Not Dead, Can’t Quit!

I’d never heard of running mantras before I decided to train for my first marathon. When I learned about running mantras though, I realized that I had been using them all along both while running and at other times in my life.

First, what is a mantra? A mantra is a phrase or words that you repeat over and over to yourself in order to almost brainwash yourself. Mantras can be positive or negative. I think most of us use negative mantras instinctively, unfortunately, such as, “I’m never going to be able to do this.” That’s not the kind of mantra we want to use though. We want to use positive mantras to help us achieve our goals.

In running long distances mantras are key when the mileage gets high or at any time pain, fatigue or lack of energy starts to kick in. Running, like most things in life, is truly a mental game. When I started running my husband told me about a Navy SEAL mantra, “Not dead, can’t quit!” Although this is not my favorite mantra, I have a hard time picturing myself as a SEAL, I have used it while running and especially after I fell at mile 16. “Not dead, can’t quit!” reminded me that although I was embarrassed and tired I had to keep moving forward.

I’ve also used a mantra a friend emailed me right before the marathon, “Pain is temporary. Pride is forever!” I think I repeated that mantra to myself for the last 5 miles of my marathon.

I also have to admit that I love to sing the Tina Turner song, “Simply the Best” over and over to myself while running, sometimes even out loud. Luckily, I can’t sing loudly while running so I don’t think anyone hears me or else maybe they pretend they can’t hear me. As my 6 year old daughter tells me when I sing her favorite Justin Bieber song in the grocery store, my singing sucks!

My absolute favorite mantra though is, “Finish Strong!” I love this one because it is so short and it is exactly what I need to remind myself in those last few miles. It helps me remember to “sprint” across the finish line and to hold my head up high as I do, no matter what my time.

This post is getting too long so I’ll share the story behind this mantra in a post later this week. You’ll just have to visit again to read more.

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2 Responses to Not Dead, Can’t Quit!

  1. Jane says:

    Love your blog, Karen. You’ve inspired me to resume my early morning runs after an “extended” holiday break!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jane! Keep up the running. My winter running hasn’t been as frequent as it was in the spring/summer. You can always start again.