cover image Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory

Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory

Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton. Crown, $36 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6075-5

Kastor, an Olympic medalist and American marathon record-holder, reveals the mental tactics that led her to Olympic bronze in this meticulous account of her career. When Kastor, writing with fitness journalist Hamilton, started running in 1984 at age 11, she showed a natural talent for the sport. Early on, she connected the approval she received from her parents, coaches, and community with winning and decided that winning was “the point of racing.” She left her home in Augura Hills, Calif., for the University of Arkansas; when she suffered an injury and later became frustrated with running, she almost quit. After college she trained with Joe Vigil, an expert on training at altitude, and decided to give running “four years, an Olympic cycle.” With Vigil’s coaching, Kastor learned the importance of hard training, rest, and mental positivity. Kastor notes, “The effects of positivity didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was that it worked all the time.” Eventually, Kastor learned how to practice gratitude, create a “mindset of enjoyment,” and separate her sense of self-worth from the outcome of a race. Though the memoir sometimes feels like a catalogue of Kastor’s many races and victories, it offers an unusual glimpse into the mind of an elite runner and presents a positive approach to life that can benefit runners both on and off the track. (Apr.)