Throwback Wednesday: What’s Your Running Mantra?

Jake doesn't quit, and neither does Kristen.

Here's an oldie-but-goodie because you can always use a new (or new-to-you) mantra, right? 

Word on the street is that Train Like a Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line - and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity is starting to ship...can you hear my excitement from the keyboard? As you strain your ears, check out the next installment of your awesome motherly feedback that will forever live on this lovely website.

Take It From a Mother: Do You Have a Mantra?

“The old Helen Reddy song, ‘I Am Woman!’ I sometimes sing the lyrics out loud if I need a little extra push”
Dawn (favorite workout: always the last workout she completed)

Little steps, little steps. An article in Runner’s World mentioned how a smaller stride makes you faster and stronger.”
—Deb (never puked, post race. “I’m not a big fan of barfing. Ever.”)

Earn the downhill!
—Suzanne (access to trails was on her new-house-must-have list for realtor)

Don’t quit.
Kristen (backstory: before the Dallas half-marathon, one of her boys drew a picture of the word ‘quit’ with a circle around it and a line through it. Even when she injured herself at mile ten, she kept seeing that card in her head. Turns out, she broke a bone in her foot.)

A mantra I can get behind.

Forever forward. My husband put it on my Road ID bracelet”
Maggie (Mentally tough? “I can hold a pace really well, have run a marathon and listen to my body si I can stop when necessary. I think that all takes mental toughness.”)

I’m in charge! Power!”
—Amanda (as a skin cancer survivor, she always wears a hat and sunscreen on runs)

I will never give up
—Kesha (rewards herself after a long run with a Starbucks skim mocha. "My version of post-run chocolate milk.”)

 “Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.”
—Misha (must-have gear: friends and good shoes.)

“In the midst of pushing during delivery, the nurse holding my left leg exclaimed, ‘Wow, your legs are strong!’ It filled me up with a little extra I didn’t know I still had in me after 40 hours of labor. When I feel lousy on a run, I remember that nurse’s voice and her words and I keep pushing through to the finish.”
—Tara (best trick for keeping kids entertained in the stroller: cranking her music. “No mother-of-the-year-award for me?”)

“One of my first grade students, Aaron, once told me, ‘Run like a cheetah’. I play that over in my mind again and again during races and think, 'Aaron, I’m trying!'”
Laura (dry heaves at the finish line of almost every race. “If I’m not coughing and feeling ill, I’m irritated that I didn’t push myself hard enough.”)

“Try not to laugh. In the winter, it’s ‘I’m a snowflake,' as in, I’m light and can float in the air to help my form. In the spring it’s ‘I’m a butterfly’.”
—Martha (guessing she’s a falling leaf in autumn; word is still out her summer imagery)

“’Work it, shake it ‘lil momma, let me see you do the Jane Fonda.’ It’s from a Mickey Avalon song with a great beat. Toward the end of a long training run, say mile 15, it kicks me into high gear.”
—Lauren (started running a decade ago, when a guy she was dating told her she was too fat and out-of-shape to run a marathon. “They were nicer words. I just don’t remember them.”)

I am a runner.”
—Erika (runs slow and steady during a race, “with a crazy burst at the end when I see the digital clock.”)

“No, but I need one.”
—Carmen (sex or alcohol the night before a race? “No, too nervous.”)

Now we're taking it to you mothers: what's your mantra?

80 responses to “Throwback Wednesday: What’s Your Running Mantra?

  1. Be present. I have a tendency to start thinking too much about what is ahead of me, which can cause the wheels to start falling off! I remind myself to be present right now, in the mile I’m in, and to find something to be grateful about right then at that moment. It has served me well during some rough runs.

  2. “Effortless effort.” I got this from Iyengar yoga (which I should do more of). The idea is to use your strength to make the effort, with the physical and mental power as a natural part of the action. Effortless effort is an ideal, but I find that saying this to myself reminds me that a continual push will be necessary. I suspect that *trying to figure it out* (what the heck is it, actually?) keeps my mind off the struggle. I don’t always use it on a training run, but it comes in handy during a race.

  3. “MY miles” I like to remind myself that the miles I run belong to me. I can run them as slow as I want, go where I want, and go as long or as short as I want. 🙂

  4. Three of them… “I can do anything for (fill in the blanks) minutes.” “piece o’ cake.” And..when I’m with my BRF, “We’re really doin’ it, buddy!”

  5. With a bum foot and a failing hip, and after months of PT, my mantra on the rare, beautiful days when I run is always “Engage your core and be grateful.” A reminder to use the core muscles I have been working on all year and be thankful for the moment!

  6. My mantra was given to me by my meditation teacher in the 70s and told me it was never to be shared….so I can’t.

  7. Hard work. Determination.

    Maybe I watch a little too much Biggest Loser. And Dolvett isn’t even my favorite trainer but this mantra stuck with me.

  8. JUST F#$%ing DO IT. It’s gotten me through a WHOLE lotta miles. Haha! I also love, “She believed she could, so she did.” In fact I loved it so much that I got it tattooed on my foot! (My first and ONLY tattoo, by the way.) 😉
    (After I got my tattoo, I couldn’t run for two weeks. It almost killed me!)

