- the way people defeat themselves and sabotage their own success
- detailed visualization to mentally prepare for best performance
- goal setting
- relaxing the mind so that it doesn't get in the way of the body
- being in "the zone"
- the qualities of "inner excellence"
There were several lessons that I will try to incorporate into my "mental game". Mack observes that it is human nature to like to practice what we already do well. We tend to avoid areas that we are weak. I notice at the gym that I avoid exercises that I don't do well. I also don't like to do agility drills because it's embarrassing. Mack says, "Work on your weaknesses until they become your strong points." I'll give it a try.
Relaxation is a key to peak performance. There is a section specifically on running. One study showed that sprinters ran faster at 90% effort. This is because opposing muscles relaxed instead of being tense and counterproductive. I've noticed that when I'm tired, I'll try to relax and actually find myself running faster. Focusing on relaxing may help with speed and fatigue.The final lesson that I'll share with you is Mack's discussion of Aristotle who said, "Excellence is not a singular act but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do." I make an excellent habit of following my work out schedule. I rarely miss a run or workout. I like to ignore other aspects, though, important things like nutrition (I'm eating chocolate covered pretzels as I write this). All of our daily habits add up to the ultimate performance and our ultimate performance is comprised of more than just one race. It is not our best or our worst effort, but the culmination of all that we do.
Mind Gym is a quick read and certainly worth the $11 on Amazon. Let's face it, most of us runners are head cases and could use a little mental help.