Thanks to From Left to Write I am in the middle of a really great book right now! It is called The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports And Life by Mike Matheny.
Mike Matheny was a Major League Baseball catcher and then became the Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. He also became a Little League Coach where he wrote a letter to the parents of his players that would later become known as the Matheny Manifesto. This book builds on the ideas that were in the letter. Even if you do not like baseball, I highly recommend this book as I believe it is relevant to so many areas of our lives.
While reading this book, I found that a particular portion really struck a chord with me and my running. Mike Matheny stated:
“Many people say that baseball is 90 percent mental, but few take the time to train their players for that aspect of the game.”
The same can be said about running. You will hear runners talk about the mental side of running all of the time. And I know firsthand how important mental toughness is to getting through tough long runs, training when you don’t want to, getting your butt out of bed while the rest of the world is sleeping and finishing a race that didn’t go as planned.
And although I know how important mental toughness is to my running, I really don’t take the time to train that side of me. I spend a lot of time training myself physically but not mentally.
To become more mentally tough in my running I have built upon the ideas in The Matheny Manifesto and tweaked them so that they are directed towards running.
1. Knowledge – I know it is a bit cliché to say, but knowledge really is power. When I first started running I knew little to zero about running. I didn’t know what to wear, how to train, the proper way to fuel etc. And while I have certainly come a long ways since I became “serious” about running, I feel there will always be more to learn.
I will however, say that this is one area of mental toughness that I am good at. I love talking to other people about running and reading about running so that helps me stay up on the latest running news and continues to further my knowledge of the sport.
2. Mental Imagery – This is something I definitely need to work on! I need to spend some time before my runs and races “seeing” myself succeed in my run or race. Envisioning success will help set the tone for my running and can only lead to great things!
3. Power of Positive Thinking – I am sure that this goes without saying but when you thinking positively, good things are more likely to happen. If you concentrate your thoughts on how awesome a run / race will be, odds it will be pretty awesome!
4. Getting into the Zone – Some runs I am in the zone and some runs I am not. It depends on what outside influences I have been dealing with that day and how well I have been focusing on the first three items that I mentioned above. I love the days that I am in the zone though! Those are some of my best runs.
How do you feel about running and mental toughness?
How do you train yourself to be more mentally tough?