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Christine Luff

Do You Have a Running Mantra?

By May 21, 2009

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Whenever I hit a rough patch during a race, I try to use one of my running mantras to clear my head and focus on the task at hand. A running mantra can be any short, motivational phrase that you repeat in your head while running. It can be a line from a song, an inspiring quote, or just a couple of words that motivate you, such as "One step at a time". One that I like to use is, "Feeling stronger, getting faster." It's just a few simple words, but it somehow motivates me to dig deeper and keep going.

I also like to use running mantras at the end of a hard run or race, when I know approximately how much longer I'll be running. I'll tell myself, "Just ten more minutes. Just ten more minutes. Just nine more minutes" and so on. Doing a mental countdown in my head calms me down and distracts me from any pain I might be feeling.

Do you have a running mantra? What goes through your mind when you're running? How do you get through a mentally tough run? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


May 23, 2009 at 10:11 am
(1) NaderAlfie says:

I try to “disappear” into God, so to speak. I am less conscious of myself and my own pain when I lose myself in this way.

By the way, Christine, I really enjoy your posts.

May 25, 2009 at 8:55 pm
(2) kadir says:

I always tell myself “heart of steel” when it gets harder through the run.

May 29, 2009 at 9:34 am
(3) creaky says:

mine is “Smooth and strong all day long.”

May 30, 2009 at 9:52 am
(4) Maurice says:

when pain starts appearing i just ask myself, “what is “pain”?” and i answer by saying “pain is nothing, it doesn’t exist, i cannot feel it.” and so on…

May 31, 2009 at 12:56 am
(5) aestus says:

I just started using this one;

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is not.”

June 2, 2009 at 3:53 am
(6) Phil Crescent says:

I find myself repeating “winners never quit, quitters never win” when the going gets tough

My bck-up mantra is “if it’s hurting, it’s working”. This really does help me get through some tough times as well

June 4, 2009 at 10:29 pm
(7) KHenry says:

“I’m Healthy. I can! I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again!”

June 5, 2009 at 10:08 am
(8) Ana says:

I keep telling myself:

“I am the wind. I am strong, light, fast”

I stress strong if i’m feeling any aches, light if I just want to be faster or not be so aware of my feet pounding the pavement. I feel it makes my step lighter.

June 5, 2009 at 8:12 pm
(9) rayray says:

i remind myself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. He is the one who gets me through it all, including running. :)

June 6, 2009 at 2:46 pm
(10) Jason says:

I just imagine my legs as piston; failure is not an option

January 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm
(11) workplayhard says:

I usually perform math calculations for hours on end and it really helps pass the time because your mind must focus on the process of calculating and nothing else. Simple things such as “if I run 8:45/mile for 13.1 miles that would be, but if I run 8:35/mile then it would be, or what about 9;05/mile”.
Other math tricks might include squaring numbers from 1-40, doing square roots of the same sets at random, or multiplying two digit numbers.
Sounds weird but really works for me.

February 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm
(12) Thinkblue says:

When I hit those moments where I feel like stopping, I think of a quote from Lance Armstrong. “Pain is temporary, Quitting Lasts Forever”

May 6, 2010 at 11:48 am
(13) Keep on going says:

Anima Sana In Corpore Sano (ASICS)
Running cleanses the mind and body

March 17, 2011 at 3:00 pm
(14) Kristin says:

“There will be a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.”

April 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm
(15) Natalia says:

I just have conversations with myself in my head. No, i’m not socially akward and talk to myself, only silently o_O
Hey, it helps past the time.

April 14, 2011 at 11:55 am
(16) Ab says:

During the latter part of my first half-marathon, it was things like saying ‘one more mile down go’ ad infinitum or ‘next milemarker’s yours’ etc…

Mantras DO help, dude…

July 16, 2011 at 10:19 pm
(17) Sam says:

“Pain is just weakness leaving your body!”

August 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm
(18) Nick Stattus says:

I like to use the line, “pain is temporary, glory is forever”.

October 3, 2011 at 4:05 am
(19) Alex says:

“Make it hurt” or “What if you could?”

October 19, 2011 at 10:14 am
(20) Jen says:

I use positive words the brain doesn’t interpret negative words such as I’m not tired. I think in positive action verbs like, I feel great, and pep talk myself.

October 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm
(21) Allison says:

During my cross country races, I usally say, “What doesn’t kill me, makes we stronger,” and “Just keep running. Just keep running. Just keep running, running, running.” Sometimes I say, “They’re tired too.” To remind myself that the other runners are just as tired as I am. I also sing songs in my head, modivational ones. It really helps me get through me races!

