Running Mantras

Running Mantras

Running Mantras
Running Mantras: Pick a focussed, short, actionable word that means something to you

“A statement or slogan repeated frequently to aid concentration.” That would be my definition of running mantras.

It is not enough to train your body to run through those miles, the mind also needs to be trained to lead the body. There a huge difference, for me atleast, in the way I deal with my body and mind. Unless I am in pain or I am running on low sleep reserves, my body does what I tell it to do.

My mind, on the other hand – it has a mind of its own! And that rouge mind is what needs to be calmed and controlled and brought to focus at the task on hand.

Once I decide to do something, I don’t have trouble motivating myself to start. If starting is my trouble – then I probably don’t really want to do it and need to revisit my goal. 

It is the long and sometimes alone journey between the start and the finish that plays havoc with me. Me, myself and my head get together for a rather dangerous combination. All my fears, insecurities and emotions rear up when I’m out on a long run.

While I use a lot of motivational words, some mantras that I am sharing are special. They were coined over a particular situation or they resonate with me over something personal. But most importantly, they are action words. Something for me to hang on to and do without having to think or expend energy at that moment. 

Strong, Smooth and Smile

A Mantra for my Body.

One of my first and most reliable mantras and more of an action than words is borrowed from Jeff Galloway’s Marathon training book. The difference here is to practice when the mantra is NOT needed.  Everytime I run  smooth and strong, I tell myself “Strong, Smooth and Smile” as a positive reinforcement. So when I am flagging in the tough miles during the race, I am able to call back to the words and my body immediately readjusts to the action of running smooth and strong. 

This is my physical mantra – a sort of reminder to keep smooth running form and smile and not make it harder than it already is. 

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 5.02.17 PM

When the going gets tough, the Tough get going

A Mantra for the Everyday Mind.

Oh, the number of times I have read this in newspapers and magazines about my favorite cricketer, Steve Waugh! He was a great Australian Captain and a very solid batsman, but was even better at his mental game. The team of more talented players would be crumbling around him but he would dig in, blocking out all the what-ifs.  As a young impressionable school girl, I wanted to be like Steve Waugh and this mantra has always been my takeaway. 

Life and endurance events is not a walk in the park all the time. Things get tough. That’s when you need to dig deep to find your toughness. 

This is a mental reminder for me when I want to give up. It conjures up not just the toughness I need to find within myself, but also childhood silliness and giggling and smiles. 

Just Keep Moving

A Mantra when I’ve exhausted everything else.

Usually sung to the cute (at first) and super annoying (try singing this over and over and over and ….) tune of Just Keep Swimming from Finding Nemo.

A simple mantra that is just as powerful as it is simple.

When life overwhelms me, when a race humbles me, when all I want to do is huddle down in a corner, a small reminder of Just Keep Moving does wonders. Don’t ever let your body or mind stagnate.

The nerd in me loves how this correlates to Newton’s First Law. Body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion with a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force. So if I don’t let any negative mental force act on me, I will be in perpetual motion towards that goal line.

Why not SIUP (Suck it Up Princess) or something similar that is hard hitting? While tough love might work for some, when I am in this overwhelmed state anything close to (perceived) insensitivity will make me punch someone. The gentle coaxing of baby steps, just one step, etc, has a much better chance with me because even though it is a direct action order, it also acknowledges my state of mind. I am allowed to feel like crud, but I am also expected to move beyond that crudiness. 

#DYJ

A Mantra for day-in-day-out of training.

This recent addition thanks to TriCoachGeorgia, has become a steady favorite with me. At my low points, my biggest question is why/how and the doubt that accompanies it. How is this going to impact me? Am I really going to be faster? Will I ever be able to complete goal X? Why do I care so much about goal Y? So many questions taking energy away from focusing on the task at hand. 

The simple answer – Do Your Job.

Pick your goal, work towards it and do whatever it is that you are supposed to do, never give up on moving towards the goal – it all comes together on race day. There will be results as long as you do your job.

Just Do It

At the end of the day,  nobody is forcing me to run or tri or cross fit or anything. I do them because *I* want to do them. Don’t I then owe it to myself to give it my best shot?

Just go for it, do it. What’s stopping me?

What are your favorite mantras that you draw upon in racing and life?
How did you pick that particular mantra?

 Joining Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic with April from Run the Great Wide Somewhere, Patty from My No-Guilt Life, and Erika from MCM Mama Runs.


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  • I use “run your own race” everytime the I start a race so I don’t go out too fast. I also love “make this moment count

    • That’s a great one! So hard not to be caught up in the moment or not to run with someone else.

  • So much of running is mental! Just keep moving is one I have to use sometimes!

    • True – someone told me that running is 90% mental. Even to just start, its the mind that needs to agree.

  • Great mantras! I love Jeff Galloway’s advice on positive thinking during a race. After a terrible Tink half (all self inflicted) I was skittish before the Princess Half but I reminded myself of his advice and repeated “you’re strong, you’re doing great, this is easy, you’ve got this” and my mood improved immediately and I ended up having a wonderful race! Thanks for linking up with us today!

    • Love that! I had a similar moment in my 2nd Marathon after crumbling at mile 12 of my 1st. So empowering!

  • Courtney

    just keep swimming is a good one 🙂

  • Tiffany Henness

    I definitely do the “Just Keep Running” sometimes. Especially when I’m a bit foggy from the “run dumbs” 😉

  • CK

    When swimming in low-vis open water, I find myself repeating pure and utter nonsense– last time it was something like “green corner cupboard”… goes to show how just the act of using a mantra can be calming and aid concentration. For non-sensory deprivation scenarios, though, I like the motivational ones– “Clear Eyes, Full Heart, Can’t Lose” from Friday Night Lights or that “Sitaram” song that is played in almost every yoga class.

  • I really like “do your job”. I’ve never really thought about it that way before, but I like it. Thanks for joining us for the link up!

  • Allyson Brandt

    I’m of the same mindset…tough mental love doesn’t work for me. I really like, “strong, smooth and smile!”

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