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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

How to Use Mantras While Running

Would you like to start a run with a little simplicity and focus? Need to head out with clarity of purpose that helps you be laser focused? Time to use a phrase to inspire your run.

And there’s a pretty basic way to do it.

One phrase. Your mantra. A mantra is a phrase or a singular word that adds belief and power to get you through discomfort, pain, or even boredom while running.

Think of phrases that make you feel strong and focused. Maybe it’s a verse from a song. Maybe it’s a quote from the “Little Engine That Could” (just kidding, but not really). Over the years, I’ve coached many runners who had that little something that fueled their runs, especially on those last 6.2 miles in a marathon.

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

“Don’t stop believing, hold onto the feeling.”

“Stay focused, run hard.”

“Go faster, push harder.”

“I’m a machine!”

Repeating the phrase over and over helps steer your mind from negative to positive thoughts. Much like yoga enthusiasts use mantras in moves or meditation, that “ohm” time does help to refocus.

For example, practice the mantra “beast mode.” On each footstrike, say one word. Left, right, left, right: beast, mode, beast mode. Or a three word mantra: left, right, left becomes kick, some, butt. Kick, some, butt.

Think this is malarkey? Think again.

Many very visible organizations, such as Pepsi and the Atlanta Falcons, and many smaller ones, such as the Gettysburg College women’s lacrosse team and Santa Clara University men’s basketball team, have gone through the “phrase” process over and over, renewing their sense of purpose year after year.

It starts with you. One phrase. Big impact. Your run needs your attention!

Dr. Lisa Gonzales is a 2019 Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon Ambassador, and a 7-time pacer for the Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon and 5-time pacer for the Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon. She is a head coach for South Bay RUN365 club and is USATF certified.

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