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Archive for Mental Tips

December 18th, 2012

How To Create Your Own Mantra

Runner on a track staying focusedWe’ve previously talked a lot about mantras. We’ve learned what they are and identified what elements make them successful. But we haven’t talked about how to make your own.

Creating a mantra is straightforward and easy. However, creating a great mantra requires a lot of thought and some time to refine it. Let’s create one that is customized to an individual’s needs.

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December 11th, 2012

Intrinsic Motivation in Runners

Drive is a best-selling book by Dan Pink, a an American journalist and author. While the book was very good and I do recommend it to those interested in the concept of motivation, this article is not a review of the book. What Drive does do is touch on running. It’s very brief, but it got me thinking about how runners stay motivated. At Sleek Running we’re already written about ditching motivation and using habits to consistently run, and about the concept of “flow” – getting in the zone. But flow requires intrinsic motivation and those runners who are trying to create habits are compensating for a lack of motivation, or trying to find some from deep within.

Does this mean that creating a habit to get your run in is a bad thing? Absolutely not. If that’s what you need to do, it’s an option that you should be aware of. But this book really got me thinking – how do some people stay motivated, if they’re just running for pure enjoyment, for years and years? If there are no external goals like hitting a certain time in a race or losing X number of pounds, what force exists to motivate?

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November 27th, 2012

Motivating Yourself to Practice Good Form

Motivated RunnerIt’s very hard for the average runner to develop the discipline to practice their form. If you’re visiting our site, you know it’s important, but do you really actively work on your form? Probably not. It took me years to develop the discipline and awareness.


Because I didn’t care until I got hurt.

There are plenty of articles on this site that preach good form. We have an entire series dedicated to it. But we can’t just convince you to do it.

Hopefully, you’re visiting Sleek Running in good health and looking for ways to prevent injuries. But more likely, you first came here looking for help solving your injury woes. Of course, we’ve got plenty of it. Our mission is to keep you healthy. But, even if you know what you’re supposed to do, it can still be extremely difficult to motivate yourself.

So, don’t bother.

Instead, Make It a Habit.

Start small – focus on one thing at a time.

Don’t get overwhelmed with foot strike, your center of gravity, how you’re supposed to lean, how high to hold your arms, how to hold your head, and the many other facets of having “perfect” form.

Learn each facet one at a time. Don’t move onto the next until you’ve got it. It might take 10 steps, or several weeks to work each bit into a place that’s comfortable for you. It’s very important to not move on until it’s become a habit. You should be doing it without thinking of it.

You need to be patient and realize it’s a work in progress.

It’ll never be perfect, so don’t obsess over it.

That’s our job. In all seriousness, realize that perfect form for everyone is slightly different. It really depends on your body. [Note: We’re talking about slight variations, that does not mean it’s okay to heel strike, good try.]

Try a Mantra.

Mantras are really good at helping you focus on a single thing (part of your form). This is especially valuable when you’re in the middle of a difficult run – the last thing on your mind is checking your running form. Check out this article for more information.


Remember, the most important thing you can do is relax. It will help you with all parts of your form.

Image By: Oskar Nijs
November 20th, 2012

The Elements in a Great Mantra

A runner's brain, thinking about a mantra!Mantras are a tool that runners use to focus on a specific goal. In this way, we have come to see mantras as a “performance enhancer.” Most runners take this literally, using mantras to help them improve their performance on race day. However, the success of Born to Run has led to the increased popularity of more ambiguous mantras, focusing on seemingly unrelated things like health. Ultimately, they’ve ended up leading to better performance.

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October 30th, 2012

Finding “The Zone” – How Runners Achieve Flow

Chart Describing FlowTo some, running is a chore, a punishment, a burden, or a necessary evil. Those people probably aren’t visiting this website. Competitive and the majority of recreational runners run because they want to – not because they are forced. But, even though most runners choose to run, not everyone truly enjoys or loves it. People have different motivations, whether they think it will help them lose weight, get healthy, contribute to a cause – some ulterior motive.

Long-time runners love running. Many of them speak of running as a “release” or a “way to decompress”. Still others use it as a way to spur creativity, or as a way to focus on a single thing for a period of time. The one thing that all of these responses have in common is that at they are all non-competitive reasons. They all come from a place of zen-like calmness, not competitiveness. So if these people can learn to enjoy running, there is no reason that you can’t learn from them. Let’s explore this concept further.

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