Motivational Training Ideas: hints to stay fresh, motivated and fit


For any running, sporting or fitness event, training requires perseverance and discipline. Some of the training ideas below are designed for general fitness or running. The exercises are meant to be motivational. Speaking of motivation, a lot of it relates to just that. If you are not committed to something you won't get outside. Stay fresh, try different things, run or exercise in different places. 

A few ideas below are related to fitness near or in water. I often head to the beach for exercise, it seems more like an excursion than hard work so it's easier to get motivated. Stay tuned for a more training tips more specifically related to ultra-running in another article.
  • If you are struggling to shake off cobwebs or get your speed up on a run, try running up a hill fast. It opens up your lungs, gets your legs moving and you can often keep the effort going down the hill and for the rest of the run.
  • Recovery is as important as actual training. Less punishing than ice baths, submerging your legs in water can aid recovery after a long run. I mainly use the ocean. The Indian Ocean off the coast of Perth is usually cool throughout the year and it definitely helps rid the body of soreness perhaps because of the increase in blood flow the cold encourages. In Australia, many professional rugby and football clubs will incorporate a beach swim the day after a big game to increase the speed of recovery. If your not near the ocean a pool session can be just as effective.
  • Water jogging in shallow water provides a serious boost to your fitness. It strengthens your quads, thighs, glutes and calves with low impact on your joints. Water causes resistance: try walking in knee-high surf for five minutes then wade out to thigh-high.
  • Try running on different surfaces. Beach runs give you a great workout if you’re short on time requiring more effort. You can jog on the soft, loose sand nearer to the dunes or on the harder, packed sand at the water’s edge. Remember, beach sand is often inclined, so it’s important to run for the same amount of time in both directions. Grassed ovals are great and trails are even better. You are pretty much guaranteed to be away from traffic interruptions and if you hit the wall, your run becomes a nice bush walk!
  • Interval training is based on the simple concept: go fast then go slow. Then do it again. There are a tremendous number of variations and intervals can be performed on any cardiovascular machine (including the treadmill, stationary bike, rowing machines, etc.) as well as almost any type of exercise (such as cycling, swimming etc.) I like to introduce interval running in my distance workouts to increase my base speed. Sometimes I will sprint between two telephone poles then walk to the next one. Or I run hard for two minutes and jog for 30 seconds. The variations you can do are endless. Remember if you are out on a long run your 'sprint' might just be a slight increase in pace.

Based in Australia, Grahak Cunningham ( is a motivational speaker and business speaker and four time finisher and current champion of the Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race, which is the world’s longest ultra-marathon. All article photos courtesy Prabhakar Street, Jowan Gauthier (L) Rebecca Mansell Photography.


© 2012 Grahak Cunningham all rights reserved