Some runners live and breathe running and love it. Most of us, however, probably have a love/hate relationship with running. We love how it feels afterwards, sometimes even during a run, but we can all agree that at some point, running is grueling and we have to be mentally strong to pull our body through.
That’s where mantras come in handy. Transcendental meditation has grown in popularity recently partially because it’s meditation made easy. Rather than relying on counting breaths or getting a completely clear, no-thought brain, you’re focusing on a mantra.
It even makes our brains work better: The Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that, “Meditation is more than just a way to calm our thoughts and lower stress levels: Our brain processes more thoughts and feelings during meditation than when you are simply relaxing.”
When you’re repeating a mantra as you run, you’re doing a version of meditation, and it’s only going to boost your brainpower — and help you crush your running goals, whatever they may be.
MANTRAS ELITE RUNNERS USE
Rachel Schneider, Under Armour-sponsored athlete, professional middle-distance runner and nine-time All-American in track:
Sandra Gallagher-Mohler, a coach and trainer at the Under Armour Performance Center:
Matt Fitzgerald, running coach and author:
Amanda Brooks, a member of the Under Armour Women’s team and the voice behind popular website Run To The Finish:
READ MORE > SCIENCE SAYS: RUNNING BOOSTS BRAIN POWER
THREE WAYS TO FIND YOUR MANTRA
KEEP IT SIMPLE
A few words repeated over and over sink in a lot easier than sentences. Think of words that reflect how you want to feel on your run: strong, powerful, smooth, light, comfortable. Then, incorporate them into your mantra, preferably with an “I” statement (i.e., “I am powerful.”).
MAKE IT FUN
Having a mantra doesn’t have to be ‘woo-woo’ and involve chanting. It can be simple and or even a little goofy. Mantras aren’t that dissimilar from song lyrics, when you think about it, so if there’s a particular song you love, think about your favorite lyric, how it can apply to your run and then start repeating it during the tough points.
LINK YOUR MANTRA TO VISUALIZATION
Golfers can get better at golf just by visualizing their practice going well, according to a 2012 study. So why can’t you apply that concept to running? When you’re on the road, if trail running is your goal, use a mantra that will call to mind the trail you’re hoping to crush in your next race. While you’re repeating that, visualize running smoothly through technical terrain during your race.
Photo Credit: @RunToTheFinish
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