‘Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential’.
– Winston Churchill.
This quote obviously isn’t by a runner but I think it applies nicely to the runner mentality, especially for runner’s who want to get better. I also think it applies to the injured runner. Who’s injured Oh yeah, that would be ME!
It’s been continuous effort to try and move around without crying.
It’s been continuous effort not to give in to the thoughts creeping in telling me I’m daft for running and that I should just give it all up.
It’s been continuous effort not to do something silly, like try running too soon, and injure myself further.
It’s been continuous effort to stay positive and stay motivated.
It’s been continuous effort to stick with all the physio’s advice and continue with the exercises even when I felt I was going no where.
It’s been continuous effort not to lose my temper about the whole situation.
It’s been continuous effort over a period of three months to try and get myself better and ready to start running again.
Getting over this injury has been tiring physically but mentally it has drained me. I’m starting to feel more hopeful after being out for my fourth run and my rehabilitation has progressed in the right direction. What I also hope for is that all this continuous effort will be rewarded with more running which I can eventually turn into a training plan with some actual goals. This continuous effort can’t all be for nothing!
I love a good mantra me. They can be short and snappy to give you a sharp pep up during a particularly hard gym or interval session. Or they can be long and philosophical to give running a bigger meaning and help us understand why we’re getting up at 6am to run for 3 hours. With the collision of the worlds of running and social media mantras are constantly doing the rounds and people find inspiration from them all the time. I’m a big fan of ‘Go hard or go home’ and ‘Pain is weakness leaving the body’ (the latter which I first heard in a chronic Back Pain Rehab group about 6 years ago). I also love the phrase ‘If you don’t look a mess then you didn’t work hard enough’, mainly because it’s true. If you’re not a hot, red, sweaty mess at the end of you training then how can you expect to improve?
Mantras motivate us and keep us going when times are tough. My personal favourite, that I chanted to myself during marathon training, was ‘Cup of tea, cup of tea’. I even chanted it during bad patches in my actual marathon. I would chant it and visualise the warming, safe, sweet cuppa that would meet me at the end. It was such an inoccuous phrase but it gave me a distraction and weirdly a motivation to get to the end. It may not do much for others but it was my own little mantra. Liking tea obviously helps. I have since christened this mantra the ‘Mrs Doyle’.
T-shirts with slogans and mantras are everywhere and runners love them.They announce our intentions for the run ahead or declare our love of the sport to the world. If you go to Parkrun then a t-shirt might tell the running community how many times you’ve got up on a Saturday to run a 5k. Unfortunately I do like the occasional lie in so I doubt one of those tees will ever be mine.
Slogan t-shirts aren’t always too obvious either. Well not to me anyway. I had a Nike tee which said ‘Kiss My Airs’ and I hadn’t thought anything of it until my Mum pointed out that it sounded like ‘Kiss My Arse’. I was instantly horrified. I know I’m competitive but I wouldn’t like to be rude about it!
Whilst in injury limbo I’ve discovered some mantra running wear that I’d like for my hundredth running comeback. The Australian sports wear line Lorna Jane is now available in the UK and while I was checking out their site I discovered some great mantras on their running gear. I’ve picked some that are probably relevant to me right now in my current return from injury phrase. This post injury running gift list is growing and growing!
Akira tights £62
What’s your favourite mantra or phrase that motivates your running?
I’ve been running on and off since I was eleven years old. I’m now thirty so thats a fair amount of time and there is one thing that has never changed. The people who insist on shouting stupid things at you as you run by, usually from the safety of their own car. I don’t think I was as aware of it when I was a teenager but then I usually had my father or brother accompanying me on their bikes. Maybe that pout off the hecklers. As I’ve got older though I seem to have become more of a target for these people.
It doesn’t really bother me too much, being shouted at. I use this banter as motivation in a ‘you can’t beat me’ mentality, my competitive streak kicks in. The comments are usually benign too. For example ‘Run Forest Run’ or ‘Run Rabbit Run’. Obviously I am dealing with originality from this type of heckler. It’s usually harmless and is often followed by a smile and a laugh. There have been occasions though when it has been more sinister.
‘Bet you’re a good shag love’. Delightful, what a great thing to shout at a lone female runner. These men are the reason I only run in daylight and never run with earphones. ‘Oi sexy’. Believe me if you came closer and saw the sweat patches the last thing you’d be thinking is sexy. ‘Slag’. Ok now we’re into just pure nastiness.
I’ve had boys jump into my path. I’ve had groups of people force me to run into oncoming traffic because they refuse to move over on the path a bit. I’ve had a car door swung open into my path on the pavement, and I know they had seen me coming. I’ve even had a cyclist in Welsh Team cycling gear tell me to ‘Get out the way you fucking slag’, as I ran across the road well out of their way. Cyclists I was surprised by because they’re usually complaining about the bad treatment they receive from car drivers.
Now the banter and the silly comments I can ignore. What I don’t understand is where this malice and vitriol directed at a complete stranger running quietly by themselves comes from. The other night I was running up a hill and a group of lads in a car thought it was clever to shout and scream at me. I jumped out of my skin, nearly tripping over into the road. I could hear them laughing as they sped off. Funny for them but potentially dangerous for me. I got over it and used it as further motivation for my run. A less experienced female runner might have been put off which isn’t fair.
So drivers and pedestrians, if you see me or another runner pounding the pavements getting fit or training for a race, don’t shout or jeer us, just nod and wish us well on our way.