With the London Marathon just a week away, the streets of the UK are full of runners making their final preparations for one of the country’s most exciting events!
But while tens of thousands of people will have spent the last six months pounding the pavements in all sorts of weather and following a strict nutrition plan – how many will take the good habits they’ve had to adopt into post-marathon life?
As part of its mission to help make health a habit of a lifetime, the experts behind lifestyle app Noom Coach have put together 10 ways to keep your marathon motivation: how to build on the great habits marathon training has got you into, and how to keep them in your life.
Fitness Advisor to Noom, Robert Brennan gives his top tips to post-marathon motivation:
1) Refuel and recover:
The immediate post-race period is critical as, if you neglect your body, you can feel so bad that your motivation will take a big hit.
Your muscular glycogen stores will be at an all-time low and these need to be replenished first with some guilt free carbs. Try to steer towards more slow energy release foods like brown rice and quinoa rather than sugar and confectionary so as to avoid a sugar rush.
You will need lots of protein to repair the muscle tissue broken down in the race, plenty of water to replenish fluids and loads of greens and healthy fats to reduce inflammation and boost recovery. Finally get a good night’s rest that first night; it’s the most important one for healing and do resist the temptation to have alcohol and a takeaway; it may seem appealing after the training but you will suffer for it.
2) Take a break
Take a few days off to thoroughly rest. Your body will be exhausted and you may well have toe nails to grow back and chaffing to sooth. A daily walk is always a great aid for recovery but perhaps leave it at that for a week or so. Keep fuelling your body with plenty of protein, veg and healthy fats. After 7 days or so go to a yoga class or have a swim to ensure you don’t lose the exercise habit.
3) Set a new goal
It’s far easier to stay motivated with a clear goal in mind, so set yourself a challenge straight away. Perhaps not as tough as a marathon initially, but enough to keep you driven while you think about the next big challenge. You could make it fun by doing a charity event with the added motivation of helping others.
4) Plan an active weekend away
Perhaps a hiking or other activity break a few weeks post marathon will help you stay motivated. You may think you never want to run again until you get outside and active again.
5) Get a training buddy
Statistically people who work out together stick at it for longer than those who go solo, so find a friend to workout with. If that’s difficult to organise, join a new group on your Noom Coach app to share your goals and experiences. This sense of community is what sets the Noom app apart.
6) Vary your routine
Your regular running plan will no longer be needed and a change may be just what you need. Keep those slots in your diary but try a new activity like boxing or a military style bootcamp, or even a team sport with a good social side.
7) Reward yourself
You’ve done amazingly well and that should not go unrecognised. But rather than treating yourself to something highly indulgent or bad for you, treat yourself to something fitness related like a new workout outfit or pair of trainers. Seeing your new gear in the wardrobe ready to be worn will help to kick-start motivation and get you out there exercising again.
8) Be proud of the physical benefits too
People often shy away from celebrating how great they look as a result of exercising. The chances are that you are in the best shape you’ve been in for a while, if not ever. Celebrate! Have an evening out in an outfit you feel great in. Maybe it’s one you’ve had in the wardrobe for years and haven’t dared to try on let alone wear, or it could be one you’ve had your eye on for a while and haven’t bought as you didn’t feel confident enough to wear it. You’ve just run a marathon, you are definitely worthy of a more daring outfit!
9) Get a great audio book
You probably already have a motivating playlist that has helped get you through many a tough run. But if you’re finding even that isn’t cutting it, try downloading a really great audio book. Getting to a really gripping part of a thriller, autobiography or even a motivational book itself, can mean carrying on exercising for that bit longer when you may previously have given up.
10) Remind yourself of the endless benefits to both body and mind
We all know exercise is good for us, but it’s easy to forget just how much of a positive impact it has on both our mental and physical wellbeing. If reading about all of these well documented benefits still doesn’t make you reach for your trainers, take a pen and paper and simply complete the following sentences:
‘When I exercise I feel…’
‘When I skip exercise I feel…’
This should serve as a reminder as you how great you feel when you do get out there and start moving.