Mantra: a word or sound that serves as a focal point for certain types of meditation.
There doesn’t have to be anything hokey about a mantra. A mantra can be anything…one word or a phrase.
Running goals aren’t only met by having strong legs and lungs. You must also have a strong head. If you’re doubting yourself or focusing on the negative, you are certain to have a bad run. Sometimes something as simple as a few choice words can keep you focused and on target. Why does this work? Because you’re taking the focus off of the negative and placing it on the positive.
Mantra’s are used all over the world for all types of situations. You may have one and not even realize it. You can borrow one from someone and make it yours. You can make one up. It can be a simple word. Whatever works to keep you positive and focused is your mantra.
After reading “Born to Run” last year, i found my favorite one. The motto for the Leadville 100 trail race is “you’re tougher than you think you are, you can do more than you think you can.” I don’t know why but this really spoke to me. When i was running in Nashville last year, i specifically remember repeating this over and over as i was nearing the end of the race. It’s impossible to run an entire race without a single distraction or negative feeling. That’s just an unrealistic expectation so the best thing is to be prepared for what you can do to overcome this. This is where a mantra is perfect. I spent the last 9 miles in my marathon talking myself off the ledge. When i started to really doubt myself, i repeated certain mantra’s over and over. I swear it worked. Somehow i actually crossed that finish line and it wasn’t because my legs wanted to do it. It was all my mind. My body would have given up miles before the finish line.
Last year i had the Nashville group share with me their mantras. Here are some i pulled out to share with you as well as some i use:
“you’re tougher than you think you are, you can do more than you think you can.”
“you’ve done it; now do it better!”
“look around you and enjoy the experience”
“make friends with pain and you’ll never be alone”
“you’ve got this!”
“the faster you run, the quicker it’s over”
“stand up tall, shoulders down, breathe”
When you find that you’re thinking “i can’t do this. my legs hurt. i can’t breathe. i have so much further”, you need to repeat “you’ve got this. you’ve got this….” or whatever it is that works for you. You might not think you need anything but if you have something to pull from, it can only help. I’m not going to get into all the psychobabble i could about mantra’s and the psyche but, trust me, it works.
Even Nike has a “mantra”; Just Do It! Anyone want to share anything that works for you?