Long used by yogis and buddhists, mantras have become increasingly popular among athletes looking for a little push during challenging events. The next time you think you can’t possibly run another minute, hike one more mile, or pedal any faster, borrow one of these mantras to keep going.
‘I’m Invisible’ — Dean Potter
Known for high-line walks (above) and free-solo climbs, Potter has learned to control his mind and push through when things get tough. His life depends on it. “I calm myself with a mantra from a favorite song and repeat, ‘I’m invisible, I’m invisible, I’m invisible,’” Potter explained of his speed-solo of Half Dome in Yosemite. (Photo by Mariano Kamp.)
‘This Is What You Came For’ — Scott Jurek
An ultra-running legend, Jurek won the Western States 100 seven times straight (not to mention victories at the Hardrock 100, the Spartathalon in Greece, Badwater 135, and more). Even though running is his passion, Jurek can need a little extra something to keep putting one foot in front of the other. “This is what you came for” serves to remind Jurek that distance running is his choice.
‘Smile’ — Chrissie Wellington
Wellington won the Kona Ironman three times and has the fastest Ironman-distance time ever by a female (8:19:13). She’s known in racing circles for her positivity and friendly personality, so it comes as no surprise that her mantra is of the glass-half-full variety, “Smile.” Wellington explains: “It’s all about keeping calm under pressure and knowing that triumph and disaster are one in the same thing.” (Photo by Mikey Schaefer)
‘Dig Deep’ — Chelsey Magness
As an adventure racer on Team YogaSlackers, Magness is no stranger to pushing herself to the edge. (During the AR World Championship she raced across Ecuador, climbing through the Andes, battling thigh-high mud, and paddling raging rapids — for 144 hours with only 8 hours of sleep!) When physically exhausted, she stoked her internal fire by repeating “Dig Deep.” She noted, “During times when all I wanted to do was slow my pace or beg to sleep an extra hour, I repeated the mantra in my head and even out loud to the rest of the team. I was amazed at the strength of these simple words.”
‘No Coasting, Pedal Harder’ — Rebecca Rusch
Known as “The Queen of Pain,” Rusch has made a career of suffering through athletic events. During a record-setting Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, Rusch used the mantra, “No coasting, Pedal harder” to stay ahead. She noted, “Every single stroke hurt like hell. It wasn’t pretty, but I wanted to beat that long-standing women’s course record. I knew it was within my reach.”
—Mallory Paige is a professional neophyte, best friend to #BaylortheDog, and adventurer focused on two main tenants – Choose Happy, Seek Adventure.