Marathon Motivation: How to Stay Inspired While Training for a Race

Marathon Motivation: How to Stay Inspired While Training for a Race

Laurie head shotPosted by Laurie Fanelli, guest blogger

I believe anyone can run a marathon as long as they complete their training, particularly if it’s recommended by expert runners like Hal Higdon. At some point, everyone hits “the wall” that makes you feel like your legs no longer work, but there are several fun and easy ways to inject your training with a dose of motivation to meet your goal of completing those 26.2 miles.

Participants running a marathon.

Training for a marathon is hard work, but there are several easy ways to stay motivated during the process. Take a look at these tips for training success!

Perfect Playlist

The quickest, easiest way to add some fresh enthusiasm to your mileage is to update your running playlist. Put on songs that make you happy and encourage you to get moving. Whether you like rock, country, EDM, or top 40 pop, there are a ton of great tunes out there that are music to your ears and motivation for your legs. Some of my favorite songs to run to are “Stronger” by Kanye West, “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen, and anything from Rage Against the Machine.

New Gear


Sore legs and aching knees can make it difficult and discouraging to get your run in, but it might just be time for a new pair of running shoes. I tend to stick with the same brand every purchase to reduce the likelihood of blisters—which can occur when adjusting to a new model—but a fresh pair of shoes can be still an exciting checkpoint in your training. New footwear helps me feel bouncier and more energetic as I log those long runs. It might just be a mental side-effect, but deep into marathon training, everything helps!

A Change of Scenery


Changing your running route is a fun way to reinvigorate your training and explore your local community. MapMyRun is a great tool for planning a session in advance; simply enter your starting address and click to extend your run to different points of your course. The site updates the distance of your run with each new click, ensuring you hit your desired mileage for the day. You can also look for a local forest preserve or community path that is already mapped out with specific trails and mile markers. If you’re not sure where to begin, check in at your local running store and ask for some advice.


As you get deeper into training for the big race, your muscles can tighten up and your mind can grow anxious. Yoga is a great way to offset these training deterrents by keeping your legs loose and your head focused. Whereas the meditative qualities of yoga often carry into your daily run—allowing you to still your mind for the task at hand—the physical aspects of the practice will help heal your muscles and prevent injuries after tough workouts.

Run for Charity

Signing up to run for charity is my favorite way to stay motivated when training for a long race; you’re no longer the only person involved in the often solitary activity of distance running. Instead, a great organization is cheering you on and counting on you to complete each mile.

When I was training for a half-marathon a few years ago, I raised money for the South West Special Recreation Association (SWSRA). If I was having an off day or didn’t feel like getting out the door, I thought about the SWSRA participants counting on me to represent for their organization—and all of my family, friends, and coworkers who donated to SWSRA in support of my training. On race day, the added encouragement ended up propelling me to a personal best finishing time and one of the most rewarding races I have ever run. is a great resource for finding the perfect organization for your cause.

If you’re interested in running a race but don’t know where to begin, check out Hal Higdon’s tips for beginners, and lace up. What are some of the ways you stay motivated in your fitness routine? Leave us a comment or send us a #GoodMatters tweet!

Image sources: Laurie Fanelli

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.