Inspiration Helps Drive Runners

Rob MacKenzie, a member of the PEI running community and Board Member of the Prince Edward Island Marathon, is writing a series of articles for The Guardian Newspaper on a variety of running related topics. Have a read through his articles for some up-beat motivation and funny stories to keep you on your toes, pun intended, as you prepare for your race at the upcoming BMO Nesbitt Burns Prince Edward Island Marathon Race Weekend!

Monday, September 15, 2014

At this year’s Boston Marathon, an American male runner crossed the finish line first.  The last time that happened was 31 years earlier.  Meb Keflezighi (Meb), an Eritriean-born American, was deeply affected by the previous year’s terror attacks and made it his mission to win the 2014 Boston Marathon.  He knew that at 38 years of age and having a slower marathon PB  than many of his competitors, that a win would be highly improbable, but not impossible.

Meb’s goal, although lofty, was achievable based on his past results at similar races. His motivation was the 4 four people killed by Boston bombers.  When he crossed the finish line, he showed the back of his bib to a journalist that was interviewing him and on it was written the names of the four people killed.  In interviews he said that every day that he trained he thought of the people killed and injured at the 2013 Marathon. He wanted to honor them and his country by running his best race ever.

Meb is an excellent example of goal setting and how to stay motivated for your big run.  Whether it be the full marathon, or your first 5K here are some basics to keep you on track for the next 5 weeks leading up to PEI Marathon weekend, October 17-19.:

  • Make your goal achievable and realistic but don’t be scared to stretch a bit. Use past experience and current ability as benchmarks. Have a stretch goal, a highly likely to achieve goal, and a fallback goal just in case race day is just not your day or the weather does not cooperate.
  • Write down your goal(s) and place them in a visible place where you can see them. Now tell your friends and family what your running goal(s) are.  These people will help hold you accountable to your goal.
  • Register now for PEI Marathon weekend! Whether you run, walk, or wheel; by committing and putting out some cash, you’ll be extra motivated to get the training in.
  • Life can get hectic and sickness and injuries can wreak havoc on a training plan. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments based on what life is throwing at you.
  • You should feel a personal connection to your goal. Find meaning in what you are undertaking.
  • On race day when the going gets tough, think back to your training and why you are out there on the road running.  Remind yourself of the sacrifice’s you and maybe your family had to make for your training.

Stan Chaisson, the course record holder of the PEI Marathon (2 Hours,32 min., 59 sec.) looks inward for his motivation, “it’s the individual challenge of always trying to improve physically, but more importantly, the mental benefits, peace and relaxation that come with running. It’s always nice to have time to reflect, relax and breathe and running is a great way to do this.”

Personally, when I am training I use most of the above-mentioned tricks and they usually work. Sometimes though, training can get tough, so I literally have a trick in my back pocket. It’s a picture of me I keep in my wallet. This picture was taken approximately 18 years ago when I was at the beach and weighed over 240 lbs.  On days my motivation is lacking, I look at that picture and remind myself of the promise I made to myself: never again.

To recap; pick a realistic goal, write it down, tell people, and find a personal connection to your endeavour.  For extra motivation, remember this quote from  one of the greatest coaches of all time: “Do or do not. There is no try.”  Yoda – Star Wars.

~Rob MacKenzie



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