Give Me Your Mantras!!

In some ways, I have yet to accept what I will put my body through next Sunday.  I haven’t fully wrapped my head around the idea that I will be running a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles.  It scares me.  When I think about it, I kind of get excited, but mostly get the heart-pounding butterfly feeling in my stomach.  So instead, I am trying to focus on only one discipline at a time and not think about what lies ahead until it’s time to tackle it.  I mean, I’ve swam 2.4 miles before.  I’ve biked 105 miles.  I’ve run a bunch of marathons.  I can do each of those distances.

But I know I will reach a point next Sunday when I don’t want to take another step. When I will want to sit on the side of the road and stop.  Maybe cry.  Maybe quit.  It will happen.  It’s just a question of when.

So rather than freak out about it (which is pointless since the race is just 11 days away), I am trying to work on my physical and mental readiness.  Physically, I will do what I can to postpone that moment.  Things like tapering, getting enough sleep, fueling and hydrating properly on the bike, taking it as easy as I can on the bike.  They will all help delay that pain. But, it will come.

Mentally, I am working on visualization, race strategy, worst-case scenarios.

I’ve written about how I’ve worked on strengthening my mind these last few months during Ironman training. I’ve written about how I have gotten used to running uncomfortably. I have practiced running tired. I have come to expect and welcome the pain.  I’ve taught myself how to keep pushing. I’ve written about how I use certain mantras (Embrace the PainTired is JUST a state of mind) to get me through a tough run or race.

embrace the pain


I plan to write out some of these mantras and put them in my fuel belt, write one or two on my arm, and put the others in my drop bag and/or tape them to the outside (most likely my T2 and special needs run bag which I will have access to at the halfway point of the run).

But I need your help. I want more of them.  I want to have a whole list of them that I can use and repeat to myself when things get dark.  Ones that will push me.  Maybe put a smile on my face.

So tell me, what is your favorite mantra that you use???

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    63 thoughts on “Give Me Your Mantras!!

    1. Pingback: Old School Blogging – List of Fives

    2. You are amazing! I have been following your blog religiously since you reached out to me last year and I admire how hard you have trained, even and especially when it required a very early start to your day. I can appreciate that with my Badwater training!

      One thing that I always repeat to myself when I start getting tired is “run clean” or “run focused.” It helps me concentrate more on running with a smooth, relaxed form instead of how much pain I’m in. I especially do this late in a race when I “should” be able to run the flats and downhills but don’t always have the strength. You’ve got this! I’ll be tracking you :)

    3. I need a mantra during speed workouts in particular.:

      “you will always be slow if you stop”

      The guilt usually works.

      Good luck this Sunday!

    4. I always repeat “Quitting will hurt more” when I am wanting to quit. Also, completely silly, I imagine Dory from Finding Nemo saying “Just keep swimming” which usually makes me smile adn calms the nerves a little bit. It also prooves that I am secretly a child :) You are more than prepared and will be AMAZING out there!
      Karen @ Runner Girl Eats recently posted..Morning Workouts: Why and HowMy Profile

    5. This one always makes me smile.

      ‘The truth is, you can always go farther. Sometimes, the truth hurts.’

    6. Girl- i have been following you- just not commenting- and you are more than prepared. This is coming from an Ironman’s wife. All I can say is that when he’s doing his Ironmen he just pictures our daughter and how much of a super hero he wants to be for her. Not so much a mantra, but visual motivation. Show those boys your superwoman cape :) Can’t wait to hear!
      PS- My husband races in Mont Tremblant at the end of August. We’re hoping for a Kona qualifier. Why don’t you get one of those and we can vacay together?!
      emma @ a mom runs this town recently posted..Support Saturday Soles4SoulsMy Profile

    7. I’m getting excited adrenaline butterflies for you, just reading this post!!
      CHASE IT DOWN. It’s yours for the taking, go get it!
      and love this quote Jess from Pace of Me shared:
      The best way out is always through. –Robert Frost
      Go get it Michele! You’re gonna rock it.
      Sarah @RunFarGirl recently posted..Embracing the TaperMy Profile

    8. Deep Breath, Head up, Keep Moving. I am strong and I WILL finish. This is your time, right now, live it and believe it.

      Your babies will be waiting for you at the finish. Cheering for you every step mama!
      Lindsey Hein recently posted..Muncie 70.3 Race ReportMy Profile

    9. I always remind myself of this when it gets tough…

      “Pain is temporary, but your finishing time posted on the internet is forever.”

      and whenever I do a race I just think of the word “Strength”..I actually go it tattooed I loved it so much. It helps me get through anything!

