As the runners I coach know, I believe in mantras. I tell my runners to find a word or phrase that will get them through the difficult part of the event, or even a long training run, that will help them to keep moving. I wasn’t always a believer, though.
When I first started hearing and reading about mantras, I thought it was a bunch of psychological hoo-haw…all you needed was the ability to move, not a phrase! But then, one day in yoga, the instructor had us find a word or phrase to meditate upon. I had a 10K that weekend, and had been trying and trying to break the hour mark, but always came in just beyond. So, I sat and meditated on the phrase “strong swift legs”. That Sunday, while I was running along Crissy Field in San Francisco, the phrase re-entered my mind right when I needed it most.
I had just looked down at my watch to see the time and to see how far I had to go. I was on target to come in under an hour, but I was tired. I had been pushing myself the whole race and my legs just didn’t feel like they could push for another mile and a half. Then my mind started going…”strong swift legs” kept repeating itself in my head and I kept going. When I crossed the finish line, I was at 57 minutes and some change…I had done it!
I have been thinking about what my mantra will be for today. I am not going out to break any records but my own…under 7 hours and 55 minutes. That is my only goal. But, I came up with one that will get me through the day, and remind me of the person I have become…
Think power, be strong.