My name is Kevin McGirl – as editor of Rundamentalists, I should point out that I am not a professor of psychology (although my wife is – thereby providing me with valuable access to the latest research in the field). A ‘50-something’, British software salesman living in Illinois; I am a passionate ‘middle of the pack’ runner determined to find ways to improve…. despite the inevitable impact of age and only having time to fit in 20 training miles a week.
In search of the ‘holy grail’, I have: followed training plans, read countless books, improved my nutrition, swallowed a daily cocktail of vitamins, invested in the latest running gear and gizmos. I have even flirted with the ultimate Nemesis for most runners: stretching.
Many times, I have heard the phrase that running is “90 percent mental”, yet the vast majority of runners (myself included) invest zero in this aspect of our sport….instead electing to pound endless miles.
As a natural cynic, my first quest was to establish that sports psychology actually works. Certainly there is a mountain of scientific evidence and sports legend that supports the premise that performance has a mental dimension. In his captivating book, The Perfect Mile, Neal Bascomb describes the quest of three great athletes (John Landy, Wes Santee and Roger Bannister) to break the ultimate athletic barrier – the 4 minute mile. Widely, considered a physical impossibility for the previous 10,000 years…once Bannister proved it could be done…a flood of athletes (who now perceived it was possible) broke 4 minutes in the following year.
I will be experimenting with a range of brain training techniques (acting as a human ‘guinea pig’) sharing my experiences and results. The objective is to explore a broad range of mental tools drawn from sports psychology and other fields, including: goal setting, visualization, stress management, meditation, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), self affirmation and concentration. We will also be including informative contributions from experts and fellow runners. The goal will be to translate the science stuff and jargon to benefit runners of every ability.