Repeat after me

Before training for a marathon in 2007, I scoffed at the idea of a mantra. I wasn’t a serious enough runner to chant crap to myself, I reasoned. I’m just not a mantra kind of girl.

Then, before a long run, I happened to read that before concerts, Beyonce tells herself: “I’m fierce!” I love me some Beyonce, so I gave it a try, repeating it nonstop for the last mile or so of my run.

It was the first long run I ever pulled out faster miles at the end than at the beginning. Turns out, I’m a mantra kind of girl after all.

I still make like Beyonce and tell myself I’m fierce when times get tough. I’ve added some new mantras and quotes to my repetiore since then, and I’ll share them here in the special race-week motivation series.

“Run til you puke.” (This seems to have the magical effect of preventing me from vomiting;I’ve never actually run til I puked on a day I employed this mantra).

“It makes my tushy less cushy.” I know — these hardly sound like the kind of hard-core words of wisdom that could power you through a tough workout. The mantra comes from a runner who’s qualified for the Boston Marathon several times, talking about a hill loop her group runs often. It crept into my head one day on one of my own hill workouts, and I found it both hilarious and oddly effective.

Some classic quotes that will also get you out the door:

“Running is a big question mark that’s there every day. It asks you, “Are you going to be a wimp, or are you going to be strong today?” – Peter Maher

“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement. -Steve Prefontaine

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” -George Sheehan

“You gain strength, confidence and courage by every experience in which you
really stop to look fear in the face.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Some think guts is sprinting at the end of a race. But guts is what got you there to begin with. Guts start back in the hills with six miles to go and you’re thinking of how you can get out of this race without anyone noticing. Guts begin when you still have forty minutes of torture left and you’re already hurting more than you ever remember.” – George Sheehan

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

What quotes or mantras get you fired up during a tough workout? Post your own inspiring or hilarious words below.


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2 responses to “Repeat after me

  1. Courtney

    I once worked at a camp (before Finding Nemo). There was another instructor there— Jason. I rode with him to Washington DC one weekend. Whenever we passed someone running, he’d say “Keep going. Keep running. Don’t stop. Keep running…. Keep going. Keep running. Don’t stop. Keep running….” (Of course knowing the silly tone of voice and cadence is most of the substance of this mantra— but to get the idea, you can think of Dory in Nemo “just keep swimming. just keep swimming.”)

    So, I can almost hear the little voice from cars and people that I pass. “Keep going. Keep running. Don’t stop. Keep running.” Makes me smile and it makes me keep going!

  2. nic

    “don’t kill the baby… don’t kill the baby… though it is screaming, don’t kill the baby.”

    best of luck! we’ll be thinking of you!

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