Running Quotes About Pain

Inspiration for Endurance

Steve Prefontaine Running
Photo credit: Tony Duffy /Allsport

Whether they're racing or training, runners sometimes have to deal with pain. Get inspired by these quotes about embracing the pain and pushing through it.

Dean Karnazes, Ultra-marathoner and Author

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

"I never feel more alive than when I'm in great pain, struggling against insurmountable odds and untold adversity.

Hardship? Suffering? Bring it!"

"People think I'm crazy to put myself through such torture, though I would argue otherwise. Somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness. Dostoyevsky had it right: 'Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.' Never are my senses more engaged than when the pain sets in. There is a magic in misery. Just ask any runner."

Pat Teske

"Relish the bad training runs. Without them, it's difficult to recognize, much less appreciate, the good ones."

Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers General Manager, NHL Hall of Fame

"I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain—and you've got to work your way through the pain. Lately, it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push  yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond."

Anonymous, Seen on Marathon Spectator Signs

"Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit."

"This is your moment. Celebrate the pain."

"Pain is just weakness leaving your body."

"Pain is temporary, pride is forever."

Anonymous, Seen on a Marathon Runner's T-shirt

"Pain later"

Dr. George Sheehan, Running Author

"To keep from decaying, to be a winner, the athlete must accept pain--not only accept it, but look for it, live with it, learn not to fear it."

Brian Tackett

"Running is like mouthwash; if you can feel the burn, it's working."

Adam Goucher, NCAA Cross Country Division 1 Individual Champion 1998

"For something to hurt that bad, and feel so good, it's just inexplicable."

Steve Prefontaine

"A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more."

Coach Sam Dee, The Olympian

"There are people who have no bodies, only heads. And many athletes have no heads, only bodies. A champion is a man who has trained his body and his mind, who has learned to conquer pain for his own purposes. A great athlete is at peace with himself and at peace with the  world; he has fulfilled himself."

Gene Thibeault

"If you start to feel good during an ultra, don't worry, you will get over it."

Hal Higdon, Running Writer and Coach

"The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals."

"We all have bad days and bad workouts, when running gets ugly, when split times seem slow, when you wonder why you started. It will pass."

Ben Logsdon

"There is no time to think about how much I hurt; there is only time to run."

Emil Zatopek

"It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys."

Sally McRae, Professional Ultrarunner

"The pain is not greater than what is at the finish line."

Shalane Flanagan

"I will go through a lot of pain to beat someone. If there's pride and ego on the line, if I'm desperate, then I'm willing to go to a place where it hurts a lot more."

Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon Champion

"The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet.

It is the will to succeed."

Rob de Castella

"If you feel bad at 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal."

Josh Cox, U.S. 50K Record Holder

"The pain of training is nothing compared to the pain of not reaching your potential."

Chrissie Wellington, World Ironman Champion

"It's when the discomfort strikes that they realize a strong mind is the most powerful weapon of all."

Frank Shorter

"Experience has taught me how important it is to just keep going, focusing on running fast and relaxed. Eventually pain passes and the flow returns. It's part of racing."

Martine Costello, on  Running Marathons

"You're running on guts. On fumes. Your muscles twitch. You throw up. You're delirious. But you keep running because there's no way out of this hell you're in, because there's no way you're not crossing the finish line. It's a misery that non-runners don't understand."

Ryan Hall, U.S. Olympic Marathoner

"Suffering is an extraordinary teacher."

Ann Trason

"It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse."

William Sigei

"Learn to run when feeling the pain: then push harder."

John Farrington

"Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when the awareness comes, it is excruciating."

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