Running is making me Mental!

Running is making me Mental!

I can do this…

What is it about the first mile (or three) of every run?  My body just doesn’t know what it’s doing and I’m convinced that I can’t run.  In my head, all I can think is, “what am I doing?  I’m not a runner?”.

There are also several (sometimes several thousand) times during my run where I’ll think I can’t — I’ve gotta quit — I’m too hot/tired/sore/fat/lame/etc… to finish this workout.

I literally have to shake the negative thoughts from my head, shoulders, and out my arms — it’s a ritual now — and replace them with positive thoughts.  My go to mantra is “I can do this!”  Sometimes I scream, “I CAN DO THIS!” in my head.  Sometimes I mumble, “I can do this, I can do anything, I can do this, I can do anything” in sync with my cadence.

Running Mantras

This mental block is more and more burdensome as my training distances become longer.  The more miles I rack up, the longer I’m trapped inside my own mind on the road/treadmill.  In researching this, I find that I’m not alone.  This website/blog post lists TONS of mantras including:

  • “A Hero Holds On One Minute Longer…”
  • “A Winner Never Quits And A Quitter Never Wins….”
  • “All Walls Have Doors…”
  • “Believe…”
  • “Better. Faster. Stronger…”
  • “Boom Chuggah Luggah Luggah…”
  • “Come What May, I Will Run…”
  • “Conquer…”
  • “Endure…”
  • “Every Mile Is The Marathon…”
  • “Extend Yourself…”
  • “Failure Is Not An Option…”
  • “Fearless…”
  • “Feet Fast, Legs Strong, I Can Do This All Day Long…”
  • “Finish Strong…”
  • “Flow…”
  • “Focus…Focus…Focus…”
  • “Focus…Form…Flow… ”
  • “Form First, Speed Will Follow…”
  • “Give Me Strength…”
  • “Go Faster…”
  • “Harder… Faster ….. Better ….. Stronger!!”
  • “Heart…Legs…Courage…Strength…”
  • “Hills Are My Friend…”
  • “I Am Because I Run, I Run Because I Am…”
  • “I Am Strong!…”
  • “I Am Strong, I Run My Race!…”
  • “I Am Tough… I Am Strong… I Am Healthy… I Am Awesome… I Love To Run…”
  • “I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me…”
  • ..”
  • “They Can’t Be Feeling That Much Better Than I Am Right Now…”
  • “This Hill Is Mine …”
  • “This Is Exactly Where I Want To Be…”
  • “This Too Shall Pass…”
  • “Thoughts Become Things, I Am A Winner!…”
  • “Today, Define Yourself”
  • “Transcend…”
  • “Trust Your Training…”
  • “Unbreakable…”
  • “Warrior…”
  • “When You Run, You Will Not Stumble…”
  • “Work It, Do It, Makes Us Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger…”
  • “You Are Only Limited By Yourself…”

Mental Tricks

Besides repeating mantras, it’s sometimes helpful to think of other things besides the fact that I’m running ___ miles.  For this, some mental tricks help.  Here are my favorites:

  • Think through the plot of a book you’ve read recently.  Try to think it through with as many details from beginning to end
  • Mentally re-watch a movie/tv show that you love
  • Do some mental math!  I love this one!!! (Count backwards from 2500 by sevens… Square primes in order…  Multiply pi!)
  • Have a karaoke party — works best on lonely roads — load your playlist with karaoke hits!
  • Consider your scenery — how would you paint it?  (Watching reruns of the Joy of Painting helps with this).
  • Play “remember when” — recall when you weren’t as strong or as able to run as far… Bask in the glow of your accomplishments  OR remember a fun story from your childhood — when you finish your run call your mom/dad/sibling and reminisce together.  (I started this by trying to remember each of my elementary school teachers… so many stories bubbled up)
  • Mental scavenger Hunt!
  • Alphabet game — see if you can spot things along your route that’ll get you through the whole alphabet!
  • Total body check — Check in with your body inch by inch.  I usually start with my feet — How’s my stride, strike, turnover?  Then move up to legs, hips, waist, etc… ending with my head to make sure I’m not holding a bad form.

Do you use a running mantra?  

What mental tricks do you use?

How do you get through the long runs?

Leave a Reply