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5 Ways to Stay Motivated in Training for an Upcoming Race

I've been asked by several friends recently on how I stay motivated in achieving my fitness/weight loss goals. So here is my answer in 5 easy and relatively inexpensive steps.

1. REGISTER FOR A RACE

For Greg and I, we are on a tight budget with little wiggle room. So the financial aspect of registering for a race is a huge motivating factor for us. If we set aside and save money for a race, by golly we will train for it, because these suckers {especially the half marathons/marathons} aren't cheap. 
Hayden and I after I ran my first 5k

2. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUPPORT

I would have given up a long time ago if it were not for the support that I have received, especially from my family members. They have been/ plan to be at every race that I am scheduled to run this year. I cannot begin to describe how much it means to me to cross the finish line and almost immediately receive the praise of my family. Just seeing them on the sidelines cheering you on is enough to keep me going. 
I know that everyone may not be as fortunate as I am when it comes to the support of their family, so here are a few other ways to gain the support and encouragement you need while in training for an upcoming race. 
Join an online running group such as Daily Mile. Not only can you track your training progress with Daily Mile, but you can befriend other runners not only in your area, but throughout the country. I have made several friends this way and let me tell you, there is a wealth of knowledge out there- which comes in handy for a beginner like me.
You can also join a local running group or perhaps find a mentor. 
My Uncle Larry is my unofficial mentor. He has run a number of marathons and it seems that whenever the entire family is together, I am bombarding him with questions or asking for advice on a variety of running related topics. He has been a great resource for me as a runner.
I have also befriend other bloggers like Sarah and Jamie who are runners as well. I love keeping in touch with them as they train for various races and these two ladies have been a tremendous support system for me. Sarah recently moved to Hawaii and I am trying to convince my husband that we need to pay her a visit and run a half marathon together next year. Wouldn't that be awesome!

3. SET REALISTIC GOALS

I have to stop and remind myself constantly that my body has changed and cannot perform the way it used to  when I was in high school and college. So be flexible- especially in the beginning. You may find that you need to tweak your goals throughout your training. And that is Okay. Don't beat yourself up over it because if you do, you'll likely get discouraged and quit. And no one wants that.

4. IT'S OKAY TO SPLURGE ON GEAR

If it helps to keep you motivated, and you can afford it, then I do not see a problem with splurging on gear every now and then. Greg and I usually add it to our birthday wish list, which is generally when we will get new running accessories. I don't know about you, but I always feel better about myself in new running gear :)

5. HAVE FUN!

It's hard to stay motivated to do ANYTHING if you are not enjoying yourself. 
If you have recently hit a fitness/weight loss goal- reward yourself with a new outfit. It will keep you on the right track and you will look fabulous in your new wardrobe!
If you have a competitive spirit like my husband and I do- create a friendly challenge. 
I had a friend in college whose Dad offered her $500 if she reached her weight loss goal by a certain deadline. And you know what- she did it! Now it seems like every time I turn around, she is running another marathon. 
There are a number of ways to get creative and have fun while you are training for an upcoming race. But the key is to find something that works well for YOU. What motivates me to stick with my fitness program may not motivate you at all and vice versa. You are the only one who will be able to determine what it will take to keep you motivated. These are just a few things that have worked well for me. 
I hope you found this helpful! Happy Racing! 

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