Staying Motivated

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By Bruce Fordyce

Bruce Fordyce Comrades TipsWe have reached that time of the year when motivation has become a key factor. Increasingly many of us are finding our running tough.

The enthusiasm of the New Year has waned and the daily grind is exactly that, a grind. The early mornings and stiff legs are a burden and some of us are depressed at the long journey to Comrades.

Many of us are frankly “gatvol”.

What happened to that enthusiasm – and how do we rekindle it?

First of all we have to understand why we have hit a bit of a trough. Most of us started our hard training too soon, too hard and too enthusiastically.

Physically and mentally we are in the doldrums and to train even harder will have devastating consequences for our dwindling reserves of inspiration. To say nothing of the injury demons lurking just over the next hill.

These next few weeks are the most important training phase and there are a few tricks we can employ to get through them successfully.

Focus On Tomorrow 

First of all we should try not to focus on the end goal and the hundreds of training kilometres that lie ahead.

The task is simple. Focus only on what next has to be done.

I am aware of a certain boredom factor in some of my training at the moment so I will plan my training run for tomorrow and tomorrow I will plan for the next day. I will try not to worry about the entire week’s or month’s work.

Mix Things Up 

In an effort to freshen things up a little I might change some of my regular training routes and run with different training partners. It’s always interesting to listen to new gossip!

I will also try changing the speed and length of my training runs. The occasional time trial run at race pace will help to blow away a few mental and physical cobwebs.

Rest. It’s OK!

Finally I will not be afraid to take a rest day. If I feel unduly tired or heavy-legged or short of breath I will take this as a signal that the next day’s training ought to be a day off.

All runners are knowledgeable about the benefits of long runs, hill work and speed work but many of them neglect that underrated addition to the training programme; rest.

Nothing restores motivation more speedily than a short break.

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6 Responses to Staying Motivated

  1. Heleen de Bruin April 25, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Sjoe! That is exactly how I feel at this point! Good to know I am not the only one out there! Thank you!

    • Coenie vd Bergh April 14, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

      Heleen, after your last few weeks, no wonder partner

  2. Elna April 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Yes, this is time to stay motivated. Come race day, this motivation and positive attitude have to stay active until I’m OVER the finish line. Nobody should get “wintie” about Comrades Marathon. Every year runners learn something on the way to Comrades.

  3. Sweerharry April 28, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Eish ya,sometimes we work our bodies so hard we forget to rest. At the moment I’m rested due to injury.I guess its an intervention from God to rest

  4. Simphiwe Ngema April 24, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    I will be running comrades for the 5th time, I paid the price last year, but i have learnt my lessons, training on rush hour mode, will show you flames on the day.

    I have trained hard but smart in preparation for this year’s one, i also had some injury that kept me out for 2 weeks, it turned out to be a good break, i am glad that i did not gain any weight, diet is important.

    Now is like easy run…short distances, hills, speedwork…and one long run….
    my last race will be Chartsworth Ultra…of which i will be very easy.

    Thanks Bruce

  5. Boitumelo April 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    This is valued information and wisdom Bruce. I also feel lots of tips at road shows and club and veteran’s conversations is about warnings which instill fear and cause you troubles along the way because you are looking our for the troubles you have been told about.

    I refuse to look at Comrades as a route with 5 big monsters – I see 5 elevators to view the landscapes of our beautiful countryside! (Just finished my first Two Oceans 56km with easy 6:23).

    After these five tips practice, the essence of running Comrades to one’s best is to rehash them and feel it in your heart, feel your head so strong that the body just follows as Renee Nell, the admirable female bus driver I respect would say!

    Good luck to all

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