I’ve just enjoyed reading “What I talk about when I talk about running” which is a memoir by Haruki Murakami in which he writes about his interest and participation in long-distance running.
Reading it gave me the idea for a new running mantra: “The next three yards”. I’m using it for those very difficult moments on a long run! I find this mantra has the effect of drawing my eyes down to the area a short distance ahead of me. Normally I would recommend looking towards the horizon but sometimes, let’s face it, that’s just too far away! A period of focus on this short distance has the benefit of proving to me that I’m definitely still moving forward and making progress. Sometimes you have to break runs down into chunks and, what this mantra does for me when I’m in a bad patch, is break it down into very small chunks indeed! Once I feel more positive again I can let go the mantra and look further ahead.
Another trick I use is for when I know there is a tough element ahead. This might be a long hill, for example or a long stretch of boring road (Monmouth Drive anyone)! I’ve heard some people say they like to count to 100. My version is to count down from 100 as it requires a bit more concentration. So I count backwards, in time with the breath and I try to visualise each number as I count it. I find that focus in this way can help me keep a rhythm to the run and helps the miles tick by.
We’re right in the thick of Autumn Half Marathon training so I’ve shared my running mantra, what’s yours?