      Good job next weekend! I’ll be thinking of you! I’ve been following you on Instagram the whole time!!! You have helped me so much for the nursing post since I’m getting back into endurance after having my little guy.

    10. I went to watch my first marathon in 2008. It was a really small race and a rainy day, so I was pretty much the only spectator in the area, which was about 3 miles from the finish. A bunch of runners passed by, looking tired but focused. Then I noticed a guy coming up, wearing just regular gym shorts and a cotton t-shirt. Obviously not an experienced marathoner. Just as I was getting ready to cheer him on, I heard him say to himself “Son of a bitch!”. And then he ran right past me.

      I will always remember that moment!

      The next year I decided to run the same marathon myself. I got a bracelet to wear from the first day of training to the end of the marathon, just to keep me focused. I wrote “SoaB” on the inside of it. And whenever the going got tough, during training and then during the race, I’d touch my bracelet and remember that guy. Made me smile every time!

      Good luck, Michele. You’ll do great :)

    11. I love that you are going to write these out all over the place. I love using mantras and they definitely help me focus when I start doubting myself. Lately, I’ve been using “I get to” (from Laura – Mommy Run Fast) i.e. I get to do this. I’m lucky and healthy and it’s an honor. The other one is “Own your own pace” to help remind me to stay on top of my pace and not let my pace get away from me. xoxox
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..On Teachers and Students (or How to Rationalize an Embarrassing Moment)My Profile

    12. Mantra: If you feel like you’re under control, you’re just not moving fast enough

      You’ve got this lady! We’re all cheering for and thinking about you!

    13. You are going to rock this thing. I tend to just keep repeating things like “my body is a machine” during hard training times. And try to separate my neck up from the rest of my body. Like my body is just a machine from the neck down, and it mentally separates the pain from my brain.
      Cynthia recently posted..Review and Giveaway: Runnerbox’s Tribox!My Profile

    14. During my first marathon, I used the mantra “earn it” because it was short enough to focus on at mile 24 and reminded me that a great race with the time you’re hoping for doesn’t just come to you, you have to earn it. Best of luck!

    15. I wrote “FTFT” on the tops of both of my shoes when I ran my first half this summer. For “Finish This F-ing Thing” and then on my arm I wrote “The faster you run the faster you’re done.”

      I also like to think “This is supposed to be hard.” And “If it were easy everyone would do it.”

      I love mantras.

    16. My fav quote ever is: “pain is temporary, pride is forever,” which goes along with: “leave everything on the course.” During my last 10K, I was doing great until mile 6, when you are supposed to push the hardest and I didn’t because I was having a great time and didn’t want to suddenly feel uncomfortable. This is how I ruined a great race! Every one is different but I take racing very seriously-some say you’re supposed to have fun but I think that if I am having fun (at least towards the end), it means that I’m not pushing enough. I now made a point to finish all my races dry heaving-if I don’t dry heave for a least 10″, it means I didn’t push properly 😉


    17. “When the going gets tough, remember to be thankful.” This has gotten me through MANY tough moments in long races… I just start thinking about what I have to be thankful about right then, both in my life and within my physical presence (my feet feel pretty good! that flower is beautiful! I’m so grateful for the way my husband makes me laugh! etc). GOOD LUCK! I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog – very inspiring (as someone who is about to give birth and looking ahead to integrating running and baby).

    18. One of my favorite mantras is “Run your own race.” I have repeated this to myself so many times during races. It helps me tune in to my own body and focus on what it’s going to take to get to the finish line — it’s my race and I get to own it.

      Also, I read a neat article recently about how before an important marathon Deena Kastor’s coach simply told her go out there and “define yourself.” I wrote a bit about it on my blog because I was so inspired by it. Define yourself — what does that look like during every day training runs and on race days? Definitely something that I’ve been turning over in my head on long runs!
      Kristin recently posted..DEFINE YOURSELFMy Profile

    19. My most recent mantra on long runs is that I am using the run as a way to find peace and calm amid my personal/work life (both of which are crazy right now). So when I’m dying and want to quit I think “Find Peace in the Run” – and then running is actually a solution and not a stressor.

      Thanks for this post – and best wishes for the Ironman! You’ll be amazing!

    20. When I’m about to quit I repeat “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”. It hits both the mental and physical side of it for me.

    21. During the Mighty Moss when things got rough on the run (lost my salt tabs, had no more gels, dehydration setting in) I wanted to quit multiple times in the run. Would keep telling myself, “unless you faint or die, you must keep going.” Thankfully neither happened!

