top of page

Why you need a running mantra

Minute 1: Will earlier sunsets turn you into a morning runner?

When we fell backward from Daylight Saving Time last weekend, the lights went out on most post-work runs. Maybe you converted to morning runs or maybe you decided to brave the darkness and invest in headlamps and reflective vests. Most elite athletes we’ve spoken with on our Six Minute Mile podcast tell us that they are primarily morning runners. That preference may run counter to some of the research, like this piece reporting that “Science says the best time to run is late afternoon or early evening,” largely due to increased body temperature and blood flow later in the day. Of course there is always a counter argument, like this story listing “11 Reasons That Will Convince You to Get Up and Run In the Morning,” including enhanced mental acuity that lasts throughout the day. At this time of year, we typically curse the darkness and channel our favorite character from HBO’s “Veep,” Jonah Ryan. Check out his rant against Daylight Saving Time here. #TrotInTheDark

Minute 2: Are you running faster at night?

If you tend to hit the snooze button more often than a Jeopardy! champion hits the answer buzzer, you may be stuck with running in the dark for the next few months. During your post-sunset outings this week, you could have noticed a strange phenomenon — you felt like you had gotten a lot speedier all of a sudden. If your GPS watch didn’t already burst your bubble, we can share that most people aren’t actually running faster, but their perception of pace changes at night. Canadian Running explains the phenomenon in this post, “Why does it feel like you run faster in the dark?” A 2012 study of cyclists attributes it to optic flow influence, which changes your perceived effort, or how hard you feel like you’re working. According to the study, optic flow creates the perception that you are moving faster and working harder when your surroundings go by quicker, which happens when you are running at night. A 2014 study came to a similar conclusion, making runners believe they had run farther than they actually had. If you do it safely, running at night can be good for you, as points out in “11 Tips and Benefits for Running at Night.” has also explored the issue, offering these “Tips for Safe Night Runs.” #MoonPrance

Minute 3: Why you need a running mantra

When ultrarunning champion Courtney Dauwalter went temporarily blind during a 100-mile trail race, she leaned on a runner’s best friend to pull her through. No, it wasn’t a guide dog, but a mantra that aids her in the toughest of times. Her brain blacked out the obvious crisis and saw the light through a mantra that defied logic. “You're fine, you're fine, you're doing fine, this is fine,” she often tells herself over and over. The technique can work for any runner, even if they don’t have the extreme mental make-up possessed by Courtney.  That’s why you might hear a runner humming “Born to Run” or chanting “I kill hills, I kill hills.” Or encounter a dude with “This race is my B*#ch” as his personal motivator. World record holder Eliud Kipchoge wears the words “No human is limited” on a blue bracelet. Former American marathon champion Deena Kastor sticks Post-it notes on her bathroom mirror that read “I AM THE NATIONAL CHAMPION.” Do running mantras really work? According to sports psychologist Dr. Josephine Perry, they help increase perseverance, especially in sports like running, “where you have a lot of time to think.” Finding your mantra is one of the highlights of this new Women’s Running piece: “9 tips for building a strong running mindset.” Dr. Perry says mantras are helpful whether you’re trying to break a world record or running your first 5K. “Their impact isn’t based on how fast you are, but how powerful your mantra is,” she said. If you need help getting started, try these best running mantras to use on your run, or for more choices try these top 53 running mantras. VeryWellFit even suggests some good quotes for running mantras. #BlindAmbition

Minute 4: Every breath you take

Yoga has become one of the fastest-growing exercise practices in the world, in part by teaching students how to breathe. (Lululemon, BTW, enjoys a breathtaking market valuation of $45 billion by outfitting many of those yogis in style.) But thanks to research and a best-selling book by James Nestor, there are important lessons to be learned about the simple act of breathing that don’t require fancy mats or $120 leggings. Nestor digs deeply into the most fundamental of all human activities in “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art.” His thesis is that humans have lost the ability to breath properly and that has led to ailments like sleep apnea, asthma and allergies. We learned a lot about his research in this recent interview: “Why You Should Change The Way You Breathe.” Simple corrections like breathing through our noses rather than our mouths can have a positive impact on our health. Breathing that way rids air of toxins while also warming it up, making it more easily absorbed by our lungs. #EveryBreathYouTake

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Devon Levesque completed the virtual NYC Marathon last Saturday in a way that no other human had ever chosen to cover 26.2 miles. He did the entire course in a bear crawl, traveling on all fours rather than just two feet. It took him 20 hours and 48 minutes and he almost quit around mile 21. At that point he was recharged by memories of his father who died by suicide when Devon was 16 years old. He was also inspired by his mission to raise money for FitOps, an organization dedicated to lowering high suicide rates among veterans.

  • Nike announced this week that it will lay off 700 workers at its Oregon HQ. Despite the fact that Nike’s stock is up 27% this year and profits in the most recent quarter grew to $1.5 billion, the fitness industry giant is streamlining its operations. It’s all part of a project dubbed “Consumer Direct Acceleration” in which Nike will skip retailers and sell directly to consumers through its website and flagship stores.

  • Jeff Galloway shared some amazing history and coaching advice when he joined us on the Six Minute Mile podcast. A former Olympian, Jeff has become one of the most respected running coaches and authors in the world. In the podcast, Jeff told us that most runners should be mixing in much more walking with their run training. It is part of his “Run Walk Run” methodology that he’s been perfecting since 1974. For more details, here is a link to our discussion with Jeff.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Emily Sisson is a New Balance-sponsored distance runner and former NCAA champion in the 5,000 meters. She finished 6th in her marathon debut in 2019 at London in 2:23, good for the second best marathon debut of any American woman. Emily is a huge believer in core work as a way to improve performance and prevent injury. In the video below, she demonstrates her 6 favorite core workout moves, including the dead bug, the glute bridge and the bird dog. BTW, Emily doesn’t recommend crunches as part of your core routine.


bottom of page