  9. Lately its been a line from Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself”
    Here I go its my shot, feet fail me not, this may be the only oppurtunity that you got” Its really long for a mantra , but it does the job.

  10. “Relaxed is fast” for when my shoulders are up around my ears and I’m getting tired. Also, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming” in Dory’s voice, from Finding Nemo (works even when I’m running).

    P.S. Ordered Train Like a Mother for my Kindle! Can’t wait to dig in 😉

  11. I always think of the lyrics from the last song on my playlist
    ” rock what you got, don’t ever let them make you stop”.
    It reminds me to keep fighting even when it’s hard. Also at the finish when I really want to sprint I usually say out loud to myself things like “come on”, “let’s go”, “run”.

  12. It sounds counter-intuitive, bit I repeat “relax.” It makes me pull my shoulders down from up around my ears, fix my form, and enjoy myself. Once I “relax,” I seem to pick up speed and float. 🙂

  13. “Run your own race” (because I guess the voice in my head talks to me like I should be in the second person). It’s taken some time for me to belong to a running group/run with my boyfriend without making those runners’ goals mine. I really love racing short distances, and I have finally been able to tell myself that those distances are challenges–not just stepping stones to longer, slower races.

  14. “God move my feet, God fill my lungs!” It’s on my road ID. Sometimes you’re feet feel like lead and being asthmatic, sometimes I just need a good deep breath (or 20)!!

  15. I have two mantras. First when I’m struggling and want to slow down or walk I ask myself “what are you made of?”. Second, “walking takes longer”. That usually works and gets me pumped up enough to finish strong.

  16. when I feel like quitting I put on the Eagles song – Get Over It. In my early childhood I had multiple leg surgeries and the doctors didn’t think I would ever walk unassisted. In my 30’s I had a serious illness that as a side note caused severe anemia – for 4 or 5 years I could barely walk a block (a years worth of iron through an IV was needed to fix that). I am now healthy and decided last year to become a runner. I may not be fast but I am determined!

  17. Strength, endurance, & soul! I love forever forward though, might have to steal it and when my sense of humor is still in tact I go with pain is weakness leaving the body.

  18. I tell myself if I stop to walk it will take longer to get home and finish…then start thinking about my healthy post run food options 😉

  19. I always think to myself, “There will come a day when I can’t run anymore.” And the mantra is, “Today is not that day.”

  20. usually 2 or 3 come to mind:
    kill the hill… suck it up… and pain is weakness leaving the body. Bt my fave of all times is… do that thing oyu fear the most.. for is the one that is more gratifying… I use that one when I am chickening out on taking a big, scary hill…

    Also, when hitting hills: a hill is just a pile of dirt… it has nothing on you! and I tell my legs… bring me home!

  21. “No one else can do it for you.” Meaning, I need to be the one to get my run done! I have this taped to the wall in front of our treadmill along with “Run Mama Run!”

  22. 2 silly songs pop into my head when I’m struggling, ‘put one foot in front of the other…’ & ‘just keep swimming (running)’. It also helps that I have a random playlist that bounces all over the music field.

  23. Suck It Up (when the winds are gusting in the spring to 39 knots and the dog needs a run) (when the sand storm or dust devil comes out of nowhere and I am three miles from home)
    Cruisin Slow and Low (somedays I just need a slow and low run and this fits my bill) (thanks Ramone from Cars)

  24. I was feeling bad while out running one day and a bunch of runners passed me. One was on her cell phone! I came up with “I am slow, but I go” and use that to keep me moving and get my butt out the door on a bad day.

  25. I have two. First is the song “Defying Gravity” from Wicked and the second is from a woman named Heather at my local running store. She told me anyone can run a marathon, it is a mental thing more than a physical one.

  26. I tend to have trouble pushing myself to do more, so mine is “You can do more than you think you can.” Also, when I’m getting tired and want to walk, I say “If you keep running… (or sometimes “If you go faster…”) it will be over sooner.”

  27. Respect, Honor, Cherish. As in, Respect the training…Honor the commitment…Cherish the results! Always gets me through.

  28. From my all time favorite book, The Little Engine that Could – “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” and then for the last mile “I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could.”

  29. Lately it has been “light and tall” – something a local respected PT said up here when he was observing me running on the treadmill this winter. Since I’m 5’3″ on a good day – at least I can think I’m tall when I’m running and it helps me to get back into proper form when I tire.

  30. “Almost home,” is it for me. It works for runs at home and at races because the sight of my mailbox or the finish line always evokes an extra burst of energetic inspiration. As much as I enjoy the journey, it’s always great to get, “home.”

  31. Lately it is a line from that movie the help, not that I have it verbatim, but it goes something like little girl you strong enough, you good enough, and dont let anyone tell you differnt. and of course I hear it in a southern accent.

  32. Be Bold (sign up for the race), Be Brave (show up at the start line), Be Strong (finish strong and smile for the camera)!!

  33. Depends on the day, but “keep going” and “less whining, more running” are up there.

    During a recent 10K I kept asking myself “how badly do you want this?” The answer? Very badly! And I PR’d by about 90 seconds too!

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