      You are an incredible athlete and trained really hard! You will do great. Think of your babies and the miracles your body has already proven capable of. Us woman are born ironmen. You’re pretty bad ass! Remember that!

    22. There are so many I use. Like seriously I am a running and inspiration quote hoarder. I have notebooks full.

      BUT– this past weekend was my first 70.3 and I have been addicted to this country song “I want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes. Youtube it/listen to it and read the lyrics. Like seriously. It’s talking about wanting crazy love and not just easy. It makes me think of my fiance but it also makes me think about training. Racing/running are my other love. I don’t do it because it’s easy I do it because I like to push myself (crazy) so this song really hits home to me in so many ways. It’s upbeat and just puts a smile on my face.

      During my 70.3 whenever I struggled I would repeat “I don’t want easy I want crazy” to the beat of the song. silly but I tell you what it worked. We don’t run and train for things (like your Ironman) because you want easy, you’re doing it because you want to crazy push yourself…embrace the crazy… you are awesome!
      Laura @losingrace recently posted..Musselman 70.3 RecapMy Profile

    23. My most recent half-marathon PR, I remember saying “I’m better than I think I am and I’m never holding back ever!!” It was this moment that I realized I hold back because I’m afraid to go faster or longer than my comfort zone and at that moment when I realized I was going to finish with a pace of 9:xx vs 10:xx that I knew i never wanted to hold back again.

    24. I use the simple pharse of “I will.” There is no option when you tell yourself I will. To say “I can.” is great, but saying I will leaves you with only one path to follow. So when that voice inside my head starts doubting my ability to do something I tell it “I will!”.

    25. I really, really love the mantra, “it doesn’t get easier, you just get better”. When it gets really hard, I love focusing on how much better I’m becoming through the pain. It reminds me of where I started and how much better I’ve gotten, and thinking of the race as a sort of palimpsest of all of my training makes me push that much harder. It’s a little obscure, but it is some powerful stuff.

    26. What a great idea to write it on tape! I’m going to do that when I run my first marathon in Chicago-because training is kicking my brain (get it)

      My mantra is this-keep going until you pass out-if you pass out then you can rest. I seriously tell myself this on runs
      Therese Phillips recently posted..The Commoner and the Wedding ListMy Profile

    27. Living in Scotland, it’s typical to run races with hills. It’s also very common to have hills throughout your normal running routes. There’s a few really big hills by me, all of which I’ve conquered with the mantras ‘Bum, belly, blast!’ and ‘Make this hill your bitch!’ Both work, in my head and said out loud, and are both applicable to your hilly race.

      I recently read Chrissie Wellington’s ‘A Life Without Limits,’ in which she has the poem Westward Bound by Jon Blais. A line fthat totally stuck with me – ‘Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal.’

      Good luck!!!!!!!!!!
      Danielle @ I Eat Therefore I Run recently posted..The Running Shop Beach 10km recapMy Profile

    28. A fun one: Suck it up, buttercup!

      Sometimes a great song (Boogie Shoes works every time for me) or a good smile makes the difference between a surge of energy and stopping.

      Have fun, race your heart out…we are ALL rooting for you!

    29. So, I don’t know about this one. But I heard it on The Ultimate Fighter and kind of really liked it. One of the coaches told his team “Emotions are fake”. I don’t believe that all the time, but when it comes to sports I definitely believe it. Your emotions are fake, so no matter what you feel at mile 99 of the bike or 22 of the run, your emotions can’t control you and your body will keep going! GOOD LUCK!!!
      Kiley @ DVF recently posted..Support Hüma’s campaignMy Profile

    30. Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.

      No…you’re not done yet. You’re stronger than that. And you know it. Get back up.

      Finish what you started.

      And then there’s the whole thing about you inspiring thousands of people (like me!!) and your boys.

      • Oh and I’m tattooing “keep going” (for my marathons, infertility, life) on my wrist. That might be a helpful one on your arm.

    31. It’s hard to suggest a mantra to such an awesome athlete, but “Run angry”. I just blogged about it myself. I was angry for letting myself fail when I started running and I’ve been running stronger after every angry run. And feeling happy after the accomplishment. You’re gonna kick ass! I look forward to that post. And reading your other posts about strengthening your mind!!

    32. I tell myself, “The mind is willing, the body accepts” to remind myself that mental determination and strength is as important as physical power. :)

    33. Two I’ve been using lately…

      “I am here now” – reminds me not to get ahead of myself, just take it one moment, one mile at a time.

