We have a secret: Professional runners have those days where it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other, too. Yes, they’re just like us. They get through those motivational roadblocks with mantras and motivational quotes, of course.
We talked to five pros to find out what words move them, so you can get the same boost they do.
Natasha Hastings, an American sprinter and Olympian, took home a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics and was part of Team USA at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Last year she finished fourth in the 400m at the 2017 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships; her latest victory was at the 2018 Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, where she took home the win in the 200m.
“Be careful how you speak to yourself because you might be listening. Remember there is so much power in words, and the way you see and think of yourself is incredibly important.”
— Lisa M. Hayes
The Story Behind Her Favorite Quote: Lisa M. Hayes is a relationship strategist — known as The Love Whisperer — whose coaching not only helps people in romantic endeavors but also with self-love. This quote can be found on Hayes’ website, discussing the power of your inner dialogue.
Why it Moves Her: “Once I started talking positively to myself and began my day with positive affirmations in front of the mirror, not only did my performance on the track improve tremendously, but I also started falling in love with myself living a more fulfilled and happy life.”
Rachel Schneider is a professional middle-distance runner. A nine-time All-American in track, in 2015 she took third at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships and fifth at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, both in the mile. Most recently, she took away wins at the Aetna Falmouth Elite Mile and The Brooklyn Mile.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
The Story Behind Her Favorite Quote: Theodore Roosevelt held office as the 33rd governor of New York, 25th vice president and 26th president of the United States. This quote comes from a speech he gave after his presidency that was delivered in Paris in 1910.
Why it Moves Her: “This quote inspires me to be brave and to focus on personal goals and reflections, rather than the opinions or expectations of others.”
Alison Désir, is the founder of Harlem Run, a run crew connecting the running community in New York City. She gained notoriety in 2017 when she merged activism and endurance athletics, organizing the nonprofit #Run4AllWomen. Désir ran 240 miles from New York City to Washington, D.C., and went on to raise more than $100K for Planned Parenthood.
“It’s usually right after we think we literally cannot take one moment more of the uncertainty or waiting or the pressure or the disappointments … that it happens.”
Why it Moves Her: “I love this quote and I find that it applies to all areas of my life — whether in marathon training, in a professional context or in relationships. Patience and persistence are important pillars to get anything meaningful accomplished, and this quotation reminds me of that! I wrote this quote on my vision board for 2018 and see it daily as a reminder.”
Frezer Legesse is a professional miler. The 2016 Olympic trials semifinalist is running strong and achieved a personal best in the 10K last year at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia. When he isn’t training, he is the head cross-country coach for Mt. Saint Mary Catholic High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
“Sacrifice the good for the great.”
Why it Moves Him: “I love this quote because it keeps me motivated at all times. I believe greatness is a journey and not a destination; along the journey we have to stay motivated and keep reaching for more to maximize our true potential. We have to be able to give up and sacrifice the good to attain the great.”
Amanda Brooks is a running coach who has logged more than 20,000 miles of running. She’s also the voice behind popular website Run To The Finish. She started running as part of a weight-loss journey and ran her first race — a half-marathon — in 2002. She hasn’t stopped running since and has gone on to finish multiple marathons, as well.
“Stronger and stronger with every mile.”
Why it Moves Her: “This quote helps me during long runs to continually tell myself that not only I can do this, but I’m feeling great doing it. This was a lesson I picked up while listening to a Tony Robbins audiobook during a 20-mile training run years ago.”