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Many of you have races coming up. Whether you’re looking to earn a personal best, complete a race to the best of your ability, or run happy, don’t forget “your why.” Internalize it into a phrase that you can repeat to yourself when you’re in the pain cave and contemplating why you chose this particular hobby.

Every athlete could use a running mantra. Below are some ideas to help you come up with one that’s meaningful to you.



Trash talking yourself category

  • Don’t forget. You paid good money for this.
  • How bad do you want it? You bitch!
  • This feels great. (yes, it’s sarcasm)
  • Don’t be weak.
  • F#$% you legs! I ain’t stopping.


Pain ain’t shit category

  • Pain is just weakness leaving the body.
  • I came here for exactly this.
  • More pain. Love it.
  • Bring it on.
  • It’s suppose to hurt.


Positive/cheerful/be your own best friend category

  • Don’t forget to smile.
  • I love this.
  • This is incredible.
  • This is the greatest.
  • I get to do this.


Cliched but it works category

  • Fearless.
  • One step at a time.
  • Forward.
  • No quit.
  • Embrace the suck.
  • Run happy.
  • Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.
  • I can do this.


Break out in case of hills category

  • This is where men separate from boys.
  • Mountain, you ain’t shit.
  • Powerful.
  • What goes up must come down.
  • Appreciate the view.
  • I love climbs. Give me more.
  • I’m a serial hill murderer.


My personal mantras (just sharing some personal favorites)

  • Patience. Persistence. Enjoyment.
  • I’m stronger.
  • This is a privilege.
  • Run smooth and strong.


Hear it from the pros

Here are some inspirational words and phrases that have powered the world’s best.


Kara Goucher, US Olympian and 10,000 meter World Championships silver medalist.

“Run without any regret.”

Shalane Flanagan, Olympic silver medalist and New York City Marathon champion.

“Focus, focus, focus.”

Rob Krar, back-to-back Western States Endurance Run champion.


Bill Rodgers, aka Boston Billy for his four Boston Marathon victories. Widely credited for popularizing the sport of running.

“Calm. Calm. Calm. Relax. Relax. Relax.”

Des Linden, two-time Olympian and Boston Marathon champion.

“Mood follows action.”

Rich Roll, ultramarathon runner, endurance athlete, and popular podcast host.

“Go faster. Push harder. Today, define yourself.”

Deena Kastor, Olympic bronze medalist, former holder of the US marathon record.

“This too shall pass.”

Sarah True, Olympian and professional triathlete.


Heading out the door for a workout? Don’t forget to fuel properly to keep the positive momentum going. Here are a few recent articles to help you find suitable energy gels and develop a fueling plan.