Years ago when I was really starting to get into running, I wrote 3 letters on my running sneakers in black magic marker…. C.C.C. I hadn’t given it much thought…it may have taken me 5 minutes to think up. They stood for Conserve. Concentrate. Confidence(Corny, I know! But stay with me please, there’s lessons to be learned). Marathons were the runs of choice when I wrote these letters down. I didn’t trust myself and was giving me fair warning. I was telling myself to conserve during the beginning of the race, focus on concentration during the middle of the race, and have the confidence towards the end of the race to finish.
Recently my mind drifted to that past. Back when long runs were brand new. When runs were complex. Back when I was running all road and when how fast and how far was most important. And now, with pavement being on the back burner, and dirt, roots and rocks being on the front lines, I thought back to those abbreviations. And I had gotten chills down my spine. It was a personal mantra that I had been using, subconsciously, for all these years since. These are my thoughts on them. And I feel they can be used in any race…from a 5k race to a 3,100 mile race.
Conserve– “(physics)- maintain(a quantity such as energy or mass) at a constant overall total”… This part of my mantra I’ve witnessed more people than myself flat out ignore. I personally enjoy allowing people to go ahead of me the first few miles of a race. Energy is your most valuable tool. Save it! Ironically, I was running with someone in a race earlier this year brag about how people run too fast too early. Yet he sped away “too fast, too early”. I ended up passing him later. Though I felt bad, because he understood what had happened when I passed him the last few miles. This is my beginning faze of the race.
Concentrate– “focus one’s attention or mental effort on a particular object or activity”… This part of my mantra is important in that if you can’t conserve, then you can very easily lose concentration. Especially if the race is long enough. Minds wonder. That is for sure. And they especially wonder when concentration is lost. That is why conserving is so valuable. It has allowed me to stay focused during the middle part of the race. Keeping nutrition and hydration in tact is extremely beneficial. Concentration will also be lost without it. If you are feeling in tune and concentrating within yourself, your body, and your race, you will easily move confidently into finishing the race. This is my middle faze of the race.
Confidence- “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust. the state of feeling certain about the truth of something”… This by far is most important. Obviously it’s known that if you don’t have confidence in something, then you will struggle to achieve the expectations of it. But to me it’s most important because it fits firmly into what the 3C’s stood(stand for). You won’t have the confidence in a race if you don’t conserve(I’ve never felt confident after feeling like shit and not conserving). You won’t have the confidence if you’ve lost concentration(when my mind wonders in races, I am not focused. I’m screwed and there’s definitely no confidence in that!) It’s a domino effect. If you follow the first 2C’s, you’ll be sure to most likely finish with confidence! This is my ending faze of the race.
I personally wanted to share this because 1)I hope it helps others achieve their running goals now that running is such more popular 2) This mantra can be used in not just running, but in life. 3) I haven’t blogged about running in a year 4) It brought back good memories of me starting my insane hobby.
If you have your own mantra, saying, believe, or otherwise that helps others or yourself….stick with it!