6 Tips for Staying Motivated Until Race Day

Keep your training momentum high with these tips for staying motivated

For many, running is an integral part of their day. Consistently running will prepare you for your distance, but there are factors out there that can sap your motivation. Don’t let that happen! Be diligent, keep your motivation cranked up, and race day will be here before you know it. The tips for staying motivated that you’ll need are below!

Track your progress

Friends pose the 2019 Austin Half Marathon finish line. Accountability is a great tip to stay motivated.

Friends hold each other accountable and keep them motivated all the way to the finish line.

Motivation can be quickly lost when you don’t see progress. It’ll feel like you’re not going anywhere. Track your progress to stay motivated! You can see the data for each workout, improvement from week-to-week, and total mileage once you cross the finish line. We run with Under Armour’s MapMyFitness. The insights are tremendous, it lets you know about everything, including stride and cadence.

Find accountability

We can’t stress this enough. Running with a friend or your local running group ( like RAW or Austin Runners Club) will elevate your motivation. The accountability factor is real and it benefits everyone. Everyone wants to cross the Austin Marathon finish line and you want to help each other get there. Accountability will keep that pact intact, especially if you have trouble getting up in the morning

Reward yourself

One reason people lose motivation is they focus on the big goal – the Austin Marathon finish line. That’s fantastic, but it shouldn’t be your only goal because that one goal will produce only one reward. Set up monthly, weekly, or daily goals and reward yourself! Get out of bed for that early morning workout? Get your favorite coffee. Complete your weekend long run? Reward yourself with brunch from your favorite spot.

Prep your stuff the night before

Lance Armstrong, the Austin Gives Miles Charity Chaser, at the 2019 Austin Marathon finish line. Running on behalf of Austin Gives Miles is a great tip to stay motivated.

Lance Armstrong was the 2019 Austin Gives Miles Charity Chaser, lending his legs and his miles!

Your alarm goes off, you roll out of bed, just trying to get out the front door. The last thing you want to do is think about what you need for your run or to pack a bag so you can shower at the gym. Knock all this out the night before and set your bag near the front door. This will save time in the morning and ensure you don’t forget something important, like soap, deodorant, or your underwear! Pro tip: sleep in your running clothes to save even more time!

Find a cause to support

Run for someone or something other than yourself! A great place to look is Austin Marathon Gives – the Austin Marathon’s philanthropic program. Austin Marathon Gives supports Central Texas nonprofits, helping them raise funds and increase awareness for their cause. There’s a range of causes for runners to choose from! Pick a nonprofit you love, lend your legs and miles, and make a difference with your training. You can also run and fundraise on behalf of your favorite charity! Plus every dollar you raise is matched by the Moody Foundation, up to $10,000 per charity!

Sign up for a race

There are benefits to registering for another race. It’ll act as another goal for you to work towards, you can test your hydration/nutrition plans, and eliminate some of those race-day jitters. 3M Half Marathon presented by Under Armour on January 23rd is the perfect tune-up race for the Austin Marathon. It has one of the fastest half marathon courses in the country and is 4 weeks before the Austin Marathon. 

Keep your momentum levels on HIGH. The more you have fun during your runs and workouts, the more likely you are to continue the next day. Incorporate these tips for staying motivated throughout your training. Do you have a tip that keeps you motivated during your training? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

How to Run: Useful Advice for First-Time Runners

Our advice for first-time runners will start you off on the right foot

Did you just discover running? Welcome! Did you start running again after a long layoff? Glad to have you back. Are you returning from injury and ready to get back in a groove? Great news! The information contained in this blog post is geared towards first-time runners. But if you’re returning to running or have finally recovered from an injury, you can use this information too!

Remember: every runner starts at square one. You are about to embark on an amazing journey. It will include countless miles, early mornings, new friends, and plenty of finish lines! Take our advice for first-time runners and apply it to your journey!

Set a goal, find a training plan

Image of a runner posing in front of a 2020 Finisher backdrop after completing the 2020 KXAN Simple Health 5K. First-time runners should set a goal and find a corresponding training plan, like the free 5K training plan in this blog.One of the first things you want to do is set a goal. That could be a distance, a race, or a specific distance at a certain event. If you’re just starting out, an ideal goal race would be the Austin Half Marathon. The distance, 13.1 miles, is a great intro to the sport. Plus, you have plenty of time to follow this free half marathon training plan!

