Olympic distance runner Jess Trengove shares the seven strategies she uses for motivation in the lead up to a marathon:
Have you ever set yourself a big fitness goal, like running a half marathon for the first time? If so, did you find that your MOJO was sky high for the first couple of weeks but wore off a little sooner than expected? As fatigue and stiffness started to set in, did the temptation to push snooze on your morning alarm or to curl up on the couch after getting home from work become stronger?
Don’t worry, this happens to us all! Two of my most challenging marathon build-ups from a motivation perspective ended up being two of my best races, which is why I urge you be persistent. Here are seven tips that help me find my MOJO on a weekly basis…
1. Short term goals
The most powerful motivator is having a purpose that is meaningful to you. I am a huge believer in dreaming big but even more so for setting small goals that guide you in the direction of your ultimate target. Create weekly goals that you believe will help you to reach your dream, write them down in a diary or spreadsheet and take satisfaction from ticking them off. I gain a lot of motivation from looking back through my training diary and reflecting on my progress. At the end of the day, the journey we take to reach our destination is where we learn, grow and build resilience so it is important to embrace every step.
If you need something to deter you from pressing snooze on the alarm, organise to meet a friend or training partner at a specific time to exercise. The guilt of letting someone else down tends to outweigh the lure of rolling over for a little more sleep. Furthermore, it is fun to share the satisfaction of completing a session and the resultant endorphin buzz. Working towards a big goal, like running a marathon with one or more people and sharing in each other’s success is also incredibly rewarding.
3. Set up
Whether you exercise in the morning or evening, having the appropriate gear ready to go in advance can help to stave off second thoughts about training. Put out or pack comfortable active wear and shoes, a charged watch, fresh socks and underwear and any other accessories you like to use, like eyewear or headphones so that the process of preparing for exercise is seamless.
If you prefer to train alone or don’t have the opportunity to exercise with others, you may find it motivating to listen to music or podcasts. If so, choose a playlist or podcast that puts you in an appropriate mood or mindset for the given day or session. When cross-training in a gym, I often try to find an episode that I’m excited to listen to the night before my session to provide a bit of extra motivation. When exercising outdoors, the scenery is often enough to keep me entertained and I feel safer when my ears are free to hear what is happening around me.
Some people love braving the elements but my MOJO rises with blue skies and sunshine. If you have flexibility with the days on which you exercise it pays to check the weather forecast and to time your training accordingly.
I also find that my surroundings have a profound effect on my training MOJO. Running appeals to me for a number of reasons – the health benefits, the challenge, the people I meet and the way it drives me to get the most out of myself in all areas of life. Another major appeal is the way running exposes and puts me in touch with nature. Choosing scenic routes and exploring new trails (when I have time to risk getting lost) is one of my go-to strategies to fuel motivation.
7. Snacks and Smoothies
If an activity makes us feel better, we are generally driven to repeat it. Failure to fuel and hydrate appropriately before or after exercise is one way to make it less effective and enjoyable. I aim to eat a carbohydrate-rich snack or meal in the two hours prior to training, followed by a snack containing both protein and carbohydrates within the hour immediately afterwards. Smoothies are a great way to pack a variety of important macro- and micronutrients into a snack, whilst also satisfying the taste buds. After a long run or hard session, I love to have a big drink of water followed by a glass of cold MOJO Kombucha. The bubbles encourage me to sip slowly and I find it incredibly refreshing, nourishing and hydrating. I sometimes also add a dash of MOJO Kombucha to my smoothies for a bit of extra fizz!
I hope these seven ‘S” strategies will stick in your mind when chasing your next goal. Most importantly, find what fills your cup and reflect on your ‘why’ on a regular basis to help maintain your MOJO!
All the very best,