All runners know the challenge of training, racing, and staying motivated. To help you through those times, we’ve put together a list of inspirational running quotes that share bits of wisdom from athletes, thinkers, writers, and many others.
Most of us have days where we wish we could have a little more motivation. This can be true in running as well as in any other area of our lives. Despite our best intentions, we all hit those moments when we feel like we’re in a slump, and we need a little jump start to get rolling again.
As runners, many of us rely on motivation to get ourselves out the door day after day. Motivation to put in the miles is most effective when mixed with a healthy dose of discipline and accountability, but it always remains an important part of our training. Having a variety of sources to draw from, both internal and external, can ensure that motivation is always within our reach.
Get Motivated with Inspirational Running Quotes
Motivation can be a powerful lightning bolt of productivity! It’s what inspires us to dive wholeheartedly into a new training plan, even when our goal race may be months away. And motivation can be contagious – being around others that are doing amazing things makes it easier for us to envision ourselves doing the same.
We have all experienced the energizing feeling that comes from seeing something inspiring. Suddenly we want to leap off the couch and take action! Sometimes an inspirational quote can do just that, especially when the words feel like they were written just for you. The words and actions of others can open the door to our own vision of what’s possible, and this can be powerful stuff.
Motivation through Goals
Once the inspiration is there, it helps to get a little more formal with the goal-setting process. Getting motivated to train and race starts with setting the right kind of goals. When you’re looking at the long-range view of your training, dream big! Setting long-term goals that are scary enough to inspire you to put in the daily work is half the battle.
If goal setting isn’t something you have considered recently, make the time to do so. Visualizing what you hope to accomplish in the months and years ahead can be an excellent way to initiate self-motivation. Sometimes that first vision of your goal is a little hazy and nondescript, but if it gets you excited that’s all that matters!
Motivation will benefit you most when it is used to back up a short or long-term goal. Think about what you want to accomplish in the long term, and then break that down into shorter-term goals that you can accomplish along the way. Success at one goal, no matter how small, will get the ball rolling and have a snowball effect on future goals.
Inspiration for Long and Short-Term Success
While intrinsic motivation is essential to long term-success, we all need some sources of external motivation to keep us going from time to time. This is especially true when your goal feels like it’s a long way off.
As I mentioned above, the words or actions of others can be a be an excellent source of motivation when setting your big picture goals. But they can be just as inspiring when you hit a slump in the middle of your training cycle. Inject some energy and motivation into your training from the words or accomplishments of others.
Inspirational running quotes are good tools to remind yourself why you work hard, train for months, and race to accomplish your goals. The next time you feel like you’re in a slump or having a hard time lacing up your shoes, copy your favorite quote and print it out in large font. Tape that piece of paper next to your desk, by your running gear, or wherever you need it – it will help motivate you to get the work done.
These inspirational running quotes are among my favorites and inspire me to stay focused every day. I hope you enjoy them.
“There are a lot of guys out there now who know they are not working as hard as other people. I can’t fathom how they think.” – Alberto Salazar
“What does not destroy me, makes me strong.” – Nietzsche
“It works better for me to be nervous and hungry.” – Lance Armstrong
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier
“To be a good runner, you must first be a good athlete.” – Jay Johnson
“You don’t run against a bloody stopwatch, do you hear? A runner runs against himself, against the best that’s in him…Against all the rottenness in the world. Against God, if you’re good enough.” – Bill Persons
“Consistency is king.” – Unknown
“Good things come slow, especially in distance running.” – Bill Dellinger
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.” – Bill Bowerman
“Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts.” – Steve Prefontaine
“One thing about racing is that it hurts. You better accept that from the beginning or you’re not going anywhere.” – Bob Kennedy
“A man who sets out to become an artist at the mile is something like a man who sets out to discover the most graceful method of being hanged. No matter how logical his plans, he can not carry them out without physical suffering.” – Paul O’Neil
“‘No pain, no gain’ does not mean that pain systematically equals gain. It’s easy to go hard. It’s hard to go smart.” – Erwan Le Corre
“Run the first two-thirds of the race with your head and the last third with your heart.” – Unknown
“It’s at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys.” – Emil Zatopek
“In football, you might get your bell rung, but you go in with the expectation that you might get hurt, and you hope to win and come out unscathed. As a distance runner, you know you’re going to get your bell rung. Distance runners are experts at pain, discomfort, and fear. You’re not coming away feeling good. It’s a matter of how much pain you can deal with on those days. It’s not a strategy. It’s just a callusing of the mind and body to deal with discomfort. Any serious runner bounces back. That’s the nature of their game. Taking pain.” – Mark Wetmore
“You can’t flirt with the track, you must marry it.” – Bill Easton
“If you want to run, then run a mile. If you want to experience another life, run a marathon.” – Emil Zatopek
“The human spirit is indomitable. No one can ever say you must not run faster than this or jump higher than that. There will never be a time when the human spirit will not be able to better existing records.” – Sir Roger Bannister
“To be great, one does not have to be mad, but definitely it helps.” – Percy Cerutty
“We must wake up to the fact that athletics is not, nor ever can be perfected; there will always be more to learn.” – Arthur “GreatHeart” Newton
“God has given me the ability. The rest is up to me. Believe. Believe. Believe.” – Billy Mills
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong
“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.” – Marilyn vos Savant
“Run hard when it’s hard to run.” – Paavo Nurmi
“When you experience the run, you…relive the hunt. Running is about thirty miles of chasing prey that can outrun you in a sprint, and tracking it down and bringing life back to your village. It’s a beautiful thing.” – Shawn Found
“Things in motion sooner catch the eye than what not stirs.” – Shakespeare
“I’d tell myself just to start. Then, even if I couldn’t get through it all, at least I’d done something.” – Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Enjoy Your Hard Work
“I want my time spent running to serve as a reward.” – Frank Shorter
“The essential thing in life is not so much conquering as fighting well.” – Baron de Coubertin
“I love running cross-country…You come up a hill and see two deer going, ‘What the hell is he doing?’ On a track I feel like a hamster.” – Robin Williams
“Remarkable health is the pursuit of the unconventional.” – Matt Gartland
“Always enjoy yourself. Don’t be upset if you don’t win, you’ve won by simply not giving up.” – Unknown
Whether you’re in need of motivation to get out the door or to set your goals for the year ahead, I hope these inspirational running quotes help light the fire to get you motivated and energized!
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For more inspiring stories, personal experiences, and in-depth discussions, tune in to our Strength Running Podcast.Photo Credit: Zach Dischner, Zach Klein and Ewen and Donabel