Have a mantra when you run! I’ve always used mantras, and yes, they change based on how I am feeling. For example, last Thursday when I was pushing myself through my track workout I used, “Prove how TOUGH you are.” This pulled me through to the end when I was getting really tired. Another favorite of mine is, “Controlled chaos. You are going fast, but you are in the driver’s seat. You can go faster.”
I have to smile, because when I write them down now they sound a little cheesy. But that’s because in my mind there’s also Eye of the Tiger-type music and my imaginary critic watching me and hoping I’ll fail. I’ve used mantras since high school, and I find that they fall into two categories: relaxing and calming mantras or powerful and confident mantras.
Relaxing and Calming Mantras I’ve used:
“Just breathe, relax, it’s just you and the road.” I typically use this when I am racing a long distance, like a half-marathon or longer. This is effective for me because in a race I am usually trying to push my body outside of my comfort zone, especially at the end when I start to fatigue. I am already putting out 100% so there’s no reason to scold myself or try to pump myself up (I do that beforehand), so instead I like to soothe myself. I remind myself that I am capable, I put in all the hard work already and now all I have to do is focus on doing what I love: going fast and feeling good.
Powerful and Confidence-building Mantras I’ve used:
“Prove how tough you are.”
“You wouldn’t give up at the end of a race, so you don’t give up on a workout.”
“Words are easy, actions achieve results.”
“This is only making you STRONGER.”
“Don’t think, just go. Go! Go! Go!”
“Your body is so much stronger than your mind.”
Mantras may sound a little funny afterward, but don’t underestimate their power. Those little gems above are a few examples of mantras that have gotten me through the tough times. Usually they are reserved for tempo runs and track workouts. My biggest motivation right now is my goal to qualify for the 2016 women’s Olympic marathon trials and my mantras reflect that. During my easy runs I am able to let my mind wander and I often visualize how I want to feel during the Portland Marathon, I think about the pace I want to achieve and I think about how much I want to make the qualifying time for the trials. Consistently reminding myself of my goal keeps me focused, so when I am grinding out the tough workouts my mantras like “Don’t quit”, “Prove you’re TOUGH”, etc. are references to what it takes to become an elite marathoner. Those guys are tough, they put in the hard work and they don’t let themselves make excuses.
So have a mantra next time you are suffering or when you need to calm yourself in a race. Pick some powerful phrases to kick your butt into gear or to fire back at that little voice that wants you to quit. Soothe your self in a race and remind yourself that you are capable. Keep your overall goal in mind and remember that above all: You are doing what you love.
Happy Monday 🙂