Motivation For Marathon Training | Tips to Help You PR Faster

Motivation for marathon training has ebbs and flows. You will definitely be challenged training for your marathons. That being said, a proper build up will help you to set a new personal best. Remember, the fitter you get and the faster you run the more motivated you will be.

One minute you fired up and the next having a hard time getting out the door. My top recommendation is to spend at least 4 weeks running easy. It is vital to strengthen the body, ligaments, muscles, joints and ligaments prior to running at faster paces. I also think pool running is a great alternative to land running.

motivation for marathon training

Achievement in this sport comes from an unwavering commitment to succeed. Remember, the body takes between 21 days to 4 weeks to adapt to any stress load being placed on it.

So, it doesn’t matter if you are a 6 hour marathoner or trying to break the 2:20.00 barrier. Adaptation only occurs if there is sufficient time for the body to recover.

You have to have the motivation for marathon training if you want run faster in this event. I have created training plans and running courses here to help speed up your learning. Also, to help you bypass the mistakes that many other runners are making.

We all have a choice as to how good we want to become in this sport.

Marathon preparation can be taught but it is up to the runner how disciplined he or she wants to be.

How Do I Motivate Myself to Train for a Marathon?

You have to continue to remind yourself of what you are training for. What is your goal? Is it to break the 4 hour marathon? What about the sub 3 hour marathon? Yes, there will be times when you will want to quit. Also, you may experience times where you question if you are really a marathoner.

In fact, I remember the many failures I had a long the way trying to better my own marathon performances.

It was tough.

I trained for nearly 7 years in Colorado at high altitudes and most of the time alone.

I wanted to break 2:22.00 for the marathon distance when I was still a 2:43.36 athlete.

It was a massive amount of time and dedication spent trying to achieve a very difficult goal and no one held my hand through it.

What Would Motivate You to Run a Marathon?

As mentioned above, I had a time goal in mind that I wanted to achieve. In addition, to compete in the Olympic Trials was also a goal of mine. I did achieve a 2008 USA Track and Field Olympic Trials “A” standard time in the marathon. The problem was I achieved it 28 days after the Olympic Trials were held.

You may want to seek out a training group to train with. There are major benefits in training with a group. Your friends can help you maintain stability and hold you accountable.

Have you ever done a 20-mile long run at or near the pace you want to hold in the marathon by yourself? I have. It was much easier with someone else than it will be by yourself. Of course, you will not always have this luxury. So, there will be times where your motivation for marathon training will stem from your goals.

Also, training with a group can benefit runners in that it makes hitting specific paces easier. In addition, the miles seem to go much faster and the run is over with quicker as well.

In addition, you are not thinking as much about the pace you are aiming to hit but keeping up with the group.

What Can I Say to Encourage a Marathon Runner?

I would remind the athlete of the goals he or she has. Also, to remind them the importance of mental training. The vast majority of runners only focus on physical training. How often have you paid attention to mental preparation? Remember, we have to train the mind just as we train the body.

Also, our goals start in the mind first. So, start spending at least 10 minutes per day using visualization. In addition, see yourself crossing the finish line with your goal marathon time. It is also important to routinely see yourself passing people, running relaxed and sustaining your goal pace.

In addition, I would share some strategies to help them run more efficiently in the race. For example, doing longer tempo runs. Also, running faster, varied paced long runs. Remember, the faster we run the more fast twitch muscle fibers we will recruit. So, the more of these we can recruit the more efficient we are going to run.

Also, drafting off of other runners where you actually work less is a smart tactic to use in the marathon.

Is 30 Miles a Week Enough for Marathon Training?

Yes, 30 miles a week for most runners is sufficient to train for a marathon. Of course, the faster time you are aiming for the higher your mileage may need to go. Remember, the focus should always be on quality versus quantity. Yes, you can run high mileage but there is no guarantee that higher mileage will help you set a new personal best.

Have you ever been in a race and someone was trying to draft off of you?

This is certainly a wise technique. That being said, it can irritate other runners.

Haile Gebressalassie did this at the London Marathon drafting off Patrick Makau. Patrick was the former world record holder for the marathon. He started zig-zagging across the road due to what Haile was doing. He was clearly trying to test Haile, see if he could react or not.

Is 3 Months Enough to Prepare for a Marathon?

Yes, 12 weeks is the minimum time frame I would suggest training for the marathon. Of course, a longer build up is always better. In fact, the most optimal time frame is between 20 to 24 weeks. I have also created marathon training plans here that range in duration from 8 to 24 weeks. So, you have some options here.

Motivation for marathon training comes down to your own commitment. If you are just interested perhaps running for fun is best. That being said, if you have a specific time goal in mind, specific training will be required.

The great thing about races is that you can find someone to run with. This will take a huge burden off most runners and will help you in the race. That being said, there will be times where you will find yourself alone as well.

