The often used adage “Running is 90% mental” may or may not be accurate. However, it is a fact that our thoughts impact our physical performance. You may have heard the term running mantra or may already have one yourself. What exactly is a running mantra? Do you need one? How might it help you on your runs or hard workouts?
What’s a running mantra?
In simple terms, it is a word or phrase that when repeated, helps you to push through a tough run, race, or workout. This phrase or affirmation can be repeated verbally or in your own head. The idea is to evoke your personal running mantra during a tough effort to distract you from the physical struggle and allow you to propel yourself forward. It is important to choose a mantra that resonates with you.
Examples of popular running mantras
The word “mantra” in Sanskrit means “instrument for thinking” (source)
I can and I will
I can do hard things
Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done
This is what I trained for
I am a runner
You got this
Get it done
Get it done
Relentless (Bill Rogers)
You get to do this (Amanda Boone)
Relax and Roll (Sarah Hall)
How can a mantra help you?
The phrases and narratives we tell ourselves in our heads can have a huge impact on our effort and performance during a tough race or training session. This study found that positive self-talk led to improved performance. Conversely, negative self talk can have a detrimental effect on performance.
How to develop a mantra of your own
Make it short so it’s easy to remember and repeat. (mantras of 1-4 words work well)
Pick strong words that resonate with you.
Practice your mantra on training runs before race day. Don’t hesitate to change yours if it doesn’t do it for you.
Tell me, are mantras something you use on race day? What’s yours?
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