January 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm
(22) Donna Patrum says:

Love all the quotes. I guess one of my favorite is “Finish It”

January 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm
(23) Inpain says:

Mine is “One, two, three, four, there’s nothing wrong with being sore, five, six, seven, eight, keep your breathing and your gait.”

March 21, 2012 at 10:56 pm
(24) Kevin says:

I borrow one word from the Marines, which I don’t even feel worthy of saying, but I rationalize it as being my way of showing respect to these heros and on every third step I say one of these words, “One….more….step….hooah!”

April 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm
(25) Moh says:

Repeating “I am strong.” (tough, mighty, powerful, etc.)
Repeating “Mind over matter.” (any thing to say how the mind conquers the physical body)
Repeating “I feel good” (happy, calm, relaxed, etc.)

July 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm
(26) Brennan Johnson says:

Good ones from everyone. They’ve helped me. Thank you!

I’ve read how relaxing and not tensing up is so important so I slowly repeat “Relax” in my mind and concentrating on my breathing and feeling the air go in and out of my lungs. I pay attention to each muscle being efficient and as relaxed as possible. I think about how it’s me, the ground, and the air… and that’s it. :)

Another one, is “Just do what you can do and run what you run” so that I don’t try to put forth too much effort and outpace myself.

Another one is “keep the pace. keep the pace.”

and/or “you can do it”

I listen to only positive songs on my ipod.

August 28, 2012 at 1:06 am
(27) Terence W. says:

I keep telling myself:

“I don’t care, I’m getting my finisher T..”

January 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm
(28) Kara Oakley says:

I watched a documentary about race across america, a cycling race, one of the hardest in the world. The man who was in the film quoted, that every day you can beome stronger or weaker, but you will never plato, you will never stay the same. The choice is yours.

I also love “Are you gonna ride or hide”
i live in Cheyenne Wyoming – wind, snow, alititude, I don’t hide

January 9, 2013 at 11:15 am
(29) Rachel says:

I like the quote from Don Juan, “you can be happy or you can be miserable; it takes the same amount of energy.”

I also tell myself that I am “fleet of foot’.

When pain arises, I just acknowledge it and name it (there is cramping, or stabbing, or aching) but never claim it as my own, just as something that is there and everything is impermanent. When it’s really bad I repeat the word “anicha’ over and over. i spelled it wrong but it is the Pali word for impermanence.

January 15, 2013 at 7:00 pm
(30) idefix4ro says:

“one foot in front of the other” – break it down to basics. It’s not rocket science and it’s not Mount Everest. I can always convince myself I have enough energy to put one foot in front of of the other a few more times.

July 12, 2013 at 5:01 am
(31) Maryam sattari says:

I during my effort raise my hands repeatedly and thanks GOD giving mey strength and tolerate to run and I want him more energi to go on.
I always repeat these words in my mind : Yes if others can then you

July 28, 2013 at 9:25 pm
(32) Nahom says:

I remember two things:

1. The name my P.E. teacher gave me: “(my name), the dream, the myth, the legend.” (because he knows that I gave so much effort in cross country, even though I never ran in my life before) I expand on it sometimes.

2. The chorus of Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. Sometimes, I play around with it, “I’m waking up I feel it in my shins, enough to make me collapse. Welcome to cross country.”

August 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm
(33) Mo says:

I stole this from an ex professional athlete, current recovering alcoholic (self-announced) who became a very successful realtor whom I saw on a reality show years ago: “Out w/ fear & in w/ faith.” I coridnate that w/ my breathing all throughout marathons. It helps me immensely as I struggle w/ self doubt. Wish I could remember his name. He seems like quite a character.

September 25, 2013 at 11:00 am
(34) Helen says:

To the tune of the children’s song, ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes,’ I replace their parts of the body with the parts of mine that hurt the most…’knees, toenails, feet and ears (feet and ears)’. Works a treat and makes me giggle everytime!

November 30, 2013 at 10:35 am
(35) Tina says:

I like to encourage other runners while I run. It gives me extra energy and happiness to make someone else feel better and often times they will encourage you too.

I repeat Philippians 4:13 and Hebrews 12:1-3 in my head, which fire me up more than anything else. Relating my battle in the run to battles with sin and life make me want to fight to the end.

March 16, 2014 at 10:45 am
(36) Anton says:

When I find myself going through a rough patch during a race, I ask myself: (repeatedly)

“Who is stronger, you or the pain?”

to which I shout to myself,

“I AM!”.

That usually keeps me going

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