Three Things Thursday: Running Mantras That Apply Elsewhere Edition

February 24, 2012

By the time I was well into the second mile of my pre-work run this morning, I felt great. That first mile, though? Pretty rough. So I kept repeating a few mantras in my head, and before I knew it, I didn’t feel so sluggish and was nearing my turnaround point.

This isn’t some big magical, mystical revelation, but these three mantras that I tend to use when the going gets tough are pretty universally applicable to other areas of my life. I like when my motivation points me generally toward one path, and I think these are all saying: Suck it up, buttercup.

Probably a little more poetically.

1. “Someday you won’t be able to run, but today is not that day.” Credit goes to a lot of people…I have no idea who the original source is, but my favorite marathoner told me this prior to my December 15K and it stuck. I’m especially reminded of this mantra outside of running when I take special time for myself – maybe just relaxing with a book and a cup of tea or visiting antique shops for hours on end. Someday, I may not have the free time to do those things, and I’m grateful to savor that now.

2. “This doesn’t feel bad, and you don’t have any reason why you can’t do this.” It’s usually easy for me to conjure up some reason why something hurts or I can’t do something. So when a run is going well, it’s good positive reinforcement for me to remind myself that it doesn’t feel bad, and there’s no reason why I can’t keep going with the run. This was my mantra for my first mile today, and it kept me from stopping to walk. The “no reason why you can’t do this” is something I remind myself of when I’m at work and the task seems overwhelming at first.

3. “Look how far you’ve come.” On Saturday’s 7 mile run, I started to lose a little mojo around mile 5.5. Then I thought, Self, look how far you’ve come! What’s 1.5 miles when you’ve already done 5.5? No, seriously? Barring injury, it’s nothing.  And the same is true of other areas in life. In particular, when things generally don’t seem to be going well, I think reminding ourselves of the obstacles we’ve previously overcome puts the ones we face in perspective.

And thus concludes the cheeseball portion of the evening.

Got a favorite yourself? Hit me up!



  1. A variation of #3 was one of my mantras going into the marathon (before Coach K read me the list of other mantras people sent in). Her running coach always says “During a marathon, there will always be a million reasons to stop, but only one reason to go on. Find out what your reason is, and hold on to it during the marathon”. After finishing up our last long training run before the marathon, my watch registered 19.75 miles at the meeting place we were to stop at. I saw that and thought to myself “Oh HELL NO! I did NOT come this all to run “almost” 20 miles”. So then I ran past everyone, only to find out later that my watch had lost signal for part of the run and we were already past 20 miles at the original spot.

    So, long story short: when the goin’ gets tough, the tough says “I did not train all week/all month/all summer just to stop at this point now”. If you think about all the work you’ve invested reaching your goal, it makes it way harder just to call it quits on a whim. Theoretically anyway :-).

    • I love it!

      I had that moment a few months back when I wasn’t seeing much downward progression on the scale, but felt like I’d altered my eating habits. I was ready to throw in the towel, but snapped out of it when I thought about the things I’d done to get where I was. It’s good to put things into perspective and take yourself out of the moment.

      Well done on the extra run. 🙂

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