If you’re a marathon runner in Canada, spring and summer are your months to shine. There are hundreds of races that take place across the country with thousands participating every year. This year, while some marathons may be cancelled, some are going virtual. Instead of all the participants meeting in one place at a certain time, everyone does the marathon individually at a location of their choosing. You sign up, pay your fee and choose your distance.  Signing up is the easy part. It’s the training that’s hard. We’ve got some tips to help you make a marathon training plan and stay motivated along the way.  

Make Goals for Your Marathon
The first thing we recommend is to set a goal. Having something you can work towards will keep you on track and motivated to keep pushing through your training. It could be a specific finishing time, aim to run the whole marathon without walking, or only walk for half. It should be ambitious to give yourself something to work towards, but also make sure it’s realistic.

Remind yourself of the goal during your training too. Put up little post-it notes in your house or car. Make a Pinterest board or set little reminders on your phone. Reminding yourself of what you want to accomplish will help you stay motivated.

Have a Marathon Training Plan & Schedule
You’ve got a goal – now make a plan! If you know the date of your marathon, try and work back from it with a marathon training schedule for each week. Choose areas and times of the day to run that work best for you.  Make sure you’re working your way up in intensity as you get closer to the big day. And have fun with it. Make a playlist for each week to keep training fun and enjoyable.

Change Up Your Running Routine
Boredom can hinder your motivation for training, especially if you’re doing the same thing over and over. Switch it up! Try peaceful scenic routes one week and a city background the next. Change the intensity too. Maybe one week it’s extreme hills and the following it’s an easier route. Even if it means driving to a different location – it will be worth it.

Don’t Forget About Mental Training
Marathon training can be just as stressful for the mind as it is for the body. When you’re doing it during a pandemic, it can cause even more anxiety. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re training your mind as well as your body.

Work on your self-talk. Practice positive inner dialogue – always pushing you forward rather than focusing on negative thoughts. Use visualization to help you stay focused on things you’re working towards, like crossing the finish line or finishing in record time. Most of all, make sure to remind yourself of what you’ve achieved along the way. Training for the marathon – virtual or not – is half the battle. Give yourself a mental pat on the back for how well you’re doing.

Get A Running Buddy
Try to find a friend to train with whether in real life or virtually! Send each other photos, video messages or updates about your training, or join an online community. It will help keep you on track and accountable for your training. If you’re training with someone in-person just make sure you’re practicing social distancing.

Always Follow COVID-19 Rules
Since the start of the pandemic, everything we do has to be done with COVID-19 in mind. If you’re feeling sick, don’t go out. Not only is it not good to push yourself when you’re not feeling well, you’re also a risk to others. If you’re running by other people, make sure you maintain social distancing. Bring your own hand sanitizer and water bottle and don’t touch crossing signals, handrails, benches or signs.

Training for a marathon takes a lot of dedication, especially when you’re dealing with a pandemic. We hope these tips will help keep you motivated, healthy and reaching your marathon goals this season. But remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and living well! Interested in signing up for a virtual race? Check out the 2020 GMS Queen City Marathon taking place throughout the entire month of September.