Favorite Running Quotes and Mantras to Inspire your Best Run

Running can sometimes be a struggle, especially when you are tired and sore towards the end of a long run or race. It is during these hard times that many runners fall back on their favorite quotes and mantras to push forward. Words can inspire us to keep going, persevere and make it to the finish line. Here are some favorite running quotes and mantras to inspire your best run.

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I wrote a blog article on Healthy Living Quotes.  This article had 40 of my most favorite quotes that have inspired me to life a healthy life.  And after publishing it, I discovered that you love quotes too. 

So, I decided to do another article on quotes.  This time I enlisted the help of some runner friends.  I miss running with my buddies during this pandemic and time of social distancing. 

Reading these favorite running quotes and sayings inspires me.  I think about some of the conversations I have had with my running buddies during our runs.  And running solo out there now isn’t as lonely. 

So, let me share some of the best running quotes, sayings and mantras with you now. 

25 Inspiring Running Quotes

These are some favorite quotes by famous people hand picked by me and my runner friends.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. 


“The body achieves what the mind believes.”

– Napolean Hill –


“It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”

– Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own


“Go the extra mile.  It is never crowded there”

– Unknown –



“Run in the morning … before your brain figures out what your body is doing!”

– Unknown –


“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

– John Bingham –


“Tough runs don’t last, but tough runners do.”

– Unknown –


“Don’t look back;  they may be gaining on you”

– Satchel Paige –


“She said she could, so she did”

– R. S. Grey in Scoring Wilder


“Pain is temporary, quitting lasts a lifetime “

– Lance Armstrong –


“Pain is weakness leaving the body!”

– Chesty Puller –



“I don’t stop when I am tired. I stop when I am done.”

– James Bond –


“One day your body won’t be able to do this – today is not that day”

– Unknown –


“I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep”

– Robert Frost poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening


“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”

– Steve Prefontaine –


“There’s magic in misery.”

– Dean Karnazes, ultrarunner –


“If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you”

– Fred DeVito –


“The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you”

– Unknown –



“I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner.”  

– Bart Yasso –


“The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other… but to be with each other.”  

– Christopher McDougall –


“Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running.”

–  Julie Isphording –


“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.”  

– Bill Bowerman –


“What does not destroy me, makes me strong.” 

– Nietzsche –

10 Things Runners Say to Motivate Themselves

These are quotes from everyday runners.  We all have that voice inside our head that motivates us.  And now my runner friends want to share with you their own personal motivation. 


“You can handle anything for 10 minutes”


“Run the mile you are in”



“The only run that matters is this one you are running right now”


“Today is your day to get it done!”


“A 30 minute run is only 2% of your day.”

That is not too much to ask of yourself, now, is it?


“You don’t have to run fast, you just have to run.”



“Your Race.  Your Pace.”


“Get dressed.  Go out that door.  And run.”

Sometimes getting dressed is the hardest part.


“You got this!”

And you totally do!

12 Funny Things Runners Say

My friends can be hilarious. These are so funny. But, I have to admit that I have caught myself saying some of these things.  Have you? 


“I am never doing this again… I promise… Honestly.” 

And then I sign up for another race.


“Shut up legs, you’re fine.”

Sometimes you just have to tell your body what’s what and put an end to it’s complaining.


“Just ___ (fill in the blank) more minutes and you never have to do this ever again.”

But of course, you will.


I’ve also heard someone say

“When life gives you lemons, hope that they are Lululemons.”


“It’s all downhill from here.” 

This works great once you get over that hill and the rest of your run is truly downhill. 


Food at the end of a race seems to be a universal motivating factor for most runners. 


“You’ve been through worse.” 

So true.  No matter how hard the run is that day, I will bet you have been through worse. 


“I love running, I hate running, I love running, I hate running …” 

Most, if not all, runners have a love – hate relationship with running. 


“Just get to the next bathroom.”


“I gave birth dammit! I got this!” 

When my friend told me this, I nearly spit out my coffee. 

And the next two are what we say to ourselves after the run is done.


“I can eat all the food now”

Runners do love food!


“Did you die?”

Of course we didn’t, but it sure felt like we were going to. Am I right?!

12 Running Mantras

To take their mind off the discomfort and pain of distance running, some runners turn to mantras. 

“Mantra is defined as a statement, slogan, word or sound repeated frequently to aid in concentration or meditation. “Oxford Dictionaries  

Here are some running mantras that my fellow runners want to share with you.  Say them over and over and over again when you are tired. Whatever you need to do to get to that finish line!


“run run run run run run run…”


“right left right left right left right left …”


“don’t stop don’t quit don’t stop don’t quit …”


“My legs DO NOT hurt. My legs DO NOT hurt. My legs DO NOT hurt…”


“Onward and Forward”



“One step at a time. One foot in front of the other.”


“No regrets”


“Suck it up, Buttercup”

The original quote is attributed to Captain Williams, a WWI commander.  When asked to retreat in battle, he said “Retreat?  Hell, we just got here.  Suck it up, Buttercup!”



“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”

I have used this one to get up steep or long hills.


“I am not a quitter”

Self-Talk When You are Tired on a Run

And lastly, these aren’t mantras, but they can help get you to the finish line.  All runners learn little mind games to keep moving forward.

Try telling yourself one of these when you are tired and just want to stop, but you still have some miles to go…


“Just a little further now.”


“You are half way to halfway”

For when you are ¼ of the way in.


“Just to the end of the block … ”

Then to the end of the next block… And so on …


“There’s nothing to do but run it home now”

When you are at the half way turn around point.


I hope you enjoyed these running quotes, sayings and mantras.  Comment below with your favorite.  Do you have a running mantra to share? 

If you want to read more about running on Pink Ribbon Runner, check out the Running Archives.


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  1. “I don’t stop when I am tired. I stop when I am done” is my new favorite quote! I love to challenge myself because without challenge, there isn’t any growth. Thank you for this reminder, and I will be repeating this quote in my head for my next run tomorrow. Thank you for sharing these fantastic quotes!

  2. So many new favorites. I really like the first one “The body achieves, what the mind believes.” That is why I don’t lose weight. Also “A 30-minute run is only 2% of your day.” There goes my I don’t have enough time excuse.

  3. I love most quotes on this list, I try to live by some of them. It’s hard to choose a favorite one, I have about 10 quotes on this list that I love and think about every day. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Wonderful. I am so glad you love quotes like I do. I think about them daily too. I have one journal devoted to positive and inspiring quotes.

    1. ha ha! Yes, these are great quotes for other exercises as well. Fabulous. Congrats on your squats and lunges!

  4. These are all so awesome and helpful! My favorite is definitely the one about running in the morning since your brain won’t know what you are doing. That one made me laugh because I work out and have my best runs in the morning, maybe because my brain hasn’t woken up yet…thank you for sharing these!

  5. Wow! This is great inspiration and motivation. I remember when I went hiking a few weeks ago going up to the summit and back down (1874m high) I was telling myself almost some of the mantras you mentioned. Yes, I made it.

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