Set a larger goal and train for the Austin Marathon. Going from 0 to 26.2 is a great undertaking, but one that you can accomplish with help from this free marathon training plan. Want to begin with a smaller distance and get to the 3-block-long finish line festival before everyone else? Then the KXAN Simple Health 5K is right up your alley! The 5K distance is perfect if you don’t have that much time to train. Bonus points for getting friends and family to join you. Make sure you download this free 5K training plan and share it with whoever’s joining you.

Learn how to run your best

Running is simple, you put one foot in front of the other. But there are so many ways for you to run better and see improvement. Take proper care of your body, especially when you’re just beginning. Getting more sleep, taking time off, and hydrating properly are just a few of these 7 tips that’ll help you run your best!

Utilize these summertime tips

Summer heat saps everyone’s energy, most especially first-time runners. But you’re just starting out and are ready to keep running! Make sure you follow these summertime running tips to beat the heat like protecting yourself from the sun and learning why it’s important to adjust your running schedule.

Keep your motivation motor running

Image of runner from Mexico with his right arm flexed during the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. This blog post have tips for first-time runners, like how to be relaxed and run your best.Some times the motivation just isn’t there. The chances of skipping a run or missing a workout are higher with first-time runners. But you’re not alone! All runners face this dilemma. One of the best ways to keep your motivation level high is to find an accountability partner. This person will meet you early in the morning and make sure y’all complete the run. Yes, you guessed it, you’ll hold them accountable too! Here are 5 additional tips for staying motivated.

Tips for running in the rain

You might not know it yet, but running in the rain is an absolute treat! Just make sure you’re prepared so a fun run in the rain stays fun. These 7 tips will keep your training on track despite the weather. Just make sure you check the weather before you take off. Don’t run if there’s lightning!

Don’t miss your morning run

Getting up for your early morning run can be difficult, especially for first-time runners. Completing an early morning run really sets up the rest of your day nicely! But the battle with your alarm clock is real. This is the case for veteran runners too! Implement some or all of these 6 tips. They’ll help you get out the door for your morning run.

Long-run recovery timeline

You’re logging miles. Crushing your early morning run. Your weekend long runs are getting longer. What’s left? Learn how to properly recover from your long run with this recovery timeline. This long-run recovery timeline will help expedite the recovery process and help get you ready for whatever’s next!

This useful advice will help put first-time runners on the road to success. But if you’re returning from a long break or recovering from an injury, this information is just as beneficial. Get ready for an amazing running journey! Hey veterans, if there’s something that worked for you as a first-time runner let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Is There Really a Right Way to Run?

Go beyond the shoe and learn about the right way to run

Learning about the right way to run for yourself can make all the difference in the world. It can improve efficiency and reduce injury.  RunLab’s, Dr. Kimberly Davis breaks down the myth and the reality about the right way to run. She includes reasoning and how you can learn more about your running form. If you want to learn more or have an injury looked at, give RunLab a call today!

by: Kimberly Davis, RunLab

The Myth

There is a “right” way and a “wrong” way to run.

The Reality

There are many right and wrong ways to run, walk, and even squat. Your ideal way depends on your unique structure, range of motion, strengths, limiters, injury history, and goals. Seem like a lot to consider?! It is!

There are more runners and triathletes hitting the trails than ever and that, unfortunately, means more injury. Many studies estimate that upwards of 90% of runners will end up injured in any given year. Given the fact that millions upon millions of dollars have been spent on shoe design over the last 50 years, why are injury rates still the same, or even higher, than they ever were?

The answer? It’s not about the shoe.

Misinformation about running form

There is a lot of misinformation out there about running form. People constantly find their way into RunLab™ with stories about their struggles to “fix” their heel strike, run with higher cadence, get their “glutes to fire”, to “stop overpronating”, etc. But the problem lies in the fact that most of these runners have very little understanding of how their bodies are built. Despite their best intentions, they have even less idea why they are trying to change things, other than the fact that they read somewhere that what they are currently doing is “wrong.”

There are thousands of variables that go into a person’s ideal movement pattern. A person’s gait is as unique as their fingerprint! Furthermore, changing the way you move isn’t necessarily taking away the load. It simply means you are moving the load around to another area of the body that can be more, or sometimes less, equipped to handle that stress.

Movement analysis

This is where movement analysis comes into play and why it is vital to look at the full body both statically and in motion from multiple planes. It is important to understand the unique way you are built, your current range of motion, strengths and limiters, and the way your body has adapted to move through them.

Our brains are amazing at creating workarounds for even the slightest weakness. When we layer compensation pattern over compensation pattern (even as non-runners) for years, there is a lot that goes into unraveling the ball of biomechanical yarn. This is true for runners dealing with injury and uninjured runners looking to prevent injury or improve efficiency.

