Running is a mental sport, more than anything else.  You’re only as good as your training, and your training is only as good as your thinking.

Lauren Oliver

Running is both physically and mentally challenging, but that’s what makes it so rewarding! To achieve your goals, powerful legs and big lungs aren’t enough—you also need a strong head and a positive mantra. Our group runs will prepare you physically, but I also want to address the mental aspect. The negative thoughts and conversations we have in our heads can be our biggest obstacle, but with a little effort we can overcome them! So let’s talk about mantras: positive affirmations that help us stay focused and motivated.

Let’s talk about MANTRAS.

Words are powerful. They can rally crowds, inspire greatness, and get you out of a terrible funk halfway through your training or race.

Whether you’re looking to improve your performance in the gym or on the road, positive thinking is key! Research has shown time and again that athletes who approach their workouts and races with a positive attitude perform better than those who don’t. So how can you tap into that power? Many athletes use motivational quotes or short phrases known as “mantras” to help them get through tough workouts. The Sanskrit word “mantra” literally means “instrument for thinking.” As such, these short words or phrases have long been used to focus the mind in meditation. Mantras have been around for thousands of years, but they are having a mainstream moment right now. So find one that resonates with you and see what it can do.

Use your mantra as a mental tool to get through the tough parts of your workout. Spinning negative thoughts into positive ones can help you stay in control and in the moment.

When you’re running, keep your mind focused on the joy of the activity. Remember why you love doing it and let that fuel your positivity. When discomfort strikes, instead of dwelling on the pain, think about how good it will feel to finish the race or workout. Your mantra should be something personal that will inspire you to push through tough times. Keep it short, sweet, and action-oriented for best results.

Strength Mantras

When you’re feeling tired, these strength mantras will help connect you to your hidden inner resources. The right words can make subconscious and intuitive connections with your muscles and resolve. As you learn to tap into the right brain, you’ll come up with phrases that continue drawing on mental or spiritual resources. The best ones will be your own mantras that relate to your experiences with words that work. Action phrases not only keep you going but also help you perform as you find ways to dig deeper into your resources. The following have been used when under physical and mental stress, but use these only as a primer.

    • Feet-stay light and quick, keep moving
    • My legs are strong
    • My heart is pumping better
    • More blood in the muscles
    • Lactic acid, go away
    • More oxygen, lungs
    • The strength is in there, I’m feeling it
    • Talk crazy to me, right brain
    • I’m feeling creative–I’m making adjustments
    • I feel comfortable–I’m in control
    • I feel good–I feel strong
    • I’m floating
    • Come to me–endorphins
    • I’m having fun
    • How bad do you want it?
    • It takes strength to do what you love
Funny Mantras

Funny Mantras get you to laugh, which is a right brain activity.

    • I feel like a clown, ballerina, football player, stooge
    • Float like an anchor, sting like a sponge
    • Where’s the bounce, glide
    • I’m all about that pace … no trippin’ (spinoff of the song by Meghan Trainor)
Creative Mantras
    • I’m building a house, railroad, community, bookcase, etc.
    • What type of novel could that person ahead of me have written?
    • What type of profession could that person on the sidewalk have?
    • What type of movie could be staged here?
Distraction Mantras

Distraction Mantras start by preoccupying your left brain so that it won’t send you so many negative messages. After saying these over many times you may be able to shift into the right brain.

    • Look at that store, car building, sign, etc.
    • Look at that person, hair, outfit, hat, T-shirt design, etc.
    • One more step, one more step
    • One more block, telephone pole, stop light, etc.
    • Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps
    • I can do anything for [##] minutes/seconds
Vision Mantras

Vision Mantras help you feel that you’re getting where you want to be.

    • I can see the next mile marker
    • I can feel the pull of the finish line
    • I can feel being pulled along by the runners ahead
    • I can feel myself getting stronger
    • I’m pushing through the wall
    • I’m moving at the right pace to finish with strength
Remember your Mantras!

Remember your mantras when the going gets tough during a race! A short phrase can be just the thing you need to push through and cross the finish line. They can also help during fast workouts or long runs when you feel like giving up or slowing down. Just think about all the training you’ve done and trust your abilities! The race is just an extension of what you’ve already accomplished.

Don’t let negative thoughts defeat you before you’ve even started. Think strong words. Repeat inspiring phrases. You are strong, ready, and capable of meeting the challenge ahead. Repeat to yourself: “I CAN do this!