Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Last week I talked about chasing those big scary running goals. Ever since I wrote that post, I’ve been thinking about getting my head in the right frame of mind so I can go after those goals without falling apart mentally. At a certain point in preparation for a race, it becomes clear that you’ve put in the work and that your body is ready, but you still can’t be successful if you are not confident. One thing that has helped me is coming up with a short list of running mantras that I can say to myself when running get tough.
This past week, I had a tough track workout on the schedule and the weather was brutal. 91 degrees with 90% humidity. I knew that physically I could make it through but I wasn’t sure just how ugly it would get. I dreaded the workout all day, as the air quality worsened and the humidity didn’t dissipate. By the time I got to the track after work, my head was a mess.
As I started my warmup, I began cycling through my running mantras. Not one of the usual standbys were working for me.
So I tried a few new ones that popped into my bed while running in circles.
“This is where PRs are made.” This one got me through my second mile repeat. I just kept thinking that if I want to see a PR in the marathon in October, I’ve got to put in the work now. This kept running at a pace I wasn’t sure was possible due to the heat.
“Just stay in your lane.” This was both literal and metaphorical. The track was really crowded, with lots of groups training, so I did have to focus on staying in my lane as to not run into anyone. But also I just tried to remind myself to just focus on what I was doing right then and not think about the next lap or the next mile. To stay in my lane, so to speak. It worked.
“I get to do this.” Finally, I remembered that running is a gift and a choice. No one was making me run. If I didn’t run, the only one who would be affected was me. I have so many friends who are injured and who can’t run. They would love to have the chance to suffer through a track workout. Remembering that I’m fortunate to be able to do something I love is a powerful way to push through pain on a workout.
What are your mantras that get you through a tough run?