Ask many runners what they do to keep themselves entertained and motivated during their runs and some, including me, would respond that we talk to ourselves. A LOT. Maybe this practice translates into other sports. Did Barry Bonds have a mantra when he stepped up to the plate? Does a quarter-backer say some magic phrase before he snaps the ball? I don’t know, but it seems most runners do like to talk to themselves.
It could be the quiet affirmations: “you can do it, you can do it” in rhythm to the beat of the shoes on the pavement. Or “chuga-chuga”; “just keep running, just keep running”, or “one foot in front of the other”
For challenging hills: “The hill is mine.” “Stare down the hill” “climb the mountain” or visualizing that you’re holding ski poles and planting them in front of you to help you up. I repeat “plant the pole, plant the pole.” Maybe that comes from my time as a ski instructor? Or I think of gigantic invisible rope that reels me up to the summit.
On long runs: I often keep myself occupied with complicated math problems concerning mileage and pace. If the current pace is 8:45/mile, what time will it be when I hit mile 6.5, taking into account the hill at the corner of Oak and Folsom-Auburn Blvd? The answer doesn’t matter, but somehow it keeps me centered and focused. I also try to keep negative thoughts away with “i love my legs, look how far they carry me.” “POWER QUADS!!!” and that usually gets me smiling.
When things are really bad: “Eye of the Tiger!” No matter how badly I might feel that mantra always lightens the mood. Or “I love running. I do, I do.”
What mantras do you use?