Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mental Mantra

Let's face it, runners love to run but it's not because it is easy. Pushing through pain and finding "mental toughness" is something that all runners must do. I recently came across a reading that basically stated, "running is uncomfortable! If you think about it,  you're pushing your body's average capability to overcome tremendous obstacles and physical limits, it's not supposed to be comfortable or easy in any way." And then it hit me like...

It really helped to think of running in those simple words. Sometimes in the midst of a run, we are tempted to quit, we are tempted by the pain and discomfort that our brain starts to tell us we are having. It begins to overcome you and the temptation to quit sets in. It's the self doubt that is the most harmful. Sometimes it's the discomfort that gets confused as pain. I have  read about the ability to tune into your actual pain. Your brain has this insane control over your body, and just as a dog, it needs to be trained! Sounds crazy, right? Well, it's true, if you really focus during your next workout, analyze the pain--is it real pain or is it discomfort? Majority of the time, it is the discomfort. So when your brain is telling you to quit but your body and your will wants you to keep going, how do you keep moving? You develop a mantra.

A mantra is a phrase or a few short words that keep you moving in the moments that are the most painful. I tell myself many different sayings or repeat powerful words to keep my head in the game and out of distractions that could derail my efforts. However, I still have not come up with my own original mantra for myself. I've been hearing a lot of different mantras from running friends and fitness idols that are really great. Here are just a few:

"Pain is weakness leaving the body."
"Sweat is fat crying"
"It hurts to be awesome."
"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." 

So how do you create your own mantra?
  1. Keep It Short & Simple--You want something that is quick and easy to say over and over again.
  2. Think Positive Thoughts--Think about what you are trying to accomplish. What are you struggling with? Flip it around with a positive focus. 
  3. Give It Some "Oomph"! -- Your mantra should have action words and strong adjectives that emit energy. 
  4. Subconscious Guidance-- You want the mantra to convey what you are trying to accomplish or how you want to feel after running (i.e. I am strong and only getting stronger or This is the healthier me with each step I take)
  5. Believe It, Live It--Think about the power in this mantra. This is guiding you through the pain and taking you one step closer to your ultimate goal. Fall deep within your mantra and allow all self doubt and other distractions to fall away, tune into only your mantra and focus on it. 

So now I ask you, do you have a mantra? How do you get through the hard moments to accomplish your goals? 

1 comment:

  1. Dad always told me since I was young... Starting with braces... No pain no gain.. Always stuck with me, as simple as it was - through gymnastics, soccer, tennis & no running. I also think about my girls when I'm hitting a tough hill like I did tonight... I hope one day I inspire them to be healthy & stay fit throughout their lives. They are my little gems of inspiration. Love this post cuz! I will try sending you my list tonight! Love you!