“I am a Kenyon” – Jenn
“I can do hard things.” “Let go.” – Meg
“Strong Legs. Strong Head. Strong Heart.” – Lisa
“Finish Strong” – Susan
“You can do anything for ___ miles/minutes” – Tami
“Keep moving forward” – Tim to me during my last half marathon
“Use the shoes” – Molly
“Believe” – me
I’ve been thinking a lot about what keeps me going when I’m out on a run, probably because those runs haven’t been very motivating on their own. They’ve been HARD and when I feel as if my run isn’t going the way it should, my head has a tendency to go straight to the negatives. Telling that inner mean girl to STFU is hard for me so giving myself a virtual smack to the head with a motivating mantra can help pull me out of that funk. Thinking strong words and repeating inspiring phrases can be as important to your training as developing powerful legs and lungs. You have to get your head in the game. If it’s not, you may defeat yourself before you even step up to the starting line.
Mantra – noun. a statement or slogan repeated frequently. The word “mantra” is literally derived from the Sanskrit to mean “instrument of thought” from the Sanskrit word “man”, meaning “think”. These short words or phrases can be used to refocus your mind and direct your mind away from negative thoughts.
Do you have mantra?
I posed this question to my friends on Facebook and Twitter. A few examples are above. As you can see, they vary from person to person. What motivates me or Jenn or Tami may not do the same for you. Also, as Meg said, she has different mantras depending on the purpose. She will repeat “let go” when she’s stressing, matching “let” with an inhale and “go” to an exhale. Joe said he doesn’t have specific words but finds if he motivates himself out loud, he’s able to push through the tough times. For Molly, the phrase “use the shoes” got her up Mt. Roosevelt at mile 26 of the Chicago Marathon, earning herself a trip to Boston. A couple years ago I had the word “believe” tattooed to my wrist to remind myself that if I believe, anything is possible.
So what makes a good mantra? It should be short. When you are tired, you aren’t going to want to remember a dissertation. A few words that you can repeat in just a couple seconds is best. Your mantra should also be written in positives, preferably the opposite of the behavior you are trying to change. Are you feeling defeated? Chant “victorious”. Think you are weak? Try “I am strong”. The mantra you choose should contain action words and instructions for change. “Finish strong”. “Light feet”. “Be fierce, be brave.” Do a search of Pinterest or Google and you will find many examples. A good mantra can divert your mind from negative thoughts to a positive attitude that will truly help you finish strong.
What’s your mantra?
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