Six ways to stay motivated when you're running the London Marathon

Marathon runners often dub race day ‘the victory lap.’

After months of training come rain or shine, it’s finally time to get to that finish line.

But no matter how hard you’ve worked, it can still be hard to stay motivated for every mile of that very long run.

In just over a week, the TCS London Marathon will see athletes from across the world attempt to tackle the 26.2 mile race.

Christian Allen is the product expert at Runners Need. He says that while race day can be ’emotional’, runners still need to stay focused.

He said, ‘There can still be moments where you need an extra burst of motivation to spur you on, and the good news is, there are lots of tactics which can help.’

Here, Christian shares his top tips on how to stay keep going, right until you get that all important finishers medal.

Remember your ‘why’

Many runners raise money for charity during traning, which Christian says is a great motivator.

He said: ‘If there comes a point in the race when you’re struggling to continue, my number one tip is to try to remember why you signed up to take part in the first place.

‘Are you raising money for charity? Or perhaps you wanted to improve your fitness levels and see what your body is capable of?

‘Digging deep and reminding yourself of these reasons when times get tough will help to get you through.’

Enjoy the atmosphere

The London marathon course is lined with people cheering, singing and performing – soaking it all in will keep you going.

Christian said: ‘Big race events can sometimes feel like a mini festival or event. Often there are musicians and drummers around the course, not to mention swarms of supporters.

‘They can help to take your mind off things if you’re starting to tire or pain sets in.’

Write your name on your running top

Christian said: ‘Nothing gives you a motivational boost like hearing strangers in the crowd cheering you on during the race.’

You can be cheap iron on transfers or use a good old black felt tip pen to make sure people know who you are.

Christian said: ‘Hearing your name being shouted and knowing you’ve got their support can be hugely uplifting.’


The finish line can feel out of reach when you’re on mile 16 and ready to give up, but that’s where visualising comes in.

Christian said: ‘Imagining yourself at the finish line and how you’ll feel when you get there.

‘It can also be a good idea to give yourself something to look forward to at the end too, whether it be a celebratory drink down the pub or a well-earned meal with friends and family.’

Pick a power playlist

Christian said: ‘Put together a motivational playlist full of your favourite upbeat songs to switch on when you’re needing an extra push.

‘Some people sometimes like to get their friends and family to record messages which they slot in between tracks which can also help to inspire.’

Play mind games

Splitting the course into smaller sections can help the challenge seem more manageable.

Christian said: ‘It can often seem less daunting when you’re running something like a marathon to split the route up into a couple of mile chunks rather than knowing you’ve still got another 16.2 miles to go when you’re at mile 10.

‘Another tactic is counting. It doesn’t matter what number you choose to count to, or how often you repeat your counts, but focusing on something like this can help to distract your mind and may also help with your breathing and running rhythm too.’

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