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Inspirational Quotes from Grete Waitz

Grete Waitz, nine-time winner of the New York City Marathon and New York Road Runners Hall of Fame member, is the inspiration for the NYRR Grete’s Great Gallop, a 10K in Central Park. Considering running in this race? Why not get your motivation straight from the champion athlete, in her own words?

  1. “Too many people I meet believe that you can sit in a chair and be given motivation. With exercise and fitness, you get it by doing. The mental qualities you need are all linked like a chain. If you give exercise a try and see results, even if it’s as simple as feeling good that you get out the door, you’ll become motivated to repeat the exercise. Seeing results is inspiring.” – Grete Waitz, On the Run: Exercise and Fitness for Busy People
  2. “I love running. It’s as simple as that … it has given me endless rewards: physical, emotional, and professional. The benefits of running are lifelong. I ran as a child, and I intend to run into my old age.” – Grete Waitz, On the Run: Exercise and Fitness for Busy People
  3. “Contrary to a common myth, while there are general guidelines, there is no exact ‘right’ way to run … I am amazed by the many ways people move forward.” – Grete Waitz, Run Your First Marathon
  4. “If you are training properly, you should progress steadily. This doesn’t necessarily mean a personal best every time you race … Each training session should be like putting money in the bank. If your training works, you continue to deposit into your ‘strength’ account … Too much training has the opposite effect. Rather than build, it tears down. Your body will tell when you have begun to tip the balance. Just be sure to listen to it.” – Grete Waitz, World Class
  5. “What spurs a person to get more serious is highly individual, but I have found that no matter what a person’s level of ability, motivation must come from within, or it will not last.” – Grete Waitz, On the Run: Exercise and Fitness for Busy People
  6. “Not only is [a half marathon] a good test for the marathon, it is also good for those who feel they were just getting going in a 10K and are physically and mentally primed to go further. A half marathon is a good test of your endurance, without the physical punishment of going the full 26.2 miles. More so even than the 10K, it will teach you about patience, pacing, and how to negotiate a wider range of physical and emotional cycles.” – Grete Waitz, Run Your First Marathon
  7. “In addition to the well-known benefits of health and well-being derived from exercise, there are other unique advantages to being a runner. You are more attuned to not only your body but also the world around you. The outdoor life you lead as a runner gives you a special relationship with your surroundings: nature, the climate, the seasons. As you depend on these things to accommodate your activity, you grow to understand and appreciate them.” – Grete Waitz, World Class
  8. “…the ultimate reason to run a race is to test yourself: both your preparation and your ability … In addition to a test of my ability and improvement, I enjoy the sense of support I feel running with thousands of others … There is something about the rituals of the race—pinning on the number, lining up, being timed—that bring out the best in us. In a way, we’re all alike. We all share the same experience: the same clock, the same distance, the same determination. The race is run by you, for you, and it’s all your own. Just as no one else can do it for you, no one but you can feel the same challenge and personal satisfaction from your effort.” – Grete Waitz, World Class
  9. “I work out for my head as much as I do for my body. I’m a thinker. A lot of my ideas come to me more easily when I am running. That is why I like to run in the morning, when there are no distractions … Now some of my best ideas are born on the run.” – Grete Waitz, On the Run: Exercise and Fitness for Busy People
  10. “Running gives me a clearer perspective on the world … I’ve always seen the world by running, and that has allowed me to view things in a different way. Places look different in the early-morning hours, when the streets are deserted. I’ve smelled crabs boiling on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco on my way to the Golden Gate Bridge, watched the sun rise over Diamond Head in Hawaii, and seen deer grazing on the Alps in St. Moritz, Switzerland. I clearly remember turning to my husband, Jack, in one of these places and saying, ‘People don’t know what they’re missing.’” – Grete Waitz, On the Run: Exercise and Fitness for Busy People
  11. “Some people feel ‘transformed’ from the first day they begin running; others feel that it’s just plain hard work. Most of us realize it is both. I know how great running can feel, but I also know it can feel not so great, even downright awful! It can be fun, but it takes work to have that fun.” – Grete Waitz, World Class
  12. “Exercise and sports are greatly affected by what goes into the mind, and the mind is greatly affected by sports and exercise as well. This is true among exercisers at all levels, despite their different goals. A major element in mental training is visualization … Visualizing a positive outcome can create a pattern of success, as long as you set realistic and specific goals.” – Grete Waitz, On the Run: Exercise and Fitness for Busy People
  13. “Having a great race keeps all of us running. Success depends on a number of factors. Some things we can’t control, such as weather, the course and competition. But some things we can control … You should plan everything from how you’ll get to the race site to how you’ll run the race. When you pack your racing gear, make sure that you have everything you’ll need and that it’s tried-and-true. Don’t be tempted to try new shoes or a new prerace diet; these things should be tested in training. Stick to what you know works for you. Be mentally prepared. This is essential to running a great race. Picture the upcoming race course, your competition, and your goal. Create a mental image of yourself as a powerful runner.” – Grete Waitz, On the Run: Exercise and Fitness for Busy People
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