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How bad do you want it?

by editor
Friday 5th February 2016

Ever wondered how much of a role your brain plays in your running? Do you find that sometimes you seem to be able to really make yourself suffer to get that elusive PB but other times you manage to sabotage your run before you even get out of the door, giving yourself a reason why you can’t push it today? In this new book Matt Fitzgerald uses cutting edge research and real-life examples to explain how we can make mental strength a key part of our running toolbox and Matt’s has a real gift for making the science accessible for the everyday runner. 

I absolutely loved this book for many reasons. Firstly, the case studies in it are both fascinating and very inspiring. We hear how Sammy Wanjiru won the Boston Marathon when all the physical evidence -  knee injury, lack of training, stomach virus, playboy lifestyle - wouldn’t have predicted great things for him. In fact he was an unlikely starter. We hear about how Siri Lindley, a triathlete, overcame her crippling internal critic and tendency to choke to become world champion. 

There are some amazing examples from the world of cycling, such as Cadel Evans’ journey to finally winning the Tour de France and, most astonishingly to me, the tale of Thomas Voeckler who again and again dug deeper than he ever had before to fulfill the potential he had to wear the yellow jersey. 

But you don’t need to be an elite level athlete to benefit from this book. The stories will amaze and inspire you but interspersed throughout is the research that shows how and why these athletes managed to achieve these great feats. Matt Fitzgerald doesn’t lay out a series of rules for you to follow, but he does outline the mental tactics he and other athletes have used to achieve their best performances. There are plenty of ideas here that all athletes can adopt. 

Matt’s talent for putting everything so simply means that this book is a joy to read and you go away with lots to think about and apply in your own running. As he says in the introduction: ‘How bad do you want it? To realise your potential as an athlete you must respond with some version of this answer: More. And then you have to prove it.’


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