Motivation and Accountability
Your motivation for taking on this challenge could be caused by inspiration, desire for better health, emotion, or something else. It's different for everyone. Maintaining that motivation through some means of accoountability also varies. Some runners do perfectly fine on their own. Others prefer a set training schedule, the direction of a coach, and the company of training partners. The guidelines below may help you decide what will work best for you.
- Select a training schedule. As soon as you’ve picked an event distance and built a base, choose a training schedule and follow it. You can find programs for beginning, intermediate, advanced intermediate, and advanced runners online. Check out websites such as Runner’s World, Hal Higdon and Road Runners Club of America or just google a training program for the event you’ve chosen. The value of these training programs comes in their variety of running: tempo runs, hill runs, speed work, long runs, and days off. Doing all types of running tends to improve your race. Checking off the workouts as you complete them will give you a sense of accomplishment as you progress to race day.
- Establish a support system. This might be a group of friends who share a racing goal or it could be your teammates in a running club. It could be a runner you know whose efforts and dedication you respect. For emotional support, this could be your family or friends, even if they aren't running. Trust your support system.
- Set a reasonable finish time goal. What's reasonable? If you are already a runner, you can base your goal on past experience. If you are new to running, set a conservative goal. Be prepared, as you train, to find that your goal may need to be adjusted to a faster or a slower time. If you have a coach, ask him or her what is reasonable for you.
- Set multiple goals. Setting multiple goals reflects the reality of racing. We cannot completely control the weather, our health, our competitors' performance, and any number of other factors that are brought to bear on race day. This makes setting multiple goals a great idea. Listed below are examples of typical race goals. Set several that have meaning for you.
- Finish the race.
- Finish the race uninjured.
- Finish the race without walking (if that's your plan).
- Keep a positive attitude.
- Thank at least five race volunteers during the race.
- Hydrate at all aid stations.
- Run the tangents when possible.
- Start slow and negative split the race (if that's your goal).
- Keep an even pace throughout the race (if that's your goal).
- Set a personal record for this distance.
- Run with others. If you’d like to do some of your training with other runners under the guidance of a coach, consider joining a local running club. Anchorage clubs include:
- Ask Questions. You don’t need to figure out everything by yourself. And note: it’s preferable to ask questions before, not after, you have issues or concerns. This will all help you build a foundation of confidence which can positively affect your training.