When i was in Nashville for the race in April, i had the opportunity of hearing Kara Goucher speak. If you don’t know who Kara Goucher is, you should! She’s the most normal looking girl who is completely unassuming but she’s also a total badass when it comes to running. She has her sights set on winning the Boston marathon one year and she is also hoping to make it back to the Olympics this year to run for the USA in the Marathon distance.
She had a lot of good tips and interesting things to say but the one thing that went off in my head like a lightbulb was when she spoke of her “power word.” The power word is not that different from a mantra, but it’s more personal; more about you. She said she chooses a new power word at the beginning of training for each upcoming race. Her power word changes based on what’s going on in her life at that time. It’s a word you start your training with and it should mean something to you and carry you through your training and, more importantly, through your race.
Kara, in her book Running for Women, says “before each big race, I choose a power word that I think about during the hard parts of the race to stay strong and fight back against fear. It’s always a word that resonates with where I am in my mind at that time. The word I’ve chosen for the Boston Marathon is ‘free.'” She was among the favorites to win the Boston Marathon in April but this was only months after having a baby. “I want to run this race free of both expectations and limitations,” she said.
I loved this and i also loved that this was a word she used for months during training. She said the word “free” meant a lot to her in other ways as well, to free her mind of “mom things” during training, to free her body of any “setbacks” she might be dealing with coming back from having a baby, to run free.
I immediately knew what my word would be- Strong. I have been dealing with one injury after another for a solid year and not only has this gotten my down physically, it’s gotten me down mentally. “Strong” means all kinds of things to me- be strong physically on the uphills, be strong mentally when wanting to quit….strong, in general. When i ran the marathon last fall, I was as strong physically as i felt like i could have been although now i know where i needed to be stronger.
I have started my training with this one power word and i plan to finish the race with it as well. I will still use my mantras when i need but i love that i can pull out one word and that one word has everything to do with me. It’s a reminder of why i’m doing this and what i’m hoping to get out of it.
Find your power word and start using it now!