Staying Motivated During Your Training Cycle

by Brandi Gilbert
Winter has hit HARD lately. With absolute frigid temps blasting most of the country over the past few weeks, winter is in full swing for sure. It is now officially the season that so many runners fall off their training schedules. Face it, between the cold winter days and countless other reasons, our motivation for running and training can easily be destroyed this time of the year. 
With race day coming up in less than three months, I don't want all my hard work to go to waste, so I am making sure that I stay motivated and on track. My hopes are to focus, stay accountable, and get through these next few months successfully. I want to be ready to crush my goals with these following tips and tricks for staying motivated with training.  
Fresh New Gear
If you are like me, there is nothing like fresh gear to get you out the door and running those miles. There is one piece of gear I recommend replacing to give yourself some motivation, it is definitely your running shoes. Your shoes are hands down the most important piece of running gear you will have! As with any new running shoe you try, I recommend getting fitted at a local running store or at least trying them on in person first. Now is the time to get fitted and find that find the perfect ride to carry you across the bridges of Pittsburgh.
One of my absolute FAVORITE new ways to treat yourself to fresh gear is the recently launched P3R Ready.Set.MOVE. subscription box. Subscribers will receive a box packed with awesome health and fitness goodies every quarter (January, April, July, and October). I don't want to ruin the surprise, but I just received my first Ready.Set.MOVE. box and it was AMAZING!  It was so fun opening a box of surprises and checking out all the great gear that was delivered right to my doorstep.  
From apparel and accessories to fuel and more, there was a bit of everything in there. Some subscription boxes leave a lot to be desired, but you can tell that the P3R team takes great pride in making Ready.Set.MOVE. something that runners and fitness enthusiasts actually want to use. The next Ready.Set.MOVE. box will be mailed in April — just in time for race weekend — so be sure to check it out and reserve yours today. 
Training Groups & Running Buddies
When training, nothing is better than the support of others. Since everyone in your life might not totally understand what exactly you are working towards, working with training groups or finding running buddies is an excellent way to get support from other runners and stay accountable.  
I absolutely love running with my friends! Not only does running together give us quality time together, it is also a great accountability tool to help make sure that miles get logged.  Sometimes you might hit a mental block and try to find a reason to bow out of a run, but if you know your running partner is depending on you to be there, your tune definitely changes.  Having a running buddy gives you someone to help push you a little more, and of course, celebrate your accomplishments along the way.
If you are training for the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon or UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon and live locally, be sure to check out training runs with Steel City Road Runners to help get you ready to become a Runner of Steel in May!  
Even if you don't live in the Pittsburgh area (like me), there are still many other great running groups that you can join. Check out your local running club, Moms Run This Town or even Facebook groups to find group runs or great words of encouragement and advice.   
P3R Official Virtual Training Program Powered by Zwift
Group runs aren't for everyone. Some runners simply enjoy running solo and even the "social runners" just enjoy time to themselves — or have other reasons to run solo. No matter if solo runs are planned or forced as you train, the team at P3R and Zwift have a great solution to help you stay motivated and accountable even when training solo.
The P3R Official Virtual Training Program powered by Zwift gamifies your experience and connects you with other runners from all over the world. Now even when you are running solo on your treadmill, you can join real-life training partners who can keep you motivated and help you stick to your training plan. Best of all?  It is FREE!
Visit to learn all the details and get started today! 
Track Your Progress & Celebrate
Training for a race is hard work, so be sure to celebrate and have fun! There are a lot of different ways to reward yourself occasionally throughout training. For example, treat yourself to a new running shirt if you have stayed on track with training for a month, go relax with a massage after 100 miles, or even stash a dollar per mile in a special jar to have some spending cash for your next race expo (you will be amazed to watch the jar fill up).
One of my favorite ways to visualize my training/mileage is through a simple marble system.  Start with your monthly goal mileage in one jar and a “miles ran” empty jar to fill with those marbles.  After each run, move the number of marbles that correspond with your mileage to the "miles ran" jar.  As the month goes on, watch one jar empty while the other one fills up! 
You can also do this with other goals such as number of days you ran this month, days cross-trained, days a water intake goal was met, etc. No matter what your goal is, having something visible that you see every day makes you more apt to make it happen and then celebrate those goals.
Get Rewarded with DICK's Sporting Goods
Whoever said that running is an inexpensive sport obviously has not seen my running expenditures recently. From running shoes every three months and clothes to night gear and all those other must haves, the costs can add up for sure!  
What if you could earn DICK's Sporting Goods reward certificates just for getting your steps in each day and going on your training runs? That is right, you can earn free rewards certificates just for doing the things that you are already doing! MOVE is a feature on the DICK’S Sporting Goods app that lets runners sync their activity trackers to earn points to cash in for rewards.  
Each day that you complete at least one of the following "goals," you receive three reward points. After 300 points accumulated through MOVE and/or shopping at DICK'S Sporting Goods with your ScoreCard, you receive a $10 rewards certificate! Nothing beats free running gear, right?
Ready to get started? Here are four easy steps to get set up and on your way to earning some Dick's Sporting Goods Rewards.
  1. Download the DICK’S Sporting Goods App and open the MOVE feature
  2. Sync your activity tracker account to MOVE
  3. Get up and MOVE to score points toward your ScoreCard balance
  4. Cash in points to earn Rewards
Click here for more information about the DICK’S Sporting Goods app and the MOVE program.
Cross Training
Most runners know that cross-training is important — almost as important as logging your miles.  If you find different cross training routines that are beneficial AND fun, you will be more likely to do them, right? Sometimes mixing things up a bit is just what I need.
While I simply tolerate my weight circuit days, I REALLY enjoy going to my weekly HIIT training and yoga. These are some of the days that I most look forward to on my schedule. Each day of cross training is important to your marathon or half marathon training. Remember, your body is like a car and has a lot of different parts that makes it move better and faster.  
Try out some different classes at your local gym or check out your local running store or club for "yoga for runners" nights. You never know where you might fall in love with something new to add to your schedule!
Yes, it can be hard to keep your training on track at times, but by planning ahead you can also balance your training schedule with life. Set your goals, make your plan, work hard, have fun and make it happen! I am excited to follow along with everyone's training progress as well as sharing my own over the next three months.
Visit the ‘Burgh Blog each month for more training tips and tricks from Brandi Gilbert and the other 2019 Official Bloggers! You can also follow along as Brandi trains for the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon on her blog Funner Runner
Brandi Gilbert
2018 Official Blogger

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