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Mental mantras when the going gets tough!

Mental mantras when the going gets tough!
There can come a point in a race when it starts to get tough. Perhaps that's early on, perhaps it's a bit later on, whether it's 5k, 10k, half or full marathon. It often seems to be at about two-thirds, whatever the distance. Then it gets a bit tougher. Then, maybe, it gets tougher still! You might find you start to drop off your target pace and getting back to it is a struggle, sustaining it even harder. You may have picked a pace that’s too quick. But, for now, you’re in a race and what’s done is done. Your energy levels are low and it can seem to take a huge effort just to keep going at a respectable pace. It’s at this stage that my legs start talking to me (no more they say!) and I can feel sick. And my concentration starts to wander, it gets harder to focus and I can end up in my own little world!
Things are probably not as bad as they feel - you’ve trained, you’ve got a good base, your body can do it! But how do you convince yourself of this? Mind over matter - easier said than done! Famously, pro cyclist Jens Voigt is known for saying ‘Shut up legs!’ but what do us mere mortal amateur runners say to themselves? What does the voice in your head tell you? Does it gently encourage, does it give you a hard time? What’s your mental mantra? I’ve had quite a few, different favourites over the years. It's something I can say over and over again in my mind, it provides a rhythm that matches what my feet are doing and a focus for my concentration. And it's gets me a bit further up the road!
I find I have different mantras over time but here are some of my favourites:
  • I feel good (this one might be when I'm trying to kid myself!)
  • Not too fast, steady as you go
  • Just get to that lamp post up ahead, now that next lamp post
  • Forget what the clock says, just work steadily and get up this hill!
  • Quicken up a little bit, not too much
  • Hold it at that effort level, hold it!
  • Quicken your feet
  • I've got time in the bank, save it for when I need it
  • Hold your form, don't get sloppy
  • Pile it on!
  • Dig in!
  • Don't stop, don't stop!
  • Fight!
What works for you? What sees you over the line? I'd love to know!
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Instagram: harveygallagher
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Happy running.
Team runr.

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