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Release the Kraken!

Today, we’ll talk about how to craft a mantra… inspirational slogans meant to provide that little extra oomph to get you past a personal challenge . As many of us are going to be hitting our long runs in preparation for an event happening in May (we’re doing the Coastal Delaware Race) – it’s important to have this motivational tip in your back pocket.

You can find mantras popping up all the time on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc…. So instead of just providing a list of great mantras for you to pick and choose from, we decided to go a little deeper on the subject and discuss making your own powerful mantra movie.

When I was training for my first marathon, as per usual, I was getting all OCD and gobbling up any piece of advice that I could find. One of my favorite things to do was and is to listen to podcasts while on my long runs. In one of the podcasts from Marathon Training Academy, they talked about a mantra they used: Release the Kraken!

I used this mantra on my longer runs during training whenever I needed that little extra push to dig deep and keep going when my body and mind were in cahoots to make me stop. So on race day, I had my little mantra ready to whip out and come to my rescue when I hit mile 18. The trouble is… it didn’t work.

My inner Kraken turned out to be more like a tiny turtle just when I needed it most… what was the problem? Did I overuse it? Maybe. Did it have enough “mantra juice” to keep my engine running? Obviously not.

My Kraken turned out to be a tiny turtle!


If you pick a mantra that doesn’t have enough juice it may just leave you stranded on the roadside when you need it most. WARNING! This is where we get all “Tony Robbins” on you. You need to make sure your mantra has enough power to move you when times get REALLY tough – here’s how to do it.

  1. Think about when you might need the most mantra juice.  For many, hills seem to be personal gremlins, so we’ll use that for our scenario – but you should pick scenarios that are most challenging for you.  Taking an honest assessment of the times where your mind is most likely to be at its weakest is just the starting point, next you need to…
  2. Flood your mind with great images.  Sit down in a quiet spot and close your eyes.  Visualize yourself conquering that hill and flood your mind with positive images, feelings and the most enjoyable times in the past that you rocked it.  Turn that gremlin into a cheerleader by finding a mental image that you deeply identify with and play that mental movie over and over again.  Get creative and add a soundtrack to really get those motivational juices flowing.

    I’m a big fan of the Ironman movies. So when I was training for the 70.3 Ironman Cozumel last year I used the mantra: “I am Ironman.” I knew my personal gremlin for this race was going to be the nasty head winds on the eastern part of the island that bring your bike pace to a crawl. So I used a mental movie of me slicing through the wind wearing one of those cool ironman suits. When I needed it most, I triggered it with my mantra complete with an awesome soundtrack… the “I am Ironman” song by Black Sabbath.

  3. Step into the future.  If you get really vivid with your visualizations, your mind won’t know the difference between a past memory and one that you create for a future experience.  Visualize yourself on race day using your mantra movie to overcome that personal gremlin.  Make it so vivid that that it feels like you’ve already done it.
  4. Recharge it.  Your mantra may become stale over the course of a long training schedule.  Check in with it every now and then to determine if it still has enough juice to move you.  If it’s no longer moving you…  recharge it by performing steps 2 and 3 again.

That’s all for this week’s post on creating your own personal mantra movie. Let us know what mantras you use in the  comments section of this post!

Keep on Running!

Julia, Patrick & Jo-Jo

Pose, RRCA, USAT and ITCA Certified Coaches


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