Running mantras…yey or nay?

I’ve a quick question, have you ever used a mantra when you’ve been running or doing any exercise where you’ve got to push yourself?

If you pick a running magazine at the moment you’re likely to come across an article extolling the virtues of having a mantra. Or that’s how it feels to me. It seems having a mantra is the ‘in thing’ at the moment.

The theory is that a using a mantra can help you push yourself further and improve your running. I guess the aim is to distract your brain and focussing on something else.

I’ll be honest I’ve always been a bit suspicious of it and never really bought into having a mantra.

But…I’ve kind of figured that there might just be something to it since there’s so much being written about the value of having a mantra.

According to the articles I’ve read you need to try a few out for size to see what works for you.

The basic principle though is that it needs to be short and sweet, easy to remember and quite punchy so that it motivates you.

I’ve tried a few now and the first one I went with, ‘I am fit and I am strong’, felt like it was working for my longer runs (ok so I only did 4 miles which isn’t really long but you know what I mean) but when I tried it for a speed session it was all a bit wordy and I struggled to keep my pace fast enough or it just got jumbled in my head. Not ideal.

So I went back to the drawing board and came up with ‘You can do it’. Catchy I know! It’s a bit close to a certain brand’s slogan as well, which may well prove that it’s marketing genius! ‘You can do it’ felt like it worked for the speed session as it was punchy but I’m not sure about it on longer runs.

I’ve also tried ‘Keep on running’ which is really just a take on Dory from Finding Nemo and ‘keep on swimming’. Again it’s ok but…

I don’t listen to music when I run (mostly because I have weird shaped ears and I could never get the headphones to stay in and now I’m just used to it). So, sometimes I have random snippets of songs going round my head. They’re not a mantra but they are a bit like having a metronome in my head to keep me at a steady pace.

Weirdly the one that always arrives in my brain first is ‘Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree’. Bit odd I know. It’s the sort of song that I must have learned in school or through Brownies I guess.

I think there’s still some work to be done. I’m starting to wonder whether it’s ok to have different mantras for different types of running.

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