It’s no secret that we all get excited about signing up for 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, and marathons, especially now that races are coming back. According to a study published by RunRepeat, exercise is up 88% since the onset of the pandemic, and many gym members don’t plan to go back.
However, despite this enthusiasm for said races, actually following a training plan still requires loads of discipline and passion for training as well as self-motivation. Sometimes we are tired which makes it difficult to get out the door early. And even if we make it out the door, sometimes it’s the heat and humidity during these summer months that make us want call the quits.
The good news is that even the toughest of the tough encounter these struggles, so now the big question is: In anticipation of these moments, what can we do to better-prepare so that we can push through any hurdle?
The truth is, there are many things we can do, but in this article we are specifically only going to talk about mantras that you should think about when they are planning on heading out for your next run.
*If you are curious about what other things you can do besides mantras, we invite you to listen to Episode 39, an interview with Jill Angie, of Not Your Average Runner. She has some great tips about how to get into the right headspace when it comes to running.
Now let’s dive into mantras.
The word “mantra” is a Sanskrit term, with “man” meaning “mind” and “tra” meaning “release.” So there you have it, “mind-release.” Think of a mantra — a word or phrase you repeat — as a tool to help release your mind. It’s a type of meditation.
Why And How Do People Use Mantras?
Mantras are used to boost awareness and improve concentration leading to increased self-awareness, reduced stress, and a more positive outlook. Basically just what you need to start running or to continue pushing hard.
Now let’s talk about how to mantra, which is something that takes practice.
Meditation doesn’t come easy to everyone, and many people find doing this can take time and practice. To use a mantra, you repeat your chosen word or phrase in your head or aloud over and over, with the idea of it occupying your awareness in order to prevent your focus from drifting onto other thoughts. For running, the idea is to keep you from going into a negative headspace, where you think about difficulty of your run, pains, or even quitting.
Is all this talk about mantras getting you into the mood for some more meditation and yoga for runners? Check out our guided sessions: Yoga for Runners with Amanda Stetler and Yoga for Runners with Michelle Font.
Mantras are directed towards yourself, hence, finding a certain word or phrase that hits your sweet spot is personal and varies from individual to individual. Some people choose mantras that double as affirmations, others use phrases that envision success, and another group of runners will choose phrases that rhyme.
Most Well-Known Running Mantras
In an attempt to provide you with some mantra samples to help you come up with your own, we are now listing the most common mantras for runners: 1.“One mile at a time,” 2.“Run the mile your in,” 3.“Pain is temporary, pride is forever,” and “No pain, no gain.”
Mantras From Our Running Community
We asked a few runners of varying levels of experience, to share what mantras keep them running. We took all the responses and divided them into three categories: 1. Mantras about your mindset as a runner, 2. Mantras to get you out the door, and 3. Mantras for during your run. See if any of these resonate with you!
1. Mantras about the running mindset
Lauren Hill - Runner
“If it was easy, everyone would do it.”
Rebecca Lynne - Returning Runner
“It is not the adversity, but how you adjust to the adversity that defines you.”
Esther Davis - Mom who runs
“If hope is lost, then all is lost.”
Jessica Sky Dotson - Mom and Half-Marathoner
“You know you’re improving when you have to struggle a little. So embrace the struggle.”
Naomi Cooper - Running Mama
“You have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because in the discomfort is where you grow!”
2. Mantras for to get you out the door
Estera TIvadar – New Runner, Mom
“You can't pour from an empty cup, do it for yourself!”
Sara Krosch – Health Coach and Fitness Instructor
"I am, therefore I can.”
Sasha Wolff – Running Mental Health Advocate and Founder of Still I Run
“Still I Run! Even though I have depression and anxiety, and even though it's hard to get out of bed somedays... Still I RUN!”
3. Mantras for during your run
Jodi King - Marathoner
“Think Strong, Be Strong, Finish Strong.”
Jessica Thoreson - Runner in training
“Better, stronger, faster, farther.” (one syllable per step)
Tonje Elisabeth Aarøe - Runner
”I'm a lean mean running machine."
"Every day in every way I'm growing happier, healthier and wealthier."
Beverly Faye - Half-marathoner and Crohn’s Warrior
"Run the moment you're in."
Amber Bedford - Mother Runner
“5 more minutes, you can stop after 5 more minutes if you really want, anyone can do 5 more minutes.” (Repeat in 5 minutes)
Lauren Walsh - Daughter, Wife, Mom, Friend, Fitness Instructor, Marathoner, Cancer-survivor, Dog-Mom, and soon-to-be Yoga Instructor
“You are a machine.”
Roseann Mcinally - Runner (!!!)
“Would you stop if (insert childrens names here) where out with you running now? No? Then don't stop now.”
Rachel Harrison – Marathoner and CFO
“I can do HARD THINGS. I’ve done them before and I’ll do them again!” And I scream sing Kesha’s song “Woman.”
Michelle Baldaro – Role Model for Fat and Fit, Mom, Worker, Runner
“Sweat is fat crying.”
Melody Berrong - Mother Runner
“Hit the wall, don’t let it hit you. You can push thru the pain. I am strong, I am fast, I am a runner, I do not quit.” I repeat those four sentences over and over.
Amy Knudson - Runner mom
“Just don’t stop.”
Elaine Beaulieu Davey - Grandma and 25-time Marathoner
“Relax and maintain.”
Élisabeth Angélique – Freeborn Woman, Earth Angel, Nurse, Mother, Lover
“You can’t hurt me. I don’t feel the pain. I’m tougher than I look and if I focus on what I love I can get through it.”
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, there is no single mantra that will work for all and we cannot stress enough how important it is to come up with your own. Start with the one you liked the most and really do some thinking about how and why this mantra speaks to you. Then, adopt it; ad some words to it, take some out... just and make it yours. That way you can ensure you have an ace in your pocket when you need it most (whether it be training or your race day.)
Did I miss anything?
Do you have a mantra you want to share with the world? Please share it in the comments. As always we so appreciate your continued input on all our topics as your feedback helps shape the future of content of the Marathon Running Podcast and Blog.