What the Pros Have to Say

Today, I thought I would include some quotes from elite runners to show you what they think about when they run and the things that motivate them to be the best. These runners are in incredible shape, but they also have impressive mental strength, and the combination of the two makes them the best of the best.

Steve Prefontaine, an internationally acclaimed track star at the time of his premature death at age 24, was a runner with guts. He once said, “You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” Prefontaine perfectly captures here the benefits of running, and the benefits of pushing yourself to get better and better. The self- satisfaction is an unparalleled feeling, and makes all of the hard work worth it.

Steve Prefontaine

Shalane Flanagan, a multiple American record holder and bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympic games, shared her insights after a tough race. She ran the marathon at the Olympic Trials with her training partner and friend, Amy Cragg. She noticed soon that she was extremely dehydrated, and began feeling lightheaded and dizzy only a few miles into the marathon. She told Amy to go ahead without her, and Amy soon developed a lead over Flanagan. Flanagan recalls, “I could see Amy and I kept thinking, “Just get to Amy, get to Amy.” This focus on moving forward is a good example of pushing through the pain and the tough parts of racing. She never gave up, but instead focused on simply catching up to her friend.

Shalane Flanagan

Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, “runs best when he’s representing his family, his country, a city that’s healing or, grieving families.” Meb is motivated by forces greater than himself, and he is able to channel this motivation into being one of the best runners in the world. Having something to run can help you to achieve things you never thought possible.


Meb Keflezighi

In contrast to the above distance runners, sprinters have a very different outlook on the mental aspect of running. Sprinting takes an immense amount of mental strength, just as other running, but their races are much quicker. According to Usain Bolt, “You don’t really think during a race, it’s just, what do I need to do now? Bang bang. When I get out of the blocks, I need to get this first turning, bang bang. There’s no time to think. I’m just happy when I’m finished.” This quote emphasizes the focus Bolt has even in the short time that he is racing, and also reiterates the same self satisfaction that Prefontaine mentioned.

Usain Bolt

These runners have achieved unbelievable success, and they have done that by mastering both the physical and mental aspects of training. They have put in a lot of time and effort to have the control and focus that they do, and to reach their level takes  a lot of dedication and practice. Incorporating some of their strategies for pushing themselves can improve your everyday running, and can help you to see improvements in your running.








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