To illustrate the point, creating an increased range of motion in one area can create stability problems in another. This can cause that area to develop compensatory hypertonicity (tightness).

One common scenario we see in runners occurs when they have more flexible hamstrings than they think they do and constantly spend time stretching them, ignoring their hip flexors. Since most of us sit all day, the hip flexors can cause the pelvis to roll forward and pull on the (already flexible) hamstrings. This creates a perception of tightness which leads to, you guessed it, more stretching. Low back pain frequently results. This is one of a million examples but illustrates the way the body adapts and why we end up chasing pain in the wrong places for years if we don’t understand our unique underlying biomechanical picture.

Take-home message

If you don’t understand your unique structure, range-of-motion, strengths, and limiters, it is very easy to get pulled down the rabbit hole by the mountain of information from articles, underqualified “experts,” wearable technology, and your running friends who “read somewhere that you should run with your feet facing forward.”

Understanding your body should be the springboard to any good training plan and is vital to preventing injury. More importantly, this information arms you with the knowledge to decide which recommendations for “better form” are actually relevant to you.

And remember, shoes matter. But there isn’t a shoe in the world that can replace working on your biomechanics. The right shoes will aid your body’s ability to move naturally and as efficiently as it can in its current state. However, no amount of shoe technology can permanently solve for a weakness in the body.

Plantar Fasciitis: What to Know and How It Impacts Your Training

Ascension Seton’s Dr. Allen breaks down Plantar Fasciitis and its impact on runners

Plantar Fasciitis is an ailment that most runners will experience at some point in their life. Fortunately, there are many options for runners to overcome this injury. The most common symptom is pain in the heel. Typically this occurs in the morning and is aggravated during the push-off phase. Plantar Fasciitis is caused by the tightening and inflammation of the band of fascia (connective tissue) that connects the heel to the metatarsals. This tightening can be caused by a number of factors. One factor can be overly tight calf muscles that pull on the fascia under the foot. Treatment involves reducing inflammation, strengthening the muscles in the kinetic chain, and lengthening the fascia.

Build strength now so you can finish your race strong.

Preventative measures

It is important for all runners to build strength training into their schedule, especially if they’re training for their first marathon. Strength training has proven benefits like maintaining muscle mass throughout the lifespan, reducing injury risk, and improving running economy. Off-season strength training should lay the foundation for more sport-specific training throughout the competitive part of the season. When beginning a strength training program, high repetitions and low weight should be the primary focus. This helps build general strength. As training progresses functional strength is established. This eventually leads to an increase in weight and more advanced exercises like plyometrics and power-focused training at high velocities.

Exercises and recovery

Strength training exercises such as single-leg calf raises can be very beneficial for strengthening the kinetic chain above the foot, reducing the likelihood of developing Plantar Fasciitis. Additionally, runners should incorporate stretching into their training program. This can help avoid overly tight calf muscle that can aggravate Plantar Fasciitis. Foam rolling and traditional calf stretches are both effective for loosening these muscles. Runners can also use a golf ball or other similarly sized round object to roll out the fascia on the bottom of their feet. It is also important that runners wear comfortable running shoes and limit their mileage increases to less than 10% per week.

Don’t let Plantar Fasciitis derail your training and you’ll be all smiles at the finish line.

This advice is intended to be for educational purposes. It’s in no way intended to be a substitute for any treatment prescribed by a doctor. If you are concerned about pain caused by running, Ascension Seton’s team of Sports Medicine physicians will work with you to address your injury. Runners can contact them by calling 512-324-0177. Additionally, they’ll work with you to establish a strength training program to prevent and address your ongoing running injuries. If you are interested in learning more about a strength training program for runners email ascensionperformance@ascension.org

About Dr. Allen

Dr. Jakob Allen received his Doctoral training from the nationally ranked University of Texas at Austin. He was an 8x All-American collegiate swimmer at Stanford, American Record holder, NCAA and Pac-10 Champion, and 2x Olympic Trials qualifier. Dr. Allen is now an avid cyclist and triathlete, frequently placing in the top-5 overall amateurs in Central Texas triathlons. He is driven to bring about the greatest potential of all athletes whether you are a weekend warrior or an Olympian.

Dr. Allen currently serves as the Sports Scientist for the Austin Bold FC team in addition to his work in the clinic. He believes that exercise remains one of the best ways to improve every physiological system in the body throughout the lifespan. Whether it’s helping prevent changes in mental acuity or improving muscle function, the benefits of exercise continue to be supported by scientific studies. Dr. Allen specializes in designing exercise training programs for improving muscle and cardiovascular health for aging wellness and masters athlete performance.