Running Reflections

When you are striving to run at your highest level, running can be extremely rewarding yet hard and fatiguing. Depending on how you perform, running can make you feel on top of the world or disappointed and discouraged. A run can leave you with an extra pep in your step, or it can make you sore and achy for days.

I am lucky to have the opportunity to run and work towards my goals. Whether I am tired or energized, running is a choice I make and a road I have decided to follow. No one pushes me or cares about my training, results, or paces as much as I do. The pressure, dedication, and expectations are all created from within me. I get to pick my own goals, sign up for the races that excite me, and ultimately run however my heart desires.  

I am a runner, but I am also so much more than that. Even though running gives me tremendous enjoyment and fills a huge part of my life, I know I can be happy and create a new path when my approach towards running changes. When I do not have the competitive drive to race anymore, there will always be easy runs. When I can no longer run, there will always be swimming, dog walks, arts & crafts, and family. I can choose my journey and view my successes based on my own desires and needs.

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"Endure" & "Let Your Mind Run" Book Reviews

Today I have two recent book reviews, both looking at athletic performance and becoming the best athlete you can be.

Endure by Alex Hutchinson is a book about the limits of the human body and our capacity to face physical challenges. Hutchinson is an award-winning journalist, has a PhD in physics, and competed internationally as a top distance runner. In the book, he provides an incredible amount of scientific evidence and research to demonstrate our physical and mental barriers to maximal performance. Factors including pain, muscle, oxygen, heat, thirst, fuel, and the brain/belief are all addressed. Hutchinson also tells the story of Nike’s monumental project to try to break the 2-hour marathon. Although the project was unsuccessful in 2017, the margin was only missed by 25 seconds and showed the world that a sub 2-hour marathon might actually might be possible.

Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor is a memoir of about Kastor’s life as an elite athlete and marathon runner. Kastor won the bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic Marathon. She also ran American records in all distances from the 5k to the marathon. Kastor still holds the American record in the marathon in 2 hours 19 minutes 36 seconds. It is fascinating to read about her growth as an athlete and the transitions she goes through in life. She addresses the mental strategies she applied to get through tough times and shows how interrelated running and life are.

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Favorite Books for Athletes & Marathoners

I am always on the lookout for new running books including those on training, nutrition, and psychology. Everyone should be a lifelong learner, especially athletes. You have to constantly be open to learning about your sport and willing to adapt to change. There are millions of books out there, so sometimes it can be hard to choose what contains the best information. I look for books written by doctors or well known experts in specific fields to assure quality. I previously wrote reviews on How Bad Do You Want It and Elite Minds. Today I am going to share a few more of my favorites. These are the books I turn to again and again, day after day. 

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"Elite Minds" Book Review

I recently finished the book Elite Minds: How Winners Think Differently to Create a Competitive Edge and Maximize Success by Dr. Stan Beecham. While the book has a focus on athletes including both those in team and individual sports, the author does a good job incorporating other facets of life and various careers. He addresses business, workplace environment, and relationships as well.

I bought the book to learn more about the mental side of running. They say running is 90% mental and only 10% physical. Working on your mental game is just as important (if not more important) as practice and workouts. The book is a great motivator to work hard for big dreams of any kind and to cultivate an environment of success. I would suggest the book to anyone involved in athletics, both coaches and athletes. I would also recommend the book to people looking to achieve higher standards in their life and wanting to get out of their comfort zone.

Here are my favorite quotes:

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Vacation and Stress/Relaxation

This past week I went to Florida for a wonderful family vacation. We were able to escape the freezing cold, hit up the beach, swim, bike, run, and enjoy life together. 

Vacation always serves as a time for me to slow down and reflect on life. I am usually go-go-go and busy, so the slowed environment of a vacation gives me an opportunity to think about what is behind me and what lies ahead.

Here are my tips for stress relief and what I try to focus on when life gets ahead of me.

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