Two years ago, I was having a really hard time getting back into “running shape”. My body felt like a square brick and I was falling A LOT! At first, I thought aging had finally caught up to me or maybe I wasn’t eating the right foods, non-the-less, I didn’t have the mojo to move properly. I tried everything but nothing seemed to help. I finally went to the doctor and my therapist to find out, “What the heck, man?!?”.
Later, I learned I was suffering mentally and physically from post traumatic stress disorder. Yep, PTSD. At first, I thought my therapist was pulling my leg but after chewing a few layers from that onion, she was spot on. See, a year prior, I physically fell apart because my life was falling apart. My body literally could not take the stress and it completely broke down. I couldn’t eat, sleep or workout. It was pretty rough.
My therapist told me I needed to change my way of thinking and focus in order to move forward. I started with meditation and cognitive therapy (taking negative thoughts/ideas and replacing them with positive ones). Both were helpful but not enough to get back into running. Helloooo! I’m a runner here! I gotta movvve.
Again, I tried everything from yoga to plain old walking and I have to say, I was bored OUT OF MY MIND! I had to find a way to start running again so I did a little more research on my own. Through my attempts with meditation, I learned about mantras, the idea of taking a a statement or slogan and repeating it over and over again. I found it fascinating that just a few repeated words could actually reprogram the way you think of yourself.
It wasn’t until I saw an interview with 50 cent, the rapper, discussing mantras. 50 cent was given his own, special mantra from Deepak Chopra and it changed his life. Changed his life? Really? 50 cent? OK, I have to try this. I don’t know why the idea of 50 cent chanting a mantra intrigued me but it did and I figured, why not give it a shot.
I was not going to sit in a room alone and OHMMM my way through a yoga class, so I decided to try chanting my own mantra while running. I picked three words that described my future-self, locked it into my memory bank and headed out for a run. I started to chant the following phrase, “I am powerful, strong and blessed”. At first, I found it funny because I felt ridiculous running and chanting at the same time, but I kept going. Once I hit a rhythm, I started to focus on the words, my pace and my breathing. Next thing I know, the run is over and I successfully completed 3 miles. My mind was clear. I actually felt powerful, strong and blessed. I finished my run without falling or feeling exhausted. I used this method over a period of a month and it literally turned my training around.
I am not the first person to discover mantra running. Running is a very mental sport and many elite runners use mantras to get through some of their toughest races. For me, mantra running has evolved in the few years. At first, I was simply trying to change my focus but now, I use mantras when competing or when heading out for a tough, long run. Mantras are powerful and extremely effective. It’s a true testament on how your mind, body and spirit work together.
If you would like to learn more about mantras, shoot me an email. Let’s find out what words would work for you and try them on your next run. Good luck and happy running!