I’ve been a full time certified mental game coach for more than 15 years. In that time I have read scores of books on mental game training – applied sports psychology. Most are fairly well done. A large portion still offer fairly fluffy advice (just think positive) or are academic oriented (focus task relevant cues). But when one of my former athlete-clients (Co-author Michelle Hamilton) told me about her work with Deena Kastor and the development of the book I admit I was already intrigued with the content.
What had started out as memoirs became a study in one person’s (Deena’s) journey into mental game awareness and toughness. There are many parts of the book that are worth mentioning but for me there was one aspect that stood out. Woven throughout the book and wonderfully crafted are the inner thoughts of Deena. The pithy statements going on in her head during certain workouts, races, build-ups and tapers for races and rehabilitation from injuries. It is the juxtaposition of her inner talk – a negative followed by a perfect reframing or countering to refocus her on the effort at hand. It is specific and concrete not just “positive thinking”. Though she does mention this phrase many times in the book it is the actual putting words into action that separates this from most other mental game books.
Let Your Mind Run… is a very easy read that flows well and covers Deena’s career (ups and downs) without getting too bogged down into minutiae. Key races are nicely highlighted with more in depth coverage. It also nicely covers how her perspective on life and running and racing morphs.
A bonus is that even if you are not a runner or know about running – special terms and aspects of running/racing are explained to keep the reader right with her along the way.
This book is not just for runners. This is for anyone who wants to explore mental toughness from a very personal view that applies to everyone – runner or not.