The health benefits tied to exercise, especially running, are not to be understated. Recent studies have associated running with lower rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Running has also been considered an effective treatment for depression. Although most of us understand what running can mean for our health, finding the motivation to get out there and hit the pavement can be a grueling endeavor in and of itself. Here are 17 inspirational quotes to help get you off the couch and into your running shoes:

1. “Most people run a race to see who is fastest.  I run a race to see who has the most guts.” – Steve Prefontaine, Olympic Gold Medalist

2. "I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we're all cowards." – Alberto Salazar, Three-Time NYC marathon Winner

3. "Life is often compared to a marathon, but I think it is more like being a sprinter; long stretches of hard work punctuated by brief moments in which we are given the opportunity to perform at our best." – Michael Johnson, Four-Time Olympic Gold Medalist

4. "There are clubs you can't belong to, neighborhoods you can't live in, schools you can't get into, but the roads are always open." – Nike

5. “For me, I’m focused on what I want to do. I know what I need to do to be a champion, so I’m working on it.” – Usain Bolt, “World’s Fastest Man”

6. “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” – Oprah Winfrey

7. “Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit.” – Mary Lou Retton, Olympic Gold Medalist

8. “I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” – Mia Hamm, U.S. Women’s Soccer Team

9. "In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that." – Fred Lebow, Co-Founder of the New York City Marathon

10. “I just tried to keep my cool and continue with my race plan: to win.” – Mark Spitz, Nine-Time Olympic Gold Medalist

11. “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it take an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” – Jesse Owens, Four-time Olympic Gold Medalist

12. “Ask yourself: 'Can I give more?' The answer is usually: 'Yes'." – Paul Tergat, Kenyan Marathon Runner

13. "The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." – Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon Winner

14. "I'm going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it." – Steve Prefontaine, Olympic Gold Medalist

15. "To be a consistent winner means preparing not just one day, one month, or even one year — but for a lifetime." – Bill Rodgers, Four-Time Boston Marathon Winner

16. “The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.” – George Sheehan, Author of Running & Being: The Total Experience

17. “I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner.” – Bart Yasso, Developed the Runner's World Race Sponsorship Program