Running marathons isn't for everyone, but this simple mantra from a professional marathon-runner can help anyone.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated November 02, 2018

Sometimes, life might feel like a marathon; for professional runner, two-time Olympian, and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Desiree—or Des—Linden, life is full of actual marathons.

Just six months after she won the Boston Marathon, Linden is preparing to run the New York City Marathon in the first weekend of November. Whether she wins depends on how effective her training has been and myriad outside forces; regardless, being the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years is a decent resume-booster.

Before the marathon, Linden sat down with Hurdle podcast host Emily Abbate to talk about her partnership with Brooks Running, her Linden & True Coffee line, preparing for the New York City Marathon, and more—including the mantra she repeats to herself when a race or training run gets tough.

“Calm, calm, calm, relax, relax, relax,” she says.

Simple, repetitive, actionable—it has all the makings of a great mantra. Best of all, it doesn’t apply strictly to running. Linden says she uses it when she begins to feel her body tense up, but it can be used in any stressful, strained situation: a high-tension meeting, a major traffic jam, or even just at the end of a long day. If you find yourself growing tense and irritable in any situation, silently repeating Des’ mantra may help you calm down enough to avoid an outburst (or at least delay it until you’re somewhere private).

If you’ve been seeking a mantra—something you repeat to yourself to soothe frayed nerves and keep your cool—this simple one may be a good place to start, especially if you’ve never tried one before. It’s easy enough to remember and mentally chant, even if you’re exhausted or distracted. And you won’t know if it works for you until you try it: Calm, calm, calm, relax, relax, relax.