Let us face reality. There are mornings (like this one for me) when you wake up and you are just not in the mood to get going. The thought of doing any of your routine is almost nauseating. Everything takes 10X longer than it is supposed to. Tying your shoes seems to take 30 minutes. You cannot find something you need to start exercising, and it is really frustrating. That favorite pair of headphones are lost again and it feels like that has put a dagger in your plans this morning. We all have mornings like this, and they basically suck. These types of days derail almost everyone. However, I would like to give you a tool that has helped me. I have probably had 60 or more of these days in the course of 381 days. The do come quite frequently. Not sure why. Sleep patterns? Eating habits? Chemical imbalance?
You have to be prepared to overcome these days. I like to pick up little mantras along my path. When I get feeling like this, I start repeating the mantra until I have the courage to just take a deep breath and get up off the edge of the bed, shoes finally tied and heading to my first task. One of my new ones is, “This is who you are, this is what you do.” – Speed Goat
Speed Goat is a runner highlighted in a book by Scott Jurek. He gives Scott this phrase of encouragement, after he sustained an injury on his journey to win the Appalachian trail record. 50M a day for >2100 miles. Scott was about ready to quit and go home, crawling through the ATP trail, barely making a few miles a day. Rain soaked, deep gash on his leg, debilitating pain. This is who you are, this is what you do. This is who you are, this is what you do. He set his sights on the next major road crossing and pushed on forward. After a few days, the days did not seem so bad. The sun broke through, a group of fans greeted him in a small town. He was past the worst of it. This is who you are, this is what you do.
So I have developed many. Ride at Dawn, Embrace the Suck, Light the Match. I use phrases like these frequently. My favorite while running, whenever my legs feel like lead and my shoes start to skid on the ground. Light, Smooth, Fast (thanks, Caballo Blanco). I keep repeating that until I start to feel better, legs picking up speed, feeling like I am gliding across the ground again.
Mantras are not just for Buddhists, Hindus and modern day Yoga practitioners. Any stigma associated with mantras is rather silly. Many cultures have deployed the use of these and it seems to work. Profoundly. I have sort of adopted this in a personal sense. I create little mantras that I use to motivate me and help me through tough times – like getting out the door to go run at 5am when the ground is frost covered and my legs already hurt! Call me a pragmatist, but if it works, I am all in.
Obviously this is a deeply personal thing. If you see me staring at an enticing cupcake, muttering a phrase under my breath. You will know that I am repeating a phrase in my head several times to remind myself to avoid the sugary quick fix and focus on the vision of my future self (which will not happen if I continue to stuff my face with sugary treats)!
BTW, my little “this is who you are, this is what you do” mantra worked this morning. I did get out at 5am(ok, not quite 5am) in my shorts and a t-shirt freezing by butt off. I did start running and just to put my lazy, no–good, barbaric primal self back in its place – I ran 13+ miles. I even beat my personal 10K time. I say this not to brag, as any real runner would laugh at this, but to remind myself of the concept that I will talk about next time – Building Mind Calluses!
Guy Reams (381)
132 Days Left to 1st Marathon