A friend wants me to help him plan his training for the London Marathon in April 2017. Said I would give him free physiotherapy advice in return for me blogging about him.
First thing I asked him was - are you running it for charity and what is your motivation.
I always ask my marathon runners the same question. It's not out of curiosity, it will dictate their prognosis. The answer tells me what level of sacrifice they will tolerate to complete the marathon. Will they do the training sessions in the way I want them to? Will they do the physiotherapy exercises exactly as prescribed? Will they attend physio regularly so I can optimize their recovery? Will they follow my advice about food/booze/sleep/other lifestyle choices?
It would be cruel to suggest that running a marathon is all in the mind because some people simply do not have the body for it. However, for those that do have the physical potential, there needs to be something motivating them to survive the painful strength training sessions, complete the mid winter interval sessions and to get to bed early instead of joining their mates in the pub.
From my experience as a physiotherapist treating hundreds (maybe thousands?!) of runners the best motivation is when someone is running to raise money for a charity that is close to their heart. Sure there are great personal benefits too, and they often have a time they are aiming for, but really, the thing that seems to keeps people most motivated is the charity, people or person they are doing it for.
That strikes me as a pretty good reflection of the nature of humanity doesn't it?