The Best Triathlon Quotes and Mantras

Karen Parnell September 12, 2022

A good quote or mantra will strike a chord with you and will probably stay with you forever. Quotes can make a big difference when you are training and may help you dig deeper and try harder. Let’s face it as a triathlete we spend a lot of time training, and a little extra motivation goes a long way!


triathlon quotes and mantras


For me a good mantra can help you in both hard training sessions and during the race. Mantras are not something you can just make up on the day but need creating and perfecting during your training journey. They may be based on your own experience; one you’ve heard another athlete use or one you have read but whatever one’s you chose they will be relevant and inspirational for you.


I’ve compiled a list of the best quotes and mantras I’ve heard over the years from age groupers, pro athletes and runners that will hopefully work for you and help you complete your next race or even win your age group!


Whatever your level or target race distance – Sprint triathlon, Olympic distance or IRONMAN - I have a quote for you!


I’ve also added in some funny ones from friends, family and spectators that may give you a chuckle.


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Racing & Mantras


Here are some quotes that will hopefully help when you are racing to live your spirits and help you get the best from your mind and body on race day. There are also some ideas for mantras you can repeat to yourself to help keep you going and achieving each win whether it’s over taking another competitor or cresting a tough hill.


triathlon racing



“Swim and bike for show and run for dough”


"Toward the end of my races I always 'Do a mile for a loved one' Each of my kids get a mile dedicated to them and it keeps me focused and motivated." - Leona Browne.


“Swim like you are being chased like a shark, bike like you stole it and run like Forrest Gump”


"Continually produce positive self-talk to get through the suffering of triathlon training and races."


“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” - Nelson Mandela


“Do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda


“Pace goes out the window when you hit vert or dirt”


“Progress not perfection”


“Light, fast, strong.”


Go faster. Push harder. Today, define yourself.” - Deena Kastor


“Swift and smooth.”


“Relax and roll.” - Sara Hall


“You’ve trained for this.”


“Be strong. Be bold.”


“Stronger with every step.”


“Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.”


“Get it done.”


“You’re tougher than this hill.”


"It's only a hill - get over it!"


How bad do you want it? - Matt Fitzgerald


“Keep showing up.” - Des Linden


“You can do hard things.”


“Forward is forward.”


“Deep breaths, quick legs”


“Pump your arms and your legs will follow” – Karen Parnell




“Breathe in strength. Breathe out weakness.” - Amy Hastings


“Your race. Your pace.”


“Beast mode on.”


This is what you came for.” - Scott Jurek


“You’re focused and prepared.”


“Run Fast, Go Past”


“You are ready.”


“Finish strong.”


“Stay measured and controlled.“


Triathlon Goals: Mirror, mirror on the wall, I'll always get up when i fall, An whether I run, walk or crawl, I'ii set my goals and achieve them all!


Want to improve your swimming? Download your free Swim Workouts for Triathletes Book


Quotes for Training


Here are some motivational quotes for when you are training and you hit the hurt locker. I find it also helps to write down the reasons you are training and racing and put it where you can read it. Maybe you are racing to raise money for charity, maybe to race with friends or family, maybe to give you focus and help with mental wellness or maybe to make your children proud. What ever your reason write it out and pin it to your wall in your pain cave to give you that extra push on those hard training sessions.


athlete training chilitri

Athlete testing at ChiliTri in Spain


Want to improve your swimming? Download your free Swim Workouts for Triathletes Book


“Perfect practice makes perfect” - Keith Perry


“Failure to prepare is to prepare for failure”


"Triathletes plan well, train well, and expect the unexpected." - Good luck wishes for triathlon quote, Race Omaha, Anonymous


"You don't need to be great to get started, you just need to get started to be great"


"It's always the athlete's responsibility to check everything. We have to listen to our bodies sometimes the hardest part is to back off and rest." - Julie Dibens.


“It never gets easier; you just get faster” - Greg LeMond.


“When your legs scream stop! and your legs are bursting that when it starts. That’s the hurt locker. Winners love it there.” - Chris McCormack.


Spend at least some of your training time, and other parts of your day, concentrating on what you are doing in training
and visualizing your success.

— Grete Waitz, Norwegian Marathon Runner


"Every action has consequences and when we suggested getting a girlfriend our coach showed a graph of how this impacted performance. We do not have girlfriends." - Gustav Iden


Motivational Quotes


Here are a few motivational quotes that may resonate with you.


“Motivation is like is like nutrition, it must be taken daily and in healthy does to keep it going” - Norman Vincent Peale


 “You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week, or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.” - Mark Allen.


“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just finish the race it’s up to you.” - Dave Scott.


“Some sessions are stars, and some sessions are stones, but in the end, they are all rocks, and we build upon them.” - Chrissie Wellington.


"In triathlon, you don't get to race that much so when you're on the start line you just need to make sure you focus on the job at hand and enjoy yourself." - Alistair Brownlee.


 "Triathlon - It's not about finding your limits. It's about finding out what lies just beyond them." - Anonymous


“Triathlon does not build character, it reveals it.”


