20 Running Motivation Quotes: The Top Inspirational Running Quotes

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Here are our favorite running motivation quotes: picked to get you buzzed to lace up your running shoes and hit the trails!

Mental stamina is a key attribute to a long andrunning. So can running motivation quotes help strengthen the mind? 

Many people glance at motivational quotes and dismiss them as ‘feel good’ or ‘self-help,’ but solid motivational quotes can actually help you become a better runner…if you use them right. 

And when it’s been shown repeatedly that mental preparation boosts your running performance, using these motivational running quotes as running mantras may give you that edge to do your best – whether you’re doing Couch To 5k or running a marathon!

running motivation quotes

How to Use Motivational Quotes to Become a Better Runner

The key to using quotes for a positive impact on your running: find quotes that really make you feel something.

In this article, I’ve gathered quotes from world champion athletes and literary greats that will actually make you feel inspired. 

The next thing to do is pick out 2-3 quotes that influence you strongly. Forget about all the rest for the time being – you can always come back and get more later. 

Then, write the quotes down somewhere you’ll see them often. The whiteboard on your fridge, sticky notes on your mirror, or your desktop screensaver are some good places to start. 

Now, instead of writing them down and ignoring them from this time forward, remind yourself to read the quotes every day. When you read them, bring back the feeling of inspiration you felt when you first read them. 

These steps come from the science behind positive affirmations. Psychiatrist Christopher N. Cascio found that when you use positive affirmations (or inspirational quotes), neural pathways in your prefrontal cortex are triggered. 

Falk et al found that these triggers reframe “otherwise-threatening information as more self-relevant and valuable.” This means that you begin to reshape your self-identity and your beliefs about what you can and cannot do. 

And when you change your beliefs, your actions follow. 

So instead of reading these quotes and forgetting about them, be sure to follow these steps to actually strengthen your confidence and mental stamina, and improve your running performance and motivation. 

Related: 50 David Goggins Quotes for Runners To Get Motivated

  • Related: The 18 Best Running Mantras To Keep You Going
  • 20 Running Motivation Quotes to Build Your Mental Stamina

    running motivation quotes

    Running Quotes for Beginners

    It’s not easy when you’re getting started. I remember when I started running. Face bright red, legs in pain, barely able to breathe, only able to run for a minute at a time…it was hard. 

    It took a few weeks of dedicated running to finally run a mile without stopping. For some people, it can take longer than that. But when my friend pushed me to run three miles without stopping, I was so proud of my success. 

    Every milestone after that gave me the same feeling of accomplishment and pride that I’d stuck with my goal…not to mention the runner’s high

    So when you’re starting out in your running journey, these running motivation quotes are great to help you stick with it. 

    running motivation quotes

    1. You ARE a Runner

    “It doesn’t matter how fast or how far you’re going. If you’re putting on your shoes and going out for a run, you are a runner, you are in that club.” 

    Kara Goucher, Olympic long-distance runner and bronze medalist of the Boston Marathon

    2. Adopt a Healthy Philosophy

    The advice I have for beginners is the same philosophy that I have for runners of all levels of experience and ability: consistency, a sane approach, moderation, and making your running an enjoyable, rather than dreaded, part of your life.” 

    Bill Rodgers, 4-time Boston Marathon winner

    3. You Can Do It

    “When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore.” 

    Florence Griffin, 3-time Olympic gold winner

    Inspirational Running Quotes From Athletes

    running motivation quotes

    4. Learn How to Lose

    “Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”

    — Wilma Rudolph, Olympic sprinter

    5. Put in the Work

    “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”

    Juma Inkangaa, 1989 winner of the New York Marathon

    6. Tough Love

    “All runners are tough. Everyone has to have a little fire in them, that even in tough times, can’t be turned off.”

    — Shalane Flanagan, Olympic long-distance runner

    7. Why Wait?

     “…For me there has always been a place to go and a terrible urgency to get there.”

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

    Running Quotes from Literary Greats

    running motivation quotes

    While not all of these writers were/are runners, they do know what it means to be dedicated, to follow their dreams, and to influence world culture for generations to come. 

    Plus, writers just have a knack for inspiring others with their words. 

    8. Endurance Grounds You

    “The men who learn endurance, are they who call the whole world, brother.” 

    — Charles Dickens

    9. Do Your Best Today

    “Forever is composed of nows.” 

    — Emily Dickinson

    10. A Minute Isn’t a Long Time

    “Fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run.” 

    — Rudyard Kipling

    11. Accept Pain as Part of Life

    “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

    ― Haruki Murakami

    12. When the Sun Comes Up, You’d Better Be Running

    Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.

    ― Christopher McDougall / unknown parable

    running motivation quotes

    13. Running Helps You Live Life to the Fullest

    “Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life.”

    — Haruki Murakami

    14. Have Courage

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

    ― John Bingham

    15. Never Give Up

    “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”

    Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Runner and Author

    16. Be the Best Runner You Can Be

    “Running isn’t a sport for pretty boys…It’s about the sweat in your hair and the blisters on your feet. It’s the frozen spit on your chin and the nausea in your gut.

    It’s about throbbing calves and cramps at midnight that are strong enough to wake the dead. 

    It’s about getting out the door and running when the rest of the world is only dreaming about having the passion that you need to live each and every day with.

    It’s about being on a lonely road and running like a champion even when there’s not a single soul in sight to cheer you on. 

    Running is all about having the desire to train and persevere until every fiber in your legs, mind, and heart is turned to steel. And when you’ve finally forged hard enough, you will have become the best runner you can be. And that’s all that you can ask for.”

    — Paul Maurer

    Trail Running Quotes for the Outdoor Adventurers

    running motivation quotes

    Trail running is an incredible experience that every runner should try.

    Running with the birds and through trails, breathing in the smells of nature gives you a new appreciation and love for running and for the world around us. 

    It also tests you beyond your limits. 

    Related: Trail Running Guide for Beginners

    17. Embrace the Ups…and Downs

    “For running, looking around means embracing the process, including the ups and downs on the way. It means the same thing for life. If the goal is just to connect summits, you’ll probably grow to be indifferent about all the time you aren’t on top of a mountain.”

    — Megan and David Roche, running coaches and authors

    18. Enjoy the Journey

    “Go fast enough to get there, but slow enough to see.”

    — Jimmy Buffet

    Related: 6 Benefits of Trail Running

    19. Be Curious

    “Climb mountains, not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.”

    — David McCoullough Jr. 

    20. It’s Totally Worth It

    “The danger of adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort.”

    — Paulo Coelho

    Related: Our 30 Favorite Funny Running Quotes

    running motivation quotes
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    Mia Kercher is a hiker, cyclist, and runner. After finishing her first marathon in 2013, she continued the sport but found a new passion in trail running. She now explores the glorious mountains in Portland, Oregon.

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