How to Become a Better Runner Without Running More

Most people don't reach their full potential not because of their bodies, training or physical talent, but because their minds deter them. Consider how your thoughts and beliefs may hinder your performance. The following excerpt from the book Elite Minds by Dr. Stan Beecham provides insight into the power of a winning mindset. While Beecham uses a professional runner as an example, the principles for a runner competing at a world-class level and a recreational runner are the same: the way you think can hold you back from achieving success.

I met Barbara Parker and her husband, Sean, in 2007 while working with Pete Rea and the Zap Elite team in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

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At the time, Barbara and Sean were two very good college runners who would later marry after graduating from Florida State University. Barbara is from England and had received a scholarship from FSU to run cross country, the 1500m, 5000m and the steeplechase.

After a successful collegiate career, Barbara ran professionally with the goal of becoming an Olympian and representing the United Kingdom. In 2008, she made the UK team and ran the steeplechase in Beijing, China. Unfortunately, she failed to advance past the preliminary round.

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Though she did not run very well at her first Olympics, Barbara achieved her goal of making the Olympic team. Like most first-time Olympians, her primary goal was to make the team, not win a race or medal.

Many first-time Olympians are finished before they even get the chance to compete because they have no real goal or expectation beyond walking in the opening ceremonies. Simply making the team completes the dream. When you ask most first-time Olympians how they did, they'll say, "Not well, but that's okay. I just feel so fortunate to have made the team."

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