How to avoid succumbing to ‘National Quitters Day’

Picture of a runner completing the Chicago Marathon

We all love to set ourselves a New Year’s resolution, and the vast majority of the time it centres around exercise or fitness goals. According to figures on New Year’s resolutions, only 9% of Americans that set them, actually complete the goal they set out to achieve. In the UK, 40% of people who set resolutions make them exercise-related. But by the second Friday of January, National Quitters Day comes around…

National Quitters Day aims to highlight the day that most resolutions are failed, whilst encouraging people to carry on chasing their goals. If you have a half marathon or marathon planned for this year and don’t want to succumb to quitting, here’s our top tips on how to stay motivated…

Photo of a woman encouraging runners from the roadside of the Dublin Marathon 2019, drawing parallels to National Quitters Day
Although a time may be your end goal when you complete an event, focusing on times too early in your training can demotivate you. [Source: Marathon Tours & Travel]

Focus on distances not times

Your end goal when taking part in a half marathon or a marathon may be a particular time, but this is not always the best way to start your training or preparation. Even if you are an experienced runner or a first-time athlete, you’re at risk of succumbing to National Quitters Day and not being able to hit your target at the beginning of your plan. The best way to hit that target is to make it your end goal. Depending on the length of your regime, tailor the way you train train so as to increase your distances incrementally. From there, you will notice your times gradually improve as your body becomes better at dealing with what it is being asked to do and you will see your average times per kilometre/mile decrease.

Do more than just running!

This might feel like strange advice to be offering from a Marathon company, but it is incredibly important for your mental and physical wellbeing to vary your exercise regime if you want to beat National Quitters Day. For example, strength training provides your body with the physical resilience you will need in the latter stages of a marathon and for the recovery afterwards. In addition to improving your physicality, the switch-up in activity will also keep your mind fresh, allowing you to lock in when your event finally comes around. Marathon Tours & Travel offer a number of training camps that offer tailored training for running events, with a diverse range of facilities and activities to enhance your performance.

Reward yourself as you achieve goals

Many people assume that when training for half marathon and marathon events that you should only reward yourself once the end goal has been completed and that you should abstain from all rewards and treats during your training. This is just not true! One of the easiest ways to motivate yourself is to reward yourself with something you love when you reach a goal in your training. For example, if you reach 10km in your training, do something you love – whether it’s socialising, having a nice meal or an alcoholic drink or a snack. These incremental rewards will motivate you beyond National Quitters Day as you continue to push towards your end goal and will break up the perceived monotony that training can sometimes feel like.

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