The Athlete’s Mantra

“Chuck Norris wouldn’t quit”

Like having an internal Nike ad on repeat, many athletes have a personal mantra.

Columnist Gigi Douban wrote for Runner’s World: “Mantras – those short power bytes you play over and over in your head – can help you stay focused and centered. They can be your inner motivation when you need it most. Finding a mantra isn’t hard: It can pop into your head as you’re listening to your iPod, chatting with training partners, or flipping through a running magazine. But having one that suits you … is the key to making it work.” Read the interesting full-length column here.

If you’ve never had one before, I highly recommend coming up with one. It’s a good motivator, but more importantly when the going gets tough, you can focus on that mantra instead of what your body may be screaming at you.

For my first marathon, I repeated in my head “Mind over matter.” No matter how badly my legs started to hurt and how badly I just wanted to sit down, I had made up my mind long ago that I was going to finish the race no matter what. So, I shuffled along, mind over matter.

When biking up a long hill, I use a riff off a “Finding Nemo” quote: “Just keep spinning.” (My sister-in-law uses “Just keep swimming” when she runs).

My old bike club often threw around the phrase “HTFU,” which is “Hurry the @#$% up” put nicely.

Lately, my husband and I like to say “Pain don’t hurt” (a “Road House” reference, embarrassingly enough). It’s caught on in our little running group.

I’d love to hear some of your mantras – leave a comment listing what helps you get through a run or ride!

Want to read what others use as mantras? Here are a few forums that collected some mantras, a Cool Running forum, Runner’s World forum and this tri blog. There are ton more, just do a Google search to find more.

Here are some of my favorites from the aforementioned sites:

  • “Who do you want to be?”
  • “Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit.”
  • “I am tough
  • “I am strong
  • “I am healthy
  • “I am awesome
  • “I’m a lean, mean, fighting machine.”
  • “Feet fast, legs strong, I can do this all day long.”
  • “Today I will do what you won’t so tomorrow I can do what you can’t.”
  • “Suck it up, buttercup.”
  • “Beer is near.”
  • “Don’t give up.  Don’t ever give up.”
  • ”I can do this. I will do this.”

About kareiner

I'm an active mom who loves to cook. I'm passionate about health and fitness. I'm no expert, nutritionist, personal trainer or miracle worker. I just like being active and I like good food.
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6 Responses to The Athlete’s Mantra

  1. Kelly Robinson says:

    I too like “Just keep swimming”. But lately it’s just been ” breathe, you can do this” Also “Pain don’t hurt.”

  2. “Pain is only temporary.” At least the good kind. When I’m climbing a nasty trail on my mtb or pushing through the last interval on a training ride, I just think to myself, there are 24 hours in a day. I can hurt for a few more seconds.

  3. EJ Z says:

    Wow Kim, I did a search on Athlete Mantra’s and your article was listed 2nd! Keep it up! EJ

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