“I always try to keep in mind that I do all the training for a reason, which is to compete at the best of my ability” - Alistair Brownlee.


“We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start”


“You body drives you to the finish line, but your mind makes you cross it” - Sebastian Kienle.


 “A journey of 140.6 miles begins with a decision to Tri.” - IRONMAN.


“Cycling is meditation in motion.” – Unknown


“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin on the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” – Arthur Conan Doyle


Want to improve your swimming? Download your free Swim Workouts for Triathletes Book


Nutrition Quotes


As you know nutrition plays a big role in your training and racing, getting it write will help you fly and getting it wrong can result in a DNF.

nutrition quotes chilitri


“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, but also the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity” - John F. Kennedy


“[Nutrition] is a huge piece of the puzzle. It’s not just about working hard and being physical. It’s about being smart and mindful of what’s going in and out of our bodies” - Kerri Walsh


“Nutrition is also a valuable component that can help athletes both protect themselves and improve performance” - Bill Toomey


“Nutrition can make or break you on race day. It’s not something you leave to chance. If you don’t plan for it, you’re almost guaranteed to bonk” - Sean Price


“Nutrition is the only remedy that can bring full recovery and can be used with any treatment. Remember, food is our best medicine!” - Bernard Jensen


“Triathletes eat and train, they don’t diet and exercise”


Funny Quotes for Athletes


If you have a sense of humour the quotes below may bring a smile to your face plus help you when you are racing. Enjoy!


"If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, then triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise." - P.Z. Pierce.


“Success is like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired you quit when the gorilla is tired!” - Robert Strauss.


“Hippos can run faster than humans on land and swim faster than humans in water. Which means the only chance you have of beating a hippo in a triathlon is on the bike!”


“You are not slow you are just getting your money’s worth!”


“Keep going! You’re chafing your dream!”


“With great workouts comes great results” - Spiderman


“PR or ER” - Matt Britton, M 30-34, USA—a healthcare professional.


'IRONMAN—the only race where pooping is ok.” - Kat Zeiler, F 45-49, USA—a teacher who has been working toward a Kona qualification since 2008.


Pro Triathlete Quotes


Here are some quotes from famous professional triathletes that will help inspire you to take on your first or next triathlon.


alistair brownlee karen chilitri

Karen at the 2012 Olympic helping in the athletes lounge on triathlon race day, Hyde Park, London.


“Check yourself before you wreck yourself” - Miranda Carfrae – don’t go out too fast!


“Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and work hard for what you want to achieve, even in difficult times. It will be worth it.”- Nicola Spirig, London 2012 Olympic champion


“You go through dark periods in a race. Everyone does. You have got to stay so strong in your own head if you want to succeed.” - Lucy Charles-Barclay, 2021 Ironman 70.3 world champion


“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you’ve won your race.” -Dave Scott, six-time Ironman world champion


“You can’t control outcomes, but process or intent, on the other hand, is where big gains can be made.”- Gwen Jorgensen, former Olympic and ITU world champion


“If it’s hurting me, it’s killing them.”- Sebastian Kienle, 2014 Ironman world champion


“The beauty of sport is that it forces you into situations where you must challenge yourself. My best race is the one that hurt the most.”- Chrissie Wellington, four-time Ironman world champion


“Success in the sport is, above all else, about enduring suffering.”- Chris McCormack, two-time Ironman world champion


“You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week, or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.”- Mark Allen, six-time Ironman world champion


“Do the training you love, remind yourself why you do it and hopefully it will come good.”- Alistair Brownlee, double Olympic gold medallist


“You can quit if you want, and no one will care. But you will know the rest of your life.” -John Collins, Ironman founder


“Preparation is the cornerstone of confidence, which in turn is the cornerstone of success.”- Craig Alexander, three-time Ironman world champion

“Success doesn’t mean to win everything, but to make the best out of every situation.” - Daniela Ryf, four-time Ironman and five-time 70.3 world champion


"We are not from nowhere we are from Bergen!" - Kristian Blummenfelt


Want to improve your swimming? Download your free Swim Workouts for Triathletes Book



I hope that you found plenty of inspirational triathlon quotes from my selection, to give you the boost of motivation that you need for your big race.


From IRONMAN motivational quotes to some funny mottos, I’ve provided you with a range of sayings that will help all triathletes, whether you’re a beginner or are standing on the World Championship podium!


The key message to take away from all these triathlon quotes and mantras is that if you can break through your mental barriers, then you can achieve anything.


Get in touch if you have a quote or mantra you think I should add and I will publish it with a name check.


Grab some FREE training resources here.

Want to improve your swimming? Download your free Swim Workouts for Triathletes Book


Karen Parnell is a Level 3 British Triathlon and IRONMAN Certified Coach, WOWSA Level 3 open water swimming coach and NASM Personal Trainer and Sports Technology Writer. 

Need a training plan? I have plans on TrainingPeaks, FinalSurge and FinalSurge IRONMAN marketplace:



I also coach a very small number of athletes one to one for all triathlon distances, open water swimming events and running races, email me for details and availability.


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