Running Quotes to motivate you for your next run

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“Running is 90 percent mental,” an apt sentiment and perhaps the most famous of all running quotes. Whether you’re pushing your pace or your distance, your body can only go as fast or as far as your brain thinks it can.

Ask any athlete and they will tell you that mental toughness is just as important as physical strength. Winning the Boston Marathon in grueling conditions in 2018 took “courage and persistence,” Des Linden told CNBC. Just do it. “We train our bodies. We train our guts. … It only makes sense that you can train your mind,” she added.

Linden is right: while investigate shows that there is a limit to how much we can physically take in, changing your mindset can help overcome those limits.

The use of motivational self-talk, for example, boosted athletic endurance in a scientific review from more than 100 sources published in the magazine Sports medicine; it also helped runners achieve a “flow state,” or that runner’s feeling of euphoria, according to investigate published in the sports behavior magazine. And visualizing yourself getting through the hardest part of a race can help you persevere in real life, a to study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found.

Getting into the right headspace can be a simple first step to a better training or race. And if anyone knows what to say to themselves before a big race, it’s the pros. Use your knowledge in these running quotes to motivate your miles.

Table of Contents

Quotes For Running When You Don’t Feel Motivated


“Life is to participate, not to watch.”

— Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an officially registered competitor

“Some days it just flows and I feel like I was born to do this, other days I feel like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the decision to show up and see what I have, and try to be better. My advice: keep showing up.”

— Des Linden, Olympian and 2018 Boston Marathon Champion

“There are a million reasons why you can’t. Focus on the few reasons you can.”

— Kara Goucher, American long-distance runner and Olympian

“In the middle of an ordinary training day, I try to remind myself that I am preparing for the extraordinary.”

— Shalane Flanagan, Olympian and 2017 New York City Marathon Champion

“In running or in life, I’ve found it’s really important not to shy away from races, workouts, exercises, or experiences that I know I’m not good at or that I’m not familiar with. It’s a good balance between staying focused and confident and finding and improving weak areas, but I think it’s an important part of making a breakthrough.”

— Molly Huddle, American long-distance runner

“I always want to give more than what I gave yesterday.”

— Allyson Felix, Olympian and track and field sprinter

“Never underestimate the power that a good workout will have on your mind. Keeping the dream alive is half the battle.”

—Kara Goucher

RELATED: Kara Goucher is protecting the next generation

when the going gets tough


“Every aspect of a race, from the pain it brings to the weather conditions, offered me a choice: Is this a thought that will set me back? Or can I find a perspective that speeds me up?”

― Deena Kastor, Olympian and author of Let Your Mind Race: A Memoir Of How To Think My Way To Victory

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“While you, and only you, can move your legs from start to finish, no one runs a marathon alone.”

— Alexandra Heminsley, author of running like a girl

“My legs almost always hurt (a lot) [by mile 21], and you can choose to let that pain dictate the last five miles of the race, or you can decide to lean into it and appreciate that you’re lucky enough to push yourself so hard. You need to rewire your brain to believe that this is how you’re supposed to feel, and keep running at your best despite it.”

— Veronica (Jackson) Graziano, 2020 Olympic Trials qualifier and member of the Tracksmith Hare AC Boston Racing Team

“I breathe in strength and I breathe out weakness.”

— Amy Hastings Cragg, American track and field athlete

“Leaving the comfort zone is the price I pay to discover how good I can be. If I planned to go back every time running gets tough, I’d hang up my shoes and start knitting.”

— Del Tilo

RELATED: Des Linden ain’t done yet

“Winning is great, sure, but if you’re really going to do anything in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can bounce back after a crushing loss and win again, you will be a champion one day.”

— Wilma Rudolph, Olympic sprinter

“Every time I fail, I assume I’ll be a stronger person for it. I keep running figuratively and literally, despite a limp that becomes more noticeable with each passing season, because for me there has always been somewhere to go and a terrible urge to get there.

— Joan Benoit Samuelson, first women’s Olympic marathon winner

Phrases for the love of running


“That’s the thing about racing: your best races are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in which running allows you to see how wonderful your life is.

—Kara Goucher

“He runs often. run long. But never leave behind your joy of running.”

— Julie Isphording, former Olympic runner

“I succeed on my own personal motivation, dedication and commitment. My mindset is: if I’m not training, someone else is.”

— Lynn Jennings, American long-distance runner

“Our running shoes have magic in them. The power to turn a bad day into a good day; the frustration in speed; self-doubt in confidence; chocolate cake on muscle.”

— Mina Samuels, author of Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives

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“You were born to run. Maybe not as fast, maybe not as far, maybe not as efficiently as others. But to get up and move, to activate this whole process of energy production, oxygen supply and bone strengthening that we call running.

— Florence Griffith Joyner, Olympic sprinter

“I run because I can. When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run, what they would give to have this simple gift I take for granted, and I run harder for them. I know they would do the same for me.”

– A stranger

“The more I run, the more I love my body. Not because it’s perfect, far from it, but because with every mile he’s showing me that I’m capable of more than I ever thought possible.”

– A stranger