Magic Mantras For Running

A look into Week 5 of The Training Room Geelong RUN CREW Program

Two weeks ago I suggested you pay attention and bring awareness to the stories you tell yourself as you are running. As we challenge ourselves to get fitter, run further, push harder – it innately within us to produce doubts, generate excuses and build a sense of fear that attempts to slow us down until we just stop altogether. Our brain is working hard to keep us ‘safe’ and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone isn’t something it is comfortable with.
Over the course of this running program you will create a new point of reference for yourself. You will get more comfortable with being uncomfortable. You will be able to push harder for longer because your self confidence and self belief muffles the fear your brain is trying to generate within you.
This all sounds very empowering and warrior like – but how the hell do we learn to override our brain?
How do we separate ourselves from the inner dialogue that is reminding us of our sore ankle, acknowledging how heavily we are breathing, is irritated by the song that is playing and thinks running is just stupid?
The truth is – each of us will find our own way.
Each of us will have to battle against ourselves and go to some deep, dark places before we can emerge feeling lighter. You will have to come face to face with the excuses you make. You will have to listen to them. In analysing them you might learn some hard truths about yourself. The excuses we make often reveal our insecurities, our shortcomings, the bullshit that holds us back in many areas of our life. These excuses get to run the show more than we would probably like to admit.
I come up against myself every time I run. Never a gifted athlete, never a natural competitor – I have decades worth of self doubt to run with. What I have also realised is that I am also battling another voice – it mutters at me in almost everything I do. It reminds me not to be a show off. Because, nobody likes a show off, do they?
So there is my battle. Self doubt questioning whether I can rise up to the occasion and another voice that pushes me down when I step into my greatness and start to feel myself rise. How can you push past your doubts and roar with greatness when you are worried about being too loud?
I would go round and round in circles within my head – a negative loop of doubt & shame.
Yes. You do need to go this deep with yourself.
If ever a time comes that you want to stop running, or pull back during sprint training or refuse to run with the group when the distances of our runs increase significantly – understanding why you are standing in your own way will unblock you and unlock.
You might still have to carry those thoughts and those feelings ( for most of us it isn’t as simple as understanding where they have come from and then sending them on their way!) But now you know what you are up against – you can create your defence against it.
I have a mantra of sorts that I work with. Im not entirely sure how it has evolved – but it is extremely powerful. It pulls me from the depths of negative thought patterns and brings me back into the present moment.
I simply tell myself “Yes I can. Yes I will”.
I saw it again and again and again. With each inhale ‘yes I can’ and every exhale ‘yes I will’. It is affirming and positive. Focusing my mind on a mantra allows me to break the negative loop that had been playing in my head ‘my hip hurts, the hill coming up is going to kill me, I hate this” and realigns me to the highest version of myself.
You could say the names of your children. You could repeat a quote that moves you. You could sing the lyrics to the chorus of your favorite song. There is no right or wrong. Whatever you connect with will work.
Begin to integrate it into your runs. Experiment with it. It might take you a few weeks to find the phrase that resonates with you.
We can train our minds in the same way that we condition our bodies. But it takes consistency and commitment too.
You don’t have to hate running. You don’t have to have an unenjoyable experience in anything that you do. Master a mantra and you can lift yourself to a higher place anytime you need to.
In the past I would have to repeat it for two or three minutes until I felt my mind release the negative thoughts and I could just continue running without feeling like I was in hell – but now I need only say it once or twice and my entire physiology responds. I lift my head, raise my chest and take a slower, deeper breath – and continue.
(one day Ill tell you the story of how my ipod broke when I was 32km into running a 42km Marathon and I had nothing but my own thoughts to motivate me to continue my fourth straight hour of running!)
Much love