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The 47 Most Motivational Running Quotes for 2014 (… and 3 amazing ways to apply them)

runningmotivationBeing a runner can sometimes feel like riding on a roller coaster. Although it is fun and exciting, there will be times when you’ll feel out of motivation.

During the bad times there isn’t much you can do, other than to keep on pushing forward. Even when running at a world class level, there were many days I needed to dig just a little bit deeper to find a true meaning with that particular run.

In that spirit and leading into 2014, here are 47 inspirational running quotes for 2014

1. “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

2. “All I do is keep on running in my own cozy, homemade void, my own nostalgic silence. And this is a pretty wonderful thing. No matter what anybody else says.” ― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

3. “The idea that the harder you work, the better you’re going to be is just garbage. The greatest improvement is made by the man or woman who works most intelligently.” ― Bill Bowerman, former coach of Steve Prefontaine

4. “When I’m running I don’t have to talk to anybody and don’t have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can’t do without.”― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

5. “I’m often asked what I think about as I run. Usually the people who ask this have never run long distances themselves. I always ponder the question. What exactly do I think about when I’m running? I don’t have a clue.” ― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

6. “Of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. Hard is what makes it great.” – Jimmy Dugan  from A League Of Their Own

7.  “Being active every day makes it easier to hear that inner voice.” ― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

8. “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson

9 . “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, “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen”

10. “The best pace is suicide pace… and today is a good day to die” Steve Prefontaine, famous US distance runner

11. “People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. 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 then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree” ― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

12. “If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.” ― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

13. “In the year 2025, the best men don’t run for president, they run for their lives. . . .” ― Stephen King, The Running Man

14. “That’s the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is.” Kara Goucher

15. “The music of a marathon is a powerful strain, one of those tunes of glory. It asks us to forsake pleasures, to discipline the body, to find courage, to renew faith and to become one’s own person, utterly and completely.” Dr. George Sheehan

16. “Some people train knowing they’re not working as hard as other people. I can’t fathom how they think.”-Alberto Salazar, coach of Olympic champion Mo Farah

17. “Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body.” -Lynn Jennings

18. “Running isn’t a sport for pretty boys…It’s about the sweat in your hair and the blisters on your feet. Its 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, The Gift – A Runner’s Story

19.  “It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan

20. “You only ever grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone.” -Percy Cerutty

21. “Have you ever felt worse after a run?” – George Sheehan

22. “Life is a positive-sum game. Everyone from the gold medallist to the last finisher can rejoice in a personal victory.” – George Sheehan

23. “I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” – Jesse Owens

24. “We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” -Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

25. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.” -Bill Bowerman, coach of Steve Prefontaine

26. “I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.”-Arthur Blank

27. “Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded” — Author Unknown

28. “Long Distance training can be a positive & constructive form of selfishness. After all, once you’re at the starting line, you’re there by yourself. No one can run a single step for you. No one can jump in & help you. No one but you can make the decisions about what to do to keep going. It’s all up to you.” ― John Bingham

29. “Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy.” ― Mark Will-Weber

30. “One late afternoon, after swimming in a lake, he began to jog around to ease his chill. Soon enough he found himself running for the sheer exhilaration of it, across the moor and toward the coast.  The sky filled with crimson clouds, and as he ran a light rain started to fall.  With the sun warming his back, a rainbow appeared in front of him, and he seemed to run toward it. Along the coast the rhythm of the water breaking against the rocks eased him, and he circled back to where he had begun.  Cool, wet air filled his lungs.  Running into the sun now, he had trouble seeing the ground underneath his feet, but still he rushed forward, alive with the movement.  Finally spent as the sun disappeared from the horizon, he tumbled down a light hill and rested on his back, his feet bleeding, but feeling rejuvenated. He needed to reconnect to the joy of running, to get away from the tyranny of the track” -Neil Bascomb, Perfect Mile (on Roger Bannister, first sub 4 minute miler )

31.  “A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they’re capable of understanding.” Steve Prefontaine, legendary US runner.

32. “You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.” – Gatorade

33. “It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.”– Seneca

34. “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.” – coach Mark Wetmore

35. “A course never quite looks the same way twice. The combinations of weather, season, light, feelings and thoughts that you find there are ever-changing.” – Joe Henderson, Running writer

36. “Listen to your body. Do not be a blind and deaf tenant.”  -Dr. George Sheehan 

37. “We all need goals. Life is hard to live without one” -Tory Baucum

38. “We who run (marathons) are different from those who merely study us. We are out there experiencing what they are trying to put into words. We know what they are merely trying to know. They are seeking belief, while we already believe. Our difficulty is in expressing the whole truth of that experience, that knowledge, that belief.” – George Sheehan