I have been in countless races over the years where I was in the middle stages of a marathon totally alone.

What Do Marathon Runners Focus On?

A lot of times we focus on our goals. In addition, running more economical (efficient) so that we expend less energy. Also, we focus on running a negative split. Remember, you never want to try to win this race in the first mile. There are far too many runners who go out too fast. So, aim to run faster in the second half of your marathon.

My last serious attempt at the marathon distance came in November of 2011 at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Furthermore, I was trying to run more conservative than I did when I broke 2.20.

I was three seconds off my personal half-marathon record through the half-marathon point (1:07:09) when I ran 2.19.35. Additionally,  I had company that day through the 21 mile mark and it helped tremendously.

Indianapolis was different.

I let the leaders spin their wheels and it took me 10 miles (hit in 53:31) to catch up to them. I ran by myself from mile 1 to when I caught up to the lead Kenyans.

Find the courage and mental fortitude in your training so that you will be able to handle being uncomfortable come race day.

You will not be intimidated by running alone if you have to because you have prepared for this in training.

That being said, having the group to race with will only make your overall race experience that more beneficial.

qualifying time for boston marathonWhat is the Best Advice Run a Marathon?

What you are doing in training on your own is learning to deal with being uncomfortable with no outside help.

Why is this so important?

Think of how much easier your race pace will feel when you have other athletes around you. So, if you can learn to hit specific paces by yourself it will be much easier with outside help. Also, I would focus on running the tangents in your race. So, the goal is to run the least amount of distance you need to.

It is certainly wise to take heed to the drafting technique. That being said, respect the runners you are competing against and don’t simply use them for your own benefit. Share some of the effort.

I always prepare at extreme levels in training so I can create my own outcome come race day. You are not always going to be able to rely on other runners when going for a personal best.

There are going to be times when you have to take some risks and have to do the work yourself.

Does it always work?


There are times you are going to do everything right in training and still miss the goal.

What Should Your Longest Run Be Before a Marathon?

I think the longest long run you should do for a marathon is between 18 to 23 miles in length. In addition, I do think there is a point of diminished returns occurs the longer you run.

You either have two choices. Sit back and wonder what can be done and do something about it or live the rest of your life in regret having not tried at all.

Failure in this sport is not the end. Far too many runners second guess themselves and their ability when they don’t see results fast enough. It is important to remain patient. It takes time for the body to adapt to any stress load you place upon it.

The best marathon runners in the world have suffered setbacks.

Haile Gebressalassie ran 10 kilometers to and from school for ten years.

The event is glorified while the process it took to reach it is forgotten.

People don’t just become great at anything.

There has to be an immense dedication and motivation for marathon success or anything else for that matter.

You have to love it.

Haile is arguably the best runner the world has ever seen but he also had the willingness and motivation for marathon training that few use.

You do not have talent, that is fine. You were born with commitment – Seth Godin

He has failed as well as had a few DNF’s.

The problem with the world is that the faster you get, the more achievements you collect, the more others expect of you.

How Many Days Should I Rest Before Marathon?

I believe in a 10-day rather than a 3-week taper. One of the biggest mistakes many runners make is they start dropping intensity and volume too soon. So, the result is that many runners feel tired and lethargic. 10 days is plenty of time to recover from the hard training that you have done.

This is a sport where no one can give you fulfillment but yourself. Marathon training demands a great deal of the athletes mental and physical energy.

You have to give it your all or you are always going to wonder what could have been.

The important thing to do is simply give it everything you have. Do not live with any regrets.

To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift – Steve Prefontaine


Your willingness to persist in the face of trials, setbacks and frustration is going to make the difference between achieving your end goal or wallowing in mediocrity.

The running community confuse mediocrity with being slow and not measuring up to the world’s elite runners.

Mediocre is not giving your best effort and living with the knowledge that you simply didn’t care enough.

You want to run a specific time but aren’t willing to hurt and endure long enough to see it through.

I want to see a 6 hour marathoner break 4 hours.

I love getting emails from people who have told me they made a breakthrough in their running by following my training plans.

A man I coached dropped nearly an hour and half off his marathon best.

I have another athlete who has dropped 15 minutes off his half-marathon best.

Closing Thoughts

Wanting to do something is not enough.

We all would like to run faster and be fitter. That being said, we can easily get comfortable with where we are in life too.

We seek out security in our daily lives in running and outside of running.

The magic starts to happen when you get away from the comfort zone and becoming better friends with pain.

Get out of the comfort zone.

Resistance and procrastination are the enemy. Make sure to subscribe to our RunDreamAchieve YouTube Channel. I’ll be creating new videos each week to help you run faster from the 5K to the marathon.

Find your motivation for marathon training and use it to the maximum.

I look forward to reading about your future success and breakthroughs.

I hope this post on motivation for marathon training has been helpful to you. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new content there each week to help runners like you get to the next level in their training and racing. 

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