My three loyal readers are probably laughing their asses off at that title. Like I’m qualified to be giving advise on this topic? While it’s true I’ve developed some callouses hitting my snooze button this winter, I do have some opinions. Now do as I say. . .

Choose Your Goal Wisely

What you decide to train for will have the greatest impact on your ability to stay motivated. The more you care about your goal race/adventure, the less likely you’ll be to slack off in your training. You’ll want to get out, log your miles, and crank out a bunch of workouts. It’s easy to invest time and energy into something that means a lot to you. Best case scenario, it will feel like you don’t even need motivation as you’ll just naturally knock out session after session with a big smile on your face as you anticipate crushing your goal.

Another variant of this is to pick the biggest, scariest goal you can think of to go after. Nothing will get you out of bed at 4am quite like attempting the near impossible. Fear can be a powerful motivator. I wouldn’t suggest employing this tactic often, but it’s definitely effective when used.

Write It Down

This is a great way to add accountability to your training. One of the reasons I flaked on so many runs this past winter was that I didn’t have anything in writing (or spreadsheet if you want to be completely accurate). It’s pretty easy to not do a workout you were only kinda thinking about. It’s much harder when you have to cross off an eight to write down zero. You get bonus points if you pay someone (i.e. a coach) to write it down for you.

Mind The Length

It probably goes without saying, but a ten week training block is easier to execute than one that’s 20 weeks long. Your motivation naturally ebbs the longer you push your body and/or the more workouts that you’re adding to your schedule. Be mindful of this when you writing out your plan. I’ve found step back weeks to be more beneficial mentally by bolstering my will to continue training more so than a physical break.

Treat Your Training Like An Ultra

No matter how long your training block is, you’ll get tired of it about halfway to two-thirds of the way through. You’ll probably have a couple niggles by this point. You’ll be tired or borderline exhausted pretty much seven days a week. And you’ll still be staring at another 4-8 weeks of this. Your best strategy here is just move aid station to aid station week to week. Don’t think about doing 4 more long runs. Or 7 more hill repeat workouts. Just think about tomorrow’s run. You don’t have to think/plan past this if you’ve got your training cycle down in writing. Hmmm, maybe this is the most important thing.

What’s Motivating Me

Next up for me is a 24 hour race up in NY, which is not something I would normally be hyper excited about. I’ve done one 24 hour before and enjoyed my experience. I “only” did 100 miles so it’s a soft PR that I can pretty much beat just by showing up. What’s got me super amped though is that my son is also racing the 24 hour event. We specifically chose this race as he was looking for a 24 hour race to run 100 miles. When we planned it, I just kind of assumed that he would hit his target and then quit. Well, the more we talk about it, the more it sounds like he wants to beat me. He wants to what, now?

My son has built up an amazing level of base fitness from running cross country, winter, and spring track for four straight years in high school. He’s easily in sub 17 minute 5k shape, while I’d be lucky to hit 22 minutes. It’s the classic youth vs. experience story. He’s ran two 12 hour races over the years so he’s not completely inexperienced, but he has no clue what awaits him in hour 13. He did 50 miles in his last 12 hour race at Labor Pains and his consistency over the last 6 hours there was very impressive so I can’t just expect him to blow up. He’s 100% going to make me work for this one. So my competitive juices are flowing for the first time in quite a while. I gotta represent all us old timers out there. Time to get training!