Second-time Olympian Desiree Linden is a running machine. As a high school freshman, she ran her first mile in under 5 minutes. In 2011, she finished second in the Boston Marathon. And now, she’s training hard for the Rio games.
But — just like anybody who struggles to keep up with a running routine — there are some days when she wakes up and just doesn’t feel like doing it.
Linden, 33, Olympic marathoner and member of the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project, is currently training at her her home in Michigan before travelling to Rio next month. Each week, she’s averaging about 125 miles. And just because she’s a pro, doesn’t mean those miles come easily.
“There are certainly days where motivation is lacking,” she told INSIDER. “That’s what they call the grind.”
But she’s found one trick for staying motivated: Remembering what she’s training for in the first place.
“You look at your calendar and you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m training for the Olympics! Why am I complaining?'” she said. “You really have to dig and [ask], ‘How bad do I want the thing that I’m chasing?'”
She also recognises how difficult it is to start running if you’ve never done it before — or if you’ve been on an extended hiatus from the treadmill.
“Most people experience those first few days where it’s really hard, and that’s universal,” she said. “Even after I take a week or two off after the marathon — I’m one of the fittest athletes in the world and then I start running again and I’m like, ‘This is so hard. I don’t want to do this.'”
The trick to making it suck less? Pushing yourself past those first awful days.
“Ten days [of running] later you’re like, ‘Oh, now I’m in shape and this is amazing.’ Getting in shape is really hard for everybody,” she said. “It hurts; it’s difficult. But when you’re in shape, it’s so great. You have to get over that hump.”
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