Feel Inspired and Encouraged: Dedicate Each Mile to a Loved One
Editor’s Note: This post is written by guest contributor, Holly Sagstetter, and has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Minneapolis Running.
Race spectators can make the whole racing experience unforgettable. Whether you’re running a 5K or a Marathon, hearing people cheer and support you can make all the difference. I personally love seeing funny signs, kids cheering and dogs! But my favorite race spectator is someone I know. I love seeing my husband, or my sisters or a friend cheering me on. It gives me a boost and helps me to continue moving.
Related: How to Be a Good Marathon Spectator
Unfortunately, all of your friends and family cannot come and watch you race. But there is a way to have them with you during training and the race itself. Simply dedicate each mile of the race to a loved one. This is a great way to keep yourself motivated throughout the race because you are giving your brain something to focus on. Preparing for a race is all about physical and mental training!
Dedicate Each Mile to a Loved One
So how does this work exactly? Once you have your race chosen (we’ll use a 10K as an example) assign an inspirational loved one to each mile:
- Mile 1: Mom. What would she say to cheer you on? How would she encourage you?
- Mile 2: Brother. How would he make you laugh? What funny face would he make at you?
- Mile 3: Daughter. Think about how much she loves riding in the jogging stroller and cheers you on every step of the way.
- Mile 4: Grandfather. He would love to see you pushing yourself so hard.
- Mile 5: Best Friend. Imagine them running next to you the whole time.
- Mile 6: Spouse. Think of how proud they are of you and how much they love you. Imagine them smiling at you from the sidelines.
- Use the last 0.2 miles to be proud of yourself and cheer for yourself and others around you.
During a longer race (or long training run) you could assign people for each of the “toughest” miles. For example, maybe you lose motivation during miles 16-22 of a marathon. Start assigning loved ones at mile 13 to start building your confidence for those harder miles.
If you run with music, ask friends and family for song suggestions to add to your playlist. Hearing “Eye of the Tiger” could remind you of watching Rocky with your dad, or maybe “Let It Go” makes you smile because of your niece’s obsession with Frozen. The whole idea is to give you something to focus on when the miles start to feel too tough.
Trying to memorize the order of your inspirational people might cause frustration. I certainly wouldn’t want to get to my final marathon miles and not be able to remember who I should be thinking of! Write names on your arm or laminate a strip of paper with tape to wear around your wrist.
Charity runners know all too well that running for someone or for a cause makes the training and racing experience so much more meaningful. Use that same concept to add emotion and significance to your race as well. The support of family and friends can be crucial during race training (especially if you take on a heavy training schedule). Take that support and make it work for you. Imagine your family cheering you on at every mile marker. Make them proud!