50. Every day. Hard training. Must make.

Running tip #50 … find your mantra.

A few years back, Smith magazine created a 6-word memoir contest, inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous 6-word short story:

“For sale:  Baby shoes. Never worn.”

This contest later went viral and hipsters across America were discussing their 6-word masterpieces over craft-beer and kale chips.  I am quite proud to share (okay, I’m bragging not “sharing”) that my 6-word memoir was chosen to be published in the first edition of Not Quite What I Was Planning:

6word-701716And a few reviewers even singled mine out as being special:

Much more interesting are the unknowns. Speaking to the reader on the basis of virtual anonymity, they offer a six-word something, with striking results. The effect is rather like sitting in a fast-moving train, catching a glimpse of someone’s apartment through a window as you pass by. Glimpses like these:

“I was never the pretty one” – Joan Nesbit Mabe
“Grading AP essays, I crave Tolstoy” – Carinna Tarvin
“I still make coffee for two” – Zak Nelson

I bring all this up as a preface to running tip #50 … which is find your mantra.  In any phase of your life (your running life, especially) there will be words rattling around in your brain …words that guide your actions on a subconscious level (like my mother’s “Someone has to be the best, why not you?” in post #27) or on a conscious level (like Caddyshack’s “Be the ball.”):

Use those rattling words to inspire and direct your actions on a daily basis.  The right mantra at the right time can make all the difference in training and in racing.  Here are just a FEW examples of mantras that changed my life b/c I chanted them to myself almost every day in training:

“This thing I can do.” – from Chris Fox

“The fastest runner wins, Joan.”  – Charles Foster

“You can do it!” – Bela Karolyi

And, finally, the most powerful of all the rattling words in my brain when I was trying to make it as a runner … Mihaly Igloi‘s broken-English mantra:

“Every day.  Hard training.  Must make.”

Interestingly, six words.

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