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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.

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.

Train with Fleet Feet to Run Your Strongest Austin Marathon

Take Austin Marathon weekend to the next level when you train with Fleet Feet

Whether you’re registered for the 2022 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon or the KXAN Simple Health 5K, training with a group can be one of the most rewarding parts of your running journey. Groups provide camaraderie, friendship, and accountability that can help you achieve more than you might on your own. Check out all the benefits you’ll experience Austin Marathon weekend when you train with Fleet Feet. 

Go further together when you train with Fleet Feet.

“There’s nothing quite like a training group when you’re getting ready for a race,” says Kate Schwartz, a Fleet Feet runner in Asheville, NC. “My fellow runners and I really bond over our shared miles and tough workouts. We’re there to motivate each other and celebrate once the hard work is over. In my experience, training with a group is more fun and more meaningful than training alone.”

To help you tap into the “special sauce” of group training this year, Fleet Feet stores around the country will host marathon, half marathon, and 5K training groups specifically for Austin Marathon weekend. Training begins in November and December, depending on your race distance and store location. 

Plus, with a Fleet Feet VIP Austin Marathon weekend package, you get special access to race weekend perks, discounts, and exclusive merchandise that you can experience with all your newly-made running friends. Still not convinced? Here are three reasons to train with Fleet Feet.

Running friends are your best friends

A 2014 study confirmed the statement that “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Specifically, the study identified that shared pain brings people together. While this may sound extreme, its application to running makes sense. When we push each other through tough workouts (like Schwartz describes above), that experience helps us stick together. 

Train with Fleet Feet experience Austin Marathon weekend like never before.

What’s more, when it comes to long-distance training, the long run serves as some of the best intentional conversation time we can have. Especially when we run without headphones or other distractions. Runners say that these miles have a big impact on their lives.

“Several of my longest and most fruitful friendships have been molded over the course of many shared miles,” says Ari Perez of Fleet Feet Austin, who spearheaded Fleet Feet’s local partnership with the Austin Marathon. “Something about the shared challenge and humility brought forth by the fatigue of countless miles—it’s difficult to replicate but easy to understand by those who share in the experience. And that, to me, is the beauty of running.”

The group provides accountability

When our schedules are jam-packed or we’re exhausted, it can be hard to get motivated. And that’s OK. Meeting a group provides the built-in motivation we need to get in our first step. And, when we find ourselves grumbling about the work ahead, it’s helpful to know that others are there with us. 

In this blog about accountability from RUNGRL x Fleet Feet, two friends discuss how regularly running together helps them stay on top of their goals. 

Group running can make us happier and more connected

There hasn’t been as much social interaction due to the pandemic. Spending time outdoors with others elevates our mood and helps us find meaning, connection, and contentment. According to a leader in loneliness research, Dr. Julianne Holt-Lumstad, who spoke with Fleet Feet for a podcast all about how our running community can help us live longer, feeling a part of a group also helps you live longer. And it’s hard to beat that science.