Monday, September 1, 2014

My Favorite Mantras

When I'm sure I can't go another step. When the hill is too steep, the humidity too high, my enthusiasm too low. When my carb-starved brain can't convince my achy quads to keep moving. At such times, I rely heavily on mantras. 

Mantras are brief phrases that I can repeat endlessly in my head (or on desperate occasions, out loud) to help regain my focus. These phrases bring me back to the present moment, rooting my body and brain in the here-and-now rather than in the where-I'd-rather-be. I find that when I can focus on this moment, this step, this square of pavement, I can survive lengthy runs. When I get ahead of myself, however, thinking about mile 8 when trudging through mile 2, I feel overwhelmed and want to quit. To refocus, I pull out a mantra, repeating it for miles at a time, if need be. Some of my favorite mantras include:

Be where your feet are.

I am here now. 

Inhale peace, exhale doubt. 

Long, tall, strong. 

Forward is a pace. 

Earn it!

Embrace the suck. 

It's supposed to be hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great. (a Jimmy Duggan quote from A League of Their Own, one of my all-time favorite movies.) A bit long, but it encapsulates so much and gets me through the ugliest runs. 

I like to have many different mantras from which to choose. Depending on my mood or situation, different mantras keep me moving forward. When I'm feeling zen-like, I love using "I am here now." But when I'm crabby and miserable, I need a kick in the pants rather than zen. "Embrace the suck" usually pulls me out of such funks, reminding me to take all of the run - the good, the bad, the ugly - and appreciate it for what it is. 

Do you have any go-to mantras? What helps keep your feet moving when your spirit is sagging?


  1. haha.. I love embrace the suck!! I haven't heard that!!

    1. Haha! Yes, I usually reserve that one for truly desperate times, but I love it. It's all about changing your perspective...