A few years ago, while I was training for the NYC marathon, I attempted my first ever 20 mile run. I wasn’t particularly nervous but at the same time 20 miles is nothing to take lightly, especially since it was first attempt at that distance. I set out on my run and ran fairly well for the first 13 or so miles. I wasn’t killing it but I wasn’t slowly dying either. Up until that point, the run had just been kind of meh. Once I hit 14 or 15 miles I bonked. Hard. I struggled to finish the run and quite frankly, I didn’t. I managed to pull off a pathetic run/walk/stagger from mile 15 to 19 and then just had to call it a day. That run made me cry. Not tears of sadness or pain but tear of pure anger. Disappointment. I felt like I gave up and that just isn’t my style. I don’t like to let myself down.
I took some time to think that run over and figure out what went wrong. Did I not hydrate properly the day before? Was I not taking in the right fuel at the right time during the run? Did I not get enough sleep? There could have been a million reasons why that run wasn’t a success. However, one reason in particular stood out to me. I wasn’t mentally in it. As I mentioned above, the beginning of the run was just kind of meh. I wasn’t feeling it and I let that mindset take over. I was being negative and doubting myself. Well, guess what? That mindset killed the run. It wasn’t about what my body could physically do. It could run that far, no doubt. My mind, on the other hand, said no. When you allow your mind to doubt, then success is likely not to follow. Doubt will win and this run of mine is a perfect example.
From that day on, I decided that doubt and negativity will not control my running. I decided when things get tough, I am going to keep it positive. The one thing that has helped me to keep the good vibes flowing is my running mantra. A running mantra is short words or phrases that you say over and over. I like to think of it as meditation for runners. When you repeat nothing but positive things, your mind can’t help but go to a positive place. With your mind in a positive place, there is nothing you cannot do. Period.
So, you might be wondering what my mantra is. My favorite quote of all time is: “There will come a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.” I either repeat this sucker over and over or shorten it and say, “Today is not that day.” It fires me up each and every time and keeps my mind right where it needs to be, even when things get really tough.
What is your mantra?
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