Training for a marathon is often one of the biggest physical challenges a person ever takes on. Granted, some people are simply built for distance running and have an easier time with it than others. But even experienced runners have to make a real effort to get ready for this kind of event. The physical aspects of increasing your running endurance are difficult enough, but more often than not motivational concerns come into play also. Because this is a lengthy training process in addition to being a difficult one, it can be easy to lapse or abandon the process entirely somewhere along the way.

To help you avoid this common problem, we have a few suggestions for marathon training motivation.

Forget Your Scale

If you’re considering a marathon because you want to lose weight, you may want to pick a different challenge altogether. Many people actually gain weight while training for marathons, for various reasons, even as they get in better running shape, and in some cases look leaner. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you think there’s any chance it could discourage you, you may want to lock your scale away, or remove its batteries, for the duration of your training. You don’t want to make it two months in, see that you’ve gained two pounds, and decide it’s not worth it – particularly given that some of that weight is likely muscle mass!

Schedule A Second Long-Distance Run

This is a sneaky little trick you can play on yourself, and it can help you to coast right through the first milestone with relative ease. If you plan a single marathon – or half-marathon, triathlon, or whatever it may be – you’ll have a feeling, mentally, of having to build up to and clear a single hurdle. You’ll feel that you can relax immediately after, and along with this you may decide that even if you’re not in optimal shape for it, you can probably push through a single event with sheer perseverance. Setting aside that marathons don’t typically work that way, scheduling a second event to follow the first gives you more incentive to truly get in shape for it, and stay that way.

Make A Bet

Every now and then there’s a story about someone achieving a fitness goal by way of a bet – sometimes even with a professional bookmaker. This is a bit of a long shot, but you can always compare offers and read in-depth reviews of bookies online and try to find one that will take an independent bet. You never know when one will be willing. Alternatively, you can find a way to place a more playful wager with a friend or family member. The important thing is just that you have something on the line aside from the satisfaction of completing a marathon. For a lot of people, this added element of competition can result in a great deal of training energy.

Train At The Race Location

Training in general will boost your strength and stamina and give you the confidence that you can handle a long-distance run, and potentially a whole marathon. Inevitably though, things will feel differently once the marathon actually starts. The route and terrain may be unfamiliar, there may be more hills than you expected, etc. So if possible, consider trading at the race location. That way you can actually measure your progress i na way that directly relates to the race, and gain the confidence that you can handle that specific course on the day of.

Use A Buddy

Lastly, there’s the tried and true method of finding a workout buddy. Marathon training or otherwise, this is a great way to motivate yourself to keep training. When it’s not just you, it’s easier to get out and do the work. Plus, someone else is depending on you for the same motivation!