      “Strong mind, stronger legs” – I’ve been trying to work on my mental toughness and reminding myself that my mind will give up before my body will.

      Good luck – you are going to be awesome!
      Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted..Thursday’s this and thatMy Profile

    34. You are going to do great – you have definitely put in the training and the prep work!!
      I tell myself to “suck it up and go” a lot.
      Near the end of really long runs, I break it down into small steps and say “you can do anything for 2 minutes!!”
      Good luck!!
      Km recently posted..Who Is “Somebody”?My Profile

    35. I was listening to Another Mother Runner podcast the other day, and the episode was Dimity’s Ironman recap. She said what helped her was to not think about finishing, but being in the moment and enjoying it. She compared it to your wedding day – there’s so much time and preparation going into it, and then the day comes and it flies by and you’re like wtf? You’ve put SO MUCH hard work into this, just stay in the moment and enjoy the experience. It’s going to be over before you know it.

    36. Something that’s been working for me lately is just reminding myself to focus on what I’m currently doing. If you spend the entire 112 miles on the bike worrying about the run you aren’t going to have a very great race. Obviously you need to be mindful of that marathon and not go too hard on the bike but just focus on getting through whichever leg you aren’t on and then focus on the next when you get to it. It’s going to be a long day out there, enjoy it!
      Shannon @ Mon Amour recently posted..A Welcome Reminder to Take Care of My BodyMy Profile

    37. I don’t know if this will work for an Ironman but when I’m on the final mile of a race/run my mantra is: “Last mile, strong mile. Kick it in!” Best of luck girl! You’re going to do amazing!!
      Hannah recently posted..A Tale of Two RacesMy Profile

    38. Never Give Up. I just repeat this in my head over and over when things get hard. It simple, short, and to the point and I can often say it in unison with my stride, or the stride/pace I need to keep in order to reach my goal.

    39. Take it moments at a time:
      “I can do ANYTHING for 5 minutes (1 minute, 1 mile, 30 seconds)”
      “My legs (or whatever) hurt that last mile, BUT I don’t see why I can’t just do another one that way, it’s not THAT bad”

      I’m 20 weeks pregnant right now and trying keep up 20-25 miles a week plus cross training, so mentally I’m really needing some help, this post was great!

      P.S. I also pass the time by thinking of food :)

    40. “Quitting isn’t an option” (or whatever other thing you want to do in place of quitting like stopping, giving up, missing a workout, etc.). Basically, you just tell yourself it isn’t an available choice at the moment so you have to make a different one. For example, if you are tired during a run, you can walk for a set time, slow down your pace, stop to stretch for a minute, etc, but you cannot quit!

      Good luck on your race!!
      Angela recently posted..Clean Home Happy HomeMy Profile

    41. When im running “uncomfortably” I tell myself a few things:
      1. “Pain is weakness leaving the body”
      ….And a quote Ive seen that i like is:
      3. “Thought about stopping.. then went harder”

      Dont be afraid to say these out loud, scream them, repeat them in your head over and over.. or do whatever you have to do to!! You will win this mental battle.

      BTW–i read the comment on the other post from your mom, and i teared up! so SWEET!! You have an awesome support system and come race-day.. it’ll be such a huge boost of confidence to see them!!

    42. “You’re legs aren’t giving out…you’re head is giving up…KEEP GOING!”
      I sort of yell at myself like a stern parent, haha.

      Where did you get that little bracelet?! I LOVE IT!!!
      Jill C. recently posted..Morphing CalvesMy Profile

    43. I use this trick to get me through tough parts of races. Dedicate the race to someone- your husband, your kids, your parents, etc. When you want to quit remind yourself who this race is for and your won’t stop. You may cry, but you won’t stop.

      Good luck! I know you’ll do great!
      Karen recently posted..Complete!My Profile

    44. Hey Michele,

      So here’s two of my favs.
      1) HTFU (google it..) and 2) Keep Your Head.
      The first one – for when times get tough.
      The second – comes from the If poem cited in Chrissie Wellington’s book. Has stuck with me ever since reading. For me, it means…run your OWN race; stick to the plan; and a reminder of why I do this {then I start to think of all the things that motivate me to be out there}.

      GOOD LUCK this weekend. Your journey is such an inspiration. We will all be cheering for you!

    45. I have “finisher” on my road Id it reminds me that, no matter how I feel, I’m finishing what I started. I always repeat to myself “I am a finisher I am a finisher” in my darkest training and race hours 😉 YOU’RE A FINISHER MICHELE!