Posted by: Susan Loken | June 14, 2014

26.2 Mantras to Get You Through Your Next Marathon

Anyone who I’ve coached for a marathon has heard me say that there will be a moment (sometimes a 40-minute moment) during the marathon where you will ask yourself, “Can I really do this?”

There will inevitably be a moment when you begin to consider slowing down, or even walking. In this moment, you may question whether you can dig any deeper. It doesn’t matter if you are an Elite runner or a five-hour marathoner; we all have this defining moment during a marathon.

Should I give up or can I muster up the strength to keep going?

How you answer this question–how you respond in you DEFINING MOMENT–can make all the difference in the outcome of your race. During these challenging moments, I repeat mantras to myself. This gives me something positive to focus on. It offers a distraction from any pain or discomfort.

Mantras can be your favorite saying, a short prayer, a powerful word, or anything else that helps keep a smile on your face and a song in your heart.

I have trained many runners over the years and I always enjoy hearing their special mantras and learning what helps them persevere. Thus, I decided to team up with my awesome Team BTB runners and compiled a list of their favorite mantras. Without further ado, here are 26.2 running mantras to help fuel you through every mile!

  1. “Don’t ever take running for granted again! There was a time when you weren’t able…” ~Stacey Hollen
  2. “Trust the training. I find this to be very effective for pre-race planning and nerve-calming. I remind myself of how hard I worked, the sacrifices I made and I remind myself that I didn’t sign up for easy.” ~Tracie Rogers
  3. “You gotta keep your shit together. Just freaking run! Suck it up, Buttercup!” ~Kimi Sherrill
  4. I can and will find a way. I am stronger than I think I am.” ~Heather Betsko
  5. “Failure is not an option.” ~Daradee Murray
  6. I’ve done this training and the time, and today is just the icing on the cake. Tomorrow I get to sleep in! Thousands of people have done this, and I can do it too.” ~Janet Chafey
  7. “I believe that…[fill in the blank] Sometimes I finish it with ‘I can,’ ‘I will,’ or ‘I did.’ I still use this for any difficult run. ~Lil Ashton
  8. You don’t have to be fast, but you better be fearless!~Jenna Williams
  9. The words of wisdom that keep my kicks from staying clean: “If is was easy, everyone would be doing it. Even in the runners world, we all stand out.” ~Holly Tice
  10. I’m going to make the REST of this run the BEST of this run!~Cindy Rash
  11. “This isn’t exactly a mantra, but when these moments happen, I visualize a DOOR. I tell myself that this is the door of opportunity. I can either choose to open the door (keep pressing on) or just stand there looking at the door (give up). If I open the door, I will see what it really on the other side (possibly a new personal record). However, if I stand there, afraid to open the door, I will never know what’s on the other side. I haven’t always opened the door, but when I have, great things are always on the other side!” I credit Jerry Lynch for inspiring this visualization though his books. ~Kelly LeCours
  12. Your mind is the athlete. Your legs are fine. Don’t give in.” ~Tracie Rogers
  13. “Hills, hill, hills are my friend. I love hills!” ~Michele Propps
  14. “It’s only pain. Just put it in perspective: it’s not going to kill me or stop me in my tracks. I can run through it.” ~Tammy Hines
  15. When I start questioning myself during a race or a tough run, I tell myself: “Just keep going.” As lame as it sounds, it reminds me to STOP THINKING and carry out my plan–to run and perform at my personal best. ~John Meuser
  16. “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” ~Jenna Williams
  17. I have many mantras, but I really like one that I had printed on a shirt: “I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done.~Kristi Petrosky
  18. “Susan’s going to post my time, Susan’s going to post my time.” ~Alan Fuller
  19. “Today is my day, this is my race!” ~Maria Arana
  20. “Keep your pace and relax.” I use a visualization of Mercury wings on my feet, which helped me qualify for Boston on my first marathon (NY) and come ahead of my dear running friends who were all much faster than me. It works! ~Mickie Berry
  21. I talk to my legs when I race. I tell them: You have got to be kidding me! Legs, you have trained and ran many miles, and NOW you want to give up?! Suck it up, buttercup, and kick ass! You’re going to get me through this race no matter what!” ~Carmen Mena
  22. “You can do anything.” Most of my life, I never believed I was capable of any of the things I’ve accomplished over the last few years. ~Ari Ziskin
  23. “I don’t know if it’s a mantra, but I think about my brother, a cancer survivor, and all the pain he endured during treatments and how his spirit NEVER faltered. I think to myself: If he can endure months of radiation and pain, than I can do this! If Greg can do that, then I can certainly do this!!” ~Kim Lambert
  24. “Focus on what doesn’t hurt: my eyelashes feel GREAT!” ~Cindy Rash
  25. The other things that helps keep my morale up is seeing friends and exchanging words with a fellow runner. When I look around, it sinks in that everyone around me is in just as much pain as me, and we’re all fighting through it together. ~John Meuser
  26. “The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens. Don’t give up!” ~Kristi Petrosky

I bet you’re wondering about that final stretch, those final 0.2 miles of marathon. What can you tell yourself to press through the pain and finish strong? Here are two of my favorite mantras, two powerful phrases that have carried me through many races.

26.1.  “If it stops hurting, you’re going to slow down. Don’t let the pain lessen!~Susan Loken
26.2.  “Champions don’t quit, they find a way. Be a champion today!~Susan Loken

Repeating mantras to yourself as you run is a great to tool to self-motivate and stay strong when the going gets tough. Which of these mantras resonate with you? I know that you have some GREAT mantras of your own!

What inspires you? Please share some of your most powerful running mantras in the comments below.

A BIG thank you to Team BTB for sharing their inspiring words of encouragement!



  1. […] for the best running mantras come from the following sources.1)Believe Train Run – 26.2 Mantras to Get You Through Your Next Marathon2)Run to the Finish – Running Mantra: Why They Work, What Elite Runners […]

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