by Melissa Brunner
The latest issue of "Runner's World" has a great feature on the women's running club at Topeka Correctional Facility. It also had an interesting column about a running mantra. A man had gotten some advice to have something he could think about when the going got tough. It could be as simple as "Come On!" or, as one person he asked shared, the names of children or loved ones. Whatever it was, it was something that could mentally keep you going.
I learned all too well about the mental game earlier this year when I just could not keep moving during the 10-mile Run for Life. Since then, I've resolved to get my brain in gear while trying to keep my body in shape. First, I remember that the reason I run in the first place is to help my mental state - not to beat myself up! In reading the column, I realized that I guess I have developed some "mantras" as I run. While I don't run community races to "race" per se, I do enjoy seeing my own progress. I realize slowing down is inevitable as I get older, but I also knew that I was tending to loaf a bit. So lately, as I've entered the last mile or made the turn for the finish line, I hear myself saying, "It only hurts for a little while!" Not that I"m advocating pain, but I'm telling myself to get out of my comfort zone and push a little! I suppose my other mantra would be all the people with whom I've come in contact that cannot run, particularly through the Capper Foundation and Muscular Dystrophy Association. What would they give to feel what to me is the familiar burn of a sprint to the finish? Who am I to complain about needing to get in a workout when so many others don't have the option?
Of course, mantras aren't just for runs. We also can find mantras in our life. Bad day at work? Think how fortunate you are to have a job. Feeling the stress of a major project deadine? Think how smart and talented you must be to have been entrusted with the task in the first place - you can do this!
I know it seems a bit hokey, but what's that saying about percent effort and the rest is attitude? I'd love to know your mantra - what gets you over the hump or through a rough patch?