39. “It’s important to know that at the end of the day it’s not the medals you remember. What you remember is the process — what you learn about yourself by challenging yourself, the experiences you share with other people, the honesty the training demands — those are things nobody can take away from you whether you finish twelfth or you’re an Olympic Champion.”  -Silken Laumann, Canadian Olympian

40. “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” – Vince Lombard

41. “It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop” Confucius

42. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent” Calvin Coolidge

43. “The Marathon is a swift 20 mile warm-up followed by a 10k race” Andy Greene, 2.12 marathoner

44. When it’s pouring rain and you’re bowling along through the wet, there’s satisfaction in knowing you’re out there and the others aren’t. Peter Snell, Olympic champion

45. “The only way around is through.” – Robert Frost, author

46. “Every passion has its destiny” Billy Mills, Olympic 10k Champion

47. “It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination. We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else. We can enjoy every moment of movement, as long as where we are is as good as where we’d like to be. That’s not to say that you need to be satisfied forever with where you are today. But you need to honor what you’ve accomplished, rather than thinking of what’s left to be done”  ― John Bingham

So what are the 3 cool ways to apply these quotes ?

Let me share with you three of my favorite ones to stay motivated.

1. The Secret of Never Missing a Workout With The 10-Minute Rule

The 10-Minute Rule states that you must train for at least 10 minutes before you can decide not to train. For example, let’s say my goal is to work out, perhaps running 3 times a week (or another type of exercise, for that matter). I might say to myself: I can quit working out, stay inside, and rest on the couch. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? BUT… The only rules for this step are:

  1. You must work out for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Once 10 minutes has passed, it is perfectly okay to go back home and continue resting.

See, what you are doing here is actually going out there and starting the work. This eliminates the decision phase of an activity, which is by far the most stressful one. Once your workout has started it is very easy to continue, and you’ll find yourself practically never stepping off the workout after 10 minutes.

2. Get a plan that includes a CLEAR periodization.

With the 100 day plan, this is exactly what you find. It helps you stay motivated week after week, with its variation and specific running workouts.

3. Automate Your Success by Taking Only One Day at a Time

Anonymous alcoholics live by this principle every day: take one day at a time.

Do this yourself, and anchor it to one of your daily activities, such as brushing your teeth every morning. Decide at that time that this will be a good day, one where you will stick to the plan like you normally do. Just quietly remind yourself of your commitment to the running plan and to yourself.

Nothing further is required. Remember that one of the keys to motivation is automation.

Anchoring these positive thoughts to a daily activity will assist with this. At the same time, this small positive reminder can be very helpful for your mindset when performed on a regular, daily basis.

The happier you are, the easier it becomes. Don’t overwhelm yourself, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Soon enough, you will find yourself further along than you could have imagined.

For further motivation, I’ve created an infographic with the quotes. You may use the code below the image to place it on your own blog/site, if you like. quotes

Do you know any other good running quotes for motivation ? Leave a comment below… and please share with your friends if you liked it 😉

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  1. adrianarayamarin@yahoo.com' says

    Thanks, that is an excellent package of motivation thoughts for running, but they really aply for undertaking our daily challenges in all aspects of our life more proactive and positively,
    please keep us updated and best wishes,

    • Marius Bakken, M.D. says


      I’m glad you liked them – there is some real good wisdom there, both on and off the running track/path.


  2. m-breivi@online.no'Jan-Magne Breivik says

    Supert Marius! Mange meget gode uttrykk, og det gir meg enda litt mer inspirasjon å trene fremover! tusen takk!!

  3. manny_hydra@bigpond.com'Manny says

    where were you when I needed you
    After reading your quotes I again have the desire to continue my everest
    To complete another marathon approaching my 60th birthday

    • Marius Bakken, M.D. says

      Manny, I’m glad you liked the quoetes and keep up the running, turning 60. I hope to be there as well, when I reach your age 😉

      all the best,

  4. fayeshannel@hotmail.com'Faye says

    Thanks so much for reaching out to me with your encouraging words of wisdom. I ran my last race in 2011 it was the detroit half marathon, i stopped because of personal things that i was experiencing in my life, some how i lost myself. For two years i find myself thinking about my passion for running and how much i miss it but i just cant seem to get it back. So for my 2014 resolution I signed up for 4races starting with a 5k n ending with the detroit half marathon. By doing this i felt a familiar excitement that i havent felt in a very long time. So my training has started. Thanks again for your quotes. FAYE

    • Marius Bakken, M.D. says

      Faye, I wish you all the best for New Year and I hope too, that 2014 will improve your 2011 P.R.s 🙂


  5. runningfox@daelnet.co.uk' says

    That quote of Bill Bowerman’s always annoys me (There’s no such thing as bad weather, only soft people). I’d like to hear him say that when he’s coming up 82 and wearing jam-jar spectacles…..

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