William Peters understands that running and performing at your best requires more than a well-trained body, it requires a disciplined mind. Mental toughness is what separates the great from the good. In The Resilient Runner: Mental Toughness Training for Endurance Athletes, Peters explains how even beginning runners can benefit from good habits and mental focus.
The book is just over 100 pages in length and will not steal time away from even the busiest of runners. I read the book over the weekend and it really struck me how important it is to train your mind and body in unison. For example, the effort of running 20 miles is physically demanding, but I find the mental fatigue of running that distance to be even more difficult.
“Mind is everything. Muscle—just pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” – Paavo Nurmi
So, how do we train our minds? How do we become positive, motivated, confident, focused, resilient runners? Peters provides us with easy-to-follow strategies from journaling and goal setting to pre-race visualization. Peters has done considerable research in the area of sports psychology and he presents his findings in concise language.
Part of the book is dedicated to training and racing strategy. Want to get tougher? Train alone, run workouts that you normally try to avoid, run in adverse conditions, try fartlek workouts and surges mid-run. Do anything that helps you adapt to discomfort. If you can develop your mental toughness, you may be able to outlast your opponent.
“A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.” – Steve Prefontaine