Tuesday Training Tip: Make a Mantra

Fast smooth light strong. Fast smooth light strong. Fast smooth light strong. Fast smooth light strong.

I like the rhythm of those words. I like that I can say them in my head with every footstrike. And I like that when I say them in my head with every footstrike, I feel like I’m running faster, smoother, lighter, stronger.

Usually I save that mantra for the end of a tempo run, when I’m running out of steam and starting to feel sluggish. It never ceases to amaze me that my last mile is often one of my fastest.

I have other mantras for other situations. As I’m pushing it up a hill, I’ll think, Own it own it own it own it. Or sometimes, Keep it going keep it going keep it going keep it going, until I get to the top.

And as I’m nearing the end of my training (only one more easy 4-miler left, and then it’s time to tackle the 26.2), I’m trying to come up with some words to run by. I’m looking for words and thoughts that will drown out any discouragement and inspire me to keep trying, even if I’m not feeling my best. Because mantras are one of the few weapons you have at your disposal when you’re actually on the race course, and they can be surprisingly powerful.

So here’s today’s tip: Make a mantra for yourself. Or several.

A few choice words (though probably not of the four-letter variety) can get you through a rough patch when you feel like caving to negativity. Rather than dwelling on pain or disappointment, chant your mantra until you get back in your groove and can take charge again. The February 2011 issue of Runner’s World has some good tips about coming up with mantras for yourself. They say to keep it short, stay positive, make it energetic, and then embed the instructions.

If you have a mantra of your own you are willing to share, please post it in the comments.

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6 Comments

  1. up up up up UP UP UP UP

    the shorter the better for me.

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    It helps, sometimes, if you don’t have to think too much about it to reap the benefits. 🙂

    [Reply]

  2. relax. relax. relax.

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    Oh how I need to remember that one! I’m always too wound up.

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    Oh how I need to remember that one. I’m always too wound up.

    [Reply]

  3. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. 🙂 Good luck Lizzie and Micah!

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    Love it, Kathleen. That’ll get me going and also distract me from any pain as I imagine myself breaking tackles and catching passes in the end zone for a mile or two.

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  4. I’m all about mantras! I use similar ones for running, for labor, and in stressful work situations.
    I am strong. I am capable. I am relaxed.

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    Love it, Lindsay. You’re right, so many of these are great for labor as well.

    [Reply]

  5. Abby Blackhurst

    June 9th, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    I have goals. That’s one of my main mantra’s for everything. If I’m deciding what to eat, if I should go faster, if I should write or watch Hulu. I have goals. And I want to meet them.

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    I think that’s a good one. When I’m feeling like maybe I want to slow down tomorrow, maybe I’ll just remind myself that I have goals. And I want to meet them.

    [Reply]

  6. just made one up during my last 5K!
    It’s “fast, loose, happy, posture”.

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    That’s a good one. I like the “fast and loose” reference. And to remember to smile. That always helps.

    [Reply]

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