The amount of power your mind and thoughts can extend over your body is just amazing. In running, it is almost always your mind telling you to stop, even when your legs and lungs can keep pushing through. Sure you get physically tired, but it’s really your thoughts telling you that your legs need a break, or the fatigue you feel in your lower back must be dealt with right.this.second.
That’s where mantras come into play. A mantra is a word or phrase that is used to concentrate on and embody a spirit of power. The word is a combination of two Sanskrit words “manas” (mind) and “tra” (protect, or be free from) which together can be translated to “free from the mind”. It’s a tool to help you escape from your own thoughts, and even more, define the focus of your mind in a positive and affirming way.
Having go-to phrases to fill your mind with positive images and thoughts can help battle the mental fatigue that is pretty inevitable, especially when you are just starting out running. It can happen at mile 8, 18 or some days, mile 1.5. And when your mind starts to shut down, repeating a motivation-inducing phrase is sometimes all you need to push through to a clearer state of mind. I’ve used mantras on easy runs, training sessions and especially in the later miles of a race.
My running mantras have been recently rotating between these two:
It’s part confidence-building, part rhythm, but mainly it is focus. Telling myself what I am capable of, so that in fact, I am.
Mantras extend well beyond running for me. I use my same race phrases many days when things start to go off course or become a little hard to handle. Finding focus and balance in a tough situation is the first step to overcome the issue at hand. With a clear mind, you are powerful beyond belief.
What mantras help you get through?