A few days ago, after a half marathon training run with my husband, he said to me - that last mile, it was my head that pushed me, not my legs. It was a thought I was very familiar with and had after many training runs over the past year! In the running world, everyone talks about their "mantra". You can search #mantra on Twitter and Instagram and you'll find endless posts by runners sharing their own mantra, typically accompanied by a picture of a gorgeous trail or the tops of their sneakers! Stephen Walker, Ph.D., a sports psychologist in Boulder, CO says, "Repeating choice words whenever you need to focus helps direct your mind away from negative thoughts and toward a positive experience." Personally, I like to rely on music and scenery to keep me going during a run, but there are definitely times where I have to talk myself into keeping up with my pace and not slowing down or even worse - stopping to walk. So what is it that I say to myself that keeps me going? I ask myself two questions: 1) Are you in pain? & 2) Can you breathe? If the answers are 1) No, I'm not in pain, and 2) Yes, I can breathe, I then tell myself there is no reason to slow down or stop. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that the definition of "pain" changes when I'm out for a 20 mile run - "pain" is no longer just my legs hurting, but a type of pain that will change my gait or running form, which might be the sign of an injury or lead to an injury. There are times when my mantra will help me get through the next ten minutes of running, but there are other times when 30 seconds later, I'm asking myself those two questions again. The one thing that is certain is that it always keeps me going.
But "mantras" aren't just for running, are they? Surely they can help you in all fitness-related activities where you're trying to push your body beyond a point where it has been before! Do you have a workout mantra?
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