You can do anything for 3 minutes, and other stories I tell myself

I’ve finally gotten back into a bit of a running routine. I’m following Jeff Galloway’s training schedule for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in January 2014, but thanks to the upheaval I’ve been through these last few months I’m a little behind on training. I also modify Galloway’s training method to get through my long runs on Sundays, not Saturdays. I’m one of those people who needs to train her body what to expect. In this case, thinking “oh, it’s just another long run” on race day helps.

And there’s story #1 I tell myself.

Mantras get me through my runs

I’m a huge fan of mantras when I run, even though I don’t think “hey, it’s mantra time” or anything. I’m pretty sure someone who happens by on my running path would think I’m mentally challenged if not for the running, the gear and the sweat. (Heck, maybe even with the running, gear and sweat.) Because I talk to myself. A lot.

My favorite mantra is “You can do anything for 3 minutes.” When I first started running, it was 2 minutes, so my self-confidence is growing. I tell myself “you can do anything for 3 minutes” when I am loathing a part of my run, or I’m doing interval training and think I can’t lift my feet one more time. I’ve used it while hiking, shoveling snow, even cleaning dog poo from the floor. And I believe that story — I calm down and often forget to check the watch to see whether the 3 minutes have passed.

I noticed today that this mantra settles more than my mind. I haven’t been doing very well on nutrition, particularly following a gluten-free diet. So, telling my intestines they had to endure running for just three minutes before a break seemed to help them feel better, too.

Another one I repeat often is “get there.” Now “there” could mean a ton of things. The end of the street, the end of an interval, even the next tree or light post if I’m having an especially rough day. Often “give it to me” and “it’s mine” accompany this one, which in combination make me sound like a toddler in the throes of a tantrum. But they work.

And maybe that’s the key to mantras. They can be primal and simplistic, or supportive and rational. They just have to work.

Got a mantra that works for you? I’d love to hear it!



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