Question: How do you keep your enthusiasm when you start to get tired and exhausted during running?

Sri Chinmoy: In short distances — from one hundred metres to a mile — it is easy to maintain enthusiasm. You get a burst of energy or inspiration and you go. But for long distances, to maintain enthusiasm is very difficult. There are many, many ways to keep your enthusiasm when you are getting tired in long-distance, but here are two ways that are particularly effective.

While running, do not think of yourself as twenty-five or thirty years old. Only think of yourself as being six or seven years old. At the age of six or seven, a child does not sit; he just runs here and there. So imagine the enthusiasm of a young child and identify yourself not with the child but with the source of his enthusiasm. This is one way.

Another secret way, if you are running long distance, is to identify yourself with ten or even twenty runners who are ahead of you. Only imagine the way they are breathing in and breathing out. Then, while you are inhaling, feel that you are breathing in their own breath and that the energy of the twenty runners is entering into you. Then, while you are exhaling, feel that all twenty runners are breathing out your tiredness and lack of enthusiasm.

While you are running, it is difficult for you to feel that cosmic energy is entering into you. So occultly or secretly you will breathe in the breath of twenty runners at a time. This energy which you get, which is nothing but enthusiasm, will let you go ten steps forward. But you have to remember that you are breathing in their breath, their inspiration and determination, and not their tiredness. You have to feel that their breath is like clean, distilled water. If you think of someone who is dying, that person's breath will not help you. But if you think of someone who is running faster than you, his energy will help you. You are not stealing it; only you are taking in the spiritual energy that is all around him and inside him, just as it is inside you. But because he is running faster, you are more conscious of it in him.