41 Running Mantras to Motivate You During a Hard Run

Sure, you’re out there…moving your feet. Running. The legs seem to be working just fine. 

But what takes place inside your mind is what can make or break a run.

It’s true.

As emotions, thoughts or impulses take control of our brain… it’s hard to focus on the road marked ahead of us.  

Averting distractions, running mantras allow runners to intentionally direct our thoughts toward targets that ultimately pay enormous dividends.

Motivational Mantras

Inspirational speakers are known for elevating moods by speaking life into audiences through the power of their words.

An especially effective technique is the “repeat after me” bit, where the entire audience is speaking words of affirmation that boost spirits and elevate moods in the dreariest auditoriums.

Whether times aren’t what you wanted or sprinting spirits are down, that type of mantra magic can also work in your running routine.

So What Is a Mantra?

Sanskrit for “sacred utterance,” the origin of the word comes from manas (mind) and tra (tool). Mantras are basically “a tool for the mind.”  

In modern language, mantras are viewed as commonly repeated words or phrases that may be whispered silently or spoken aloud.

The key is repetition.

The aim is to transport our minds by focusing our thoughts, emotions, and intentions. Many runners silently recite their preferred mantras when they feel discouragement or weakness coming on.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Whether training for a race, working toward goal achievement or overcoming obstacles… physical performance experts note the importance of emphasizing mental fitness. Also known as mental agility or mental toughness, when considering any facet of your life, self-discipline involves practices in mindfulness.

Because your brain drives your run, it’s important to remember when you repeat something with focus and intention, you can clear any negative thoughts from your head so you can uncover targeted results.

I Think, Therefore, I Run

More than just instilling peace, mantras are rooted in neuroscience that allows us to forge new pathways in our brains by intentionally focusing our thoughts.

Consider repeating a simple mantra like, “I’m a runner”, as you lay your running shoes by the door each night before bed. When you do this, you’re more likely to become a beast of a runner than by lamenting, “it’s too early” or, “I want to sleep in.”  

How Can Mantras Improve a Runner’s Experience?

Mantras influence your well-being and open the doorways that shift focus and affect change. In the world of running, you can use mantras to take hold of negative ideas, thoughts, or emotions and replace them with positive visions and ideas to focus on.

Depending on the type of run, it’s easy to call out your mental fortitude when you are prepared with a mantra that invites your brain to focus.

Consider inspirational words, statements, catch phrases, or other “pep talk” slogans to repeat during each of the types of runs below. Or you can create your own mantras by borrowing from some of the great sources of inspiration below.

Start with Gratitude

It’s been shown that the happiest people in the world are the most grateful. Simple thoughts of thankfulness and appreciation while you run can shift your perspective when training for a big race… or merely maintaining your fitness level.

“It’s a great day to be alive” isn’t just a song by Tim McGraw. It may be a wonderful running mantra to start with.

Expressing gratitude for the fresh air, the beautiful weather, the friends you meet along the way… these can all boost your spirits when out for a run.

By exclusively focusing your thoughts on the words you’ve chosen to repeat, you’ll quickly find time passing by with a renewed sense of vision and purpose. And, after you start with gratitude, you can tailor your mantras for the types of runs below.

Eight Running Mantras for Adding Mileage

Starting simply, you may take inspiration from the short and sweet “I can do it” witnessed in this inspirating video.

  1. “Great men are not born great, they grow great.” –  The Godfather
  2. “You’ve trained for this.”
  3. “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” – Finding Nemo
  4. “Baby, we were born to run.”
  5. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi
  6. “Suck it up buttercup!”
  7. “Every man dies, but not every man really lives.” – Braveheart
  8. “All miles are good miles.”

Eight Running Mantras for Climbing Hills

Mantras help by taking our minds away from negative experiences or seemingly insurmountable challenges to convince our brains of the words we are repeating.

  1. “It’s a hill. Get over it.”
  2. “Get busy living or get busy dying.” – The Shawshank Redemption
  3. “Nothing can stop me. I can only stop myself.”
  4. “We shall never surrender.” – Winston Churchill
  5. “If it doesn’t challenge me, it doesn’t change me.”
  6. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
  7. “Get ‘er done.”
  8. “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” – Dead Poets Society

Eight Running Mantras for Building Speed

While speed is relative, it’s important to know how to tap into your inner beast mode when you are aiming to increase your MPH. Try some of these mantras to give your body a boost and up your RPMs.

  1. “Light it up.”
  2. “Turn it up to 11” – This is Spinal Tap
  3. “Run fast, go past.”
  4. “Don’t just fly, soar.” – Dumbo
  5. “I am strong. I am fast. I am in charge of how I think and feel.”
  6. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
  7. “I feel the need, the need for speed.” – Top Gun
  8. “Now’s the time to go for it.”
running mantra bracelet | marathon chants meaning | pre race affirmations

Eight Running Mantras for When You Want to Quit

Perseverance is a key to resilience. When you want to quit in running or in life, dig deep and find your inner strength. Some might even say that perseverance is your superpower. When you want to quit, you choose to press in and dig deep.

  1. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
  2. “Let It Go” – Frozen
  3. “Dig deep.”
  4. “I’m unstoppable.”
  5. “Pain is weakness leaving the body!”
  6. “I can do hard things.”
  7. “Finish strong.”
  8. “I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done.”

Eight Faith-Based Running Mantras

If you remember the training runs along the beach in Chariots of Fire, you recall how Olympian Eric Liddell said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run, I feel his pleasure.”

Sometimes feeling pleasure doesn’t come to mind in the middle of a run. It feels more like pummeling through a storm. Many find their faith serves as an anchor in the storms.

The concept of “taking thoughts captive” in the Christian realm implies that we have control over our thoughts before they take control of us. It’s all about creating short, faith-based motivators. Anytime you face a challenge that’s outside your comfort zone, try one of these mantras on for size.

  1. “Thank you, God for the ability to move my body like this.”
  2. “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” – Gladiator
  3. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
  4. “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” –  Invictus
  5. “This too shall pass.”
  6. “I thank God for my body, my ability, and my humanity.”
  7. “Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.”
  8. “I will overcome.”

Saved the Best for Last

If you noticed, there were only 40 running mantras… we think you’ll agree that we saved the best for last.

  1. “Do or do not. There is no ‘try.’” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Crossing the Finish Line

While it may seem simple, running mantras hold an enormous amount of power to encourage and inspire you, as a runner, toward your finish line.

Whether training in daily workouts or competing in ultramarathons, repeating mantras can serve as a guide to help you focus, concentrate, meditate or even pray with thanksgiving while you run.

If you’re familiar with the Law of Attraction, you already know that speaking positive thoughts into existence starts with the greatest pep talks we give ourselves. That’s basic mantra goodness… and it is beautifully applicable to your running life.

Final Thoughts on Running Mantras

The more you repeat your mantras, the more your positive mindset will transform your capacity for winning in all aspects of life.

As with any other good habit, practicing the art of positive self-talk can start with your morning routine,  sprinkled with running mantras. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by negative self-talk, practicing the art of positive self-talk through mantras allows a shift in how you feel and perform.

Negativity disappears. Darkness makes way for light. And your races can be run with positive intention.

When you train your brain as much as you train your body, your words become the fuel that programs you to win by driving your behavior in the right direction. And that type of goodness will never run out.

Let us know your favorite running mantra below. And, if you need some tips, here are some of our favorite tips for starting out your new life as a runner.

running mantras | funny running mantras | running mantra for strength