How Positive Mantras Compare With Our Real Mid-Run Thoughts

Mantras can make useful tools, but the messages involved are often different from the thoughts that are truly running through our minds.

We have all seen, heard and maybe even used inspirational running quotes and mantras—but they are often not enough. On a cold, dark and rainy morning when you want to be all “can’t stop, won’t stop” but feel more like “can’t move, don’t want to” is when you realize it takes a lot more than a mantra to be disciplined in your longterm training regimen.

Here are some popular running and racing mantras—and what we sometimes really think instead!

In Racing: Inspirational Quotes

“I can run faster.” —Haile Gebrselassie, distance runner, marathoner and Olympian

“If I was Haile Gebrselassie I could run faster!”

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” —Steve Prefontaine, Olympic middle-distance runner

“I want to return the gift!”

“I have met my hero, and he is me.” — Dr. George Sheehan, physician, runner and coach

“My real hero is Des Linden and she considered dropping out at mile 5 in Boston, so maybe…”

“Fighter.” — Kara Goucher, American marathoner, middle-distance runner and Olympian

“Sleeper. Coffee drinker. Netflix watcher.”

In Training: Popular Mantras

“Hills are my friend.”

Who needs friends?

“Turn and burn.”

Slow and low.

“The strong get stronger.”

The rested get more rest.

“Run the mile you’re in.”

One mile is good for today.

“I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done.”

…And I’m done.

No matter what you tell yourself to get out the door or push through another mile, know that there will always be good and bad days—but you never return from a run wishing you hadn’t gone!


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