help you find other runners of similar talent.
Tacking to another motivational area, consider reading some running books or watching some running movies. Let me suggest several books of mine. The obvious one is my Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide, but I also wrote a novel about the 72 hours leading up to a major marathon, its title simply: Marathon. If you have a Kindle, check out The Duel about the classic battle between Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar at the 1982 Boston Marathon. Among films, the recent Spirit of the Marathon by director Jon Dunham is worth viewing. (Jon currently is finishing work on a second running film.) Two other running movies that might help advance your mojo would be Chariots of Fire and the classic Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.
Hal uses TrainingPeaks to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans. Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here or on his website.