Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton

Let Your Mind Run

Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton

This memoir will appeal to the pragmatic athletic population, and jointly to fans of engaging sports narratives, inspirational memoirs, and uplifiting biographies.

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Deena Kastor was a star youth runner with tremendous promise, yet her career almost ended after college, when her competitive method—run as hard as possible, for fear of losing—fostered a frustration and negativity and brought her to the brink of burnout. On the verge of quitting, she took a chance and moved to the high altitudes of Alamosa, Colorado, where legendary coach Joe Vigil had started the first professional distance-running team. There she encountered the idea that would transform her running career: the notion that changing her thinking—shaping her mind to be more encouraging, kind, and resilient—could make her faster than she’d ever imagined possible. Building a mind so strong would take years of effort and discipline, but it would propel Kastor to the pinnacle of running—to American records in every distance from the 5K to the marathon—and to the accomplishment of earning America’s first Olympic medal in the marathon in twenty years.

Let Your Mind Run is a fascinating intimate look inside the mind of an elite athlete, a remarkable story of achievement, and an insightful primer on how the small steps of cultivating positivity can give anyone a competitive edge.

Advance Galley Reviews

This book was the story of one woman's experience with running. While I have to admit that I have never ran a marathon, I have started running for fun just recently. I can truly appreciate her experiences. The book was insightful and made me think that running is so much more than just a physical sport, it is also a mental sport and challenged what I felt about distance running. My favorite parts of this book were actually when she pushes herself to do more than she thinks that she can, and does it. While I did not get to finish this book in the time allotted, I look forward to finishing it when it comes out.

This book was incredible. It was motivating, inspiring, and fluidly told her story up to date. She tells of how she became a great athlete without making it feel like she is bragging about being great. You get to hear about the hard work she put in, the emotional and mental changes she had to make and physical limitations which changed training seasons. She talks a lot about positivity and how it changed the way she trained and lived...which sounds so cheesy, but she doesn't offer it up with a "this is the greatest thing ever you should do it too!" type of attitude. She talks about training runs/races that went sour because she believed they would be bad or she had a negative attitude, and her experience working to shift that perspective and the effect it had on her. You are able to read into all of that how great it is and want to implement it yourself. I feel like i didn't just read "the Deena Kastor" story, I actually learned a lot from her that I will put into practice in my own training and life. The best part is, the way it's written she never feels "elite"; like what she does never feels out of my reach- which is incredibly inspiring and uplifting.

This personal insight from Ms. Kastor is part memoir and part inspiration. Without being preachy, Ms. Kastor reminds us again and again how positive thinking and visualization can benefit athletes, or anyone. As she outlines her budding running career, she openly writes about how her self-doubt overtook her abilities at times. At the same time, she chronicled her rise in the running community. Some run descriptions were so detailed, I felt like I was running next to her. And don't I wish! I enjoyed learning how she came to love running and found love through running. (Note in case someone at Penguin or Crown Archetype reads this: The Olympic tryouts were at CSU Sacramento. Although lovingly called "Sac State" it became a California State University in 1972, well before Kastor competed.)

As a runner I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have followed Deena for some time now but reading about her past, her highs and lows, her mindset etc. was so intriguing. She gave us an insight into how running came into her life, became a big part of her life and ultimately her career. I like that she didn't just sugar coat her journey. She showed us her mindset and feelings when she lost races, in college trying to figure out what to do with her life, sudden injuries etc. I believe this book could be for anyone but runners will thoroughly enjoy this book as well as other athletes. Through her journey, the book shows you that your mindset can play a lot into how well you can do.

This is one of my favorite books of 2018 so far. I really appreciated the insight into Deena Kastor's mental transformation. I enjoy running myself, and her advice and that of her coaches has really started to inform my running. I also find some of her mental strategies helpful when I am not running. It was a really thought-provoking and useful read.

I really loved this book and some insight into Deena Kastor's mindset and what it takes to be a professional runner. I'm only a recreational runner, but I've raced enough, up to the marathon distance, to relate to that internal dialog that makes you keep going despite the pain and your fears. She was so eloquent and inspiring, and I liked that she really went into both the good and the bad. I've read a lot of running books and enjoy them, but this was probably the deepest looking into how one runner trained hard with her body, but even harder with her mind to overcome fears and insecurities and become even better than she ever dreamed. Runners and non-runners who are into being their best self and developing positive thinking will enjoy this book.

I enjoyed this book greatly. An amateur runner myself, I liked the chronicle of Deena's struggles and accomplishments. Parts uncovering the less-than-heroic challenges of an athlete and the irony of self-delusions and sudden injuries made me laugh every time. Strong marathoners "obsessing about pooping before the run" is a very funny concept. The whole book is written with pleasant humor. I do not follow any sports, so before reading the book I could not appreciate the level of Deena's achievement. For a layperson, a bronze Olympic medal is always going to be less than Silver and Gold. And no one remembers holders of already beaten records. However, this book has allowed me to understand clearly that Deena was on many accounts among the best on the planet. And at the same time, the book has shown that this prominence cannot last long. Beside the chronographic account of Deena's career, the book has a distinct taste of a self-help book. Usually, I would consider this a bad thing, but this is just an account of what worked and what didn't — which is always better than an abstract flight of thought. The book is shy on training details — at least there is not much new practical information to incorporate into my own regiment — but much is said about being a professional athlete, finding motivation and achieving your goal. As well deciding on your priorities to understand when it's best to stop.

Deena Kastor provides a beautiful description of her life and career as an elite long distance runner. The book starts during her childhood when she first discovered her talent for running. We learn about her as a competitor in high school, then college, and we watch her as she becomes a professional runner. It was fascinating to get in the mind of an elite athlete, to read about what a marathoner thinks about during training and races. The most profound part of the book was her time training with Coach Vigil in Alamosa, and the discoveries she made about herself along the way. I only wish that she gave us a bit more about areas of her life outside of running. I understand that level of running must be all-consuming but it would have made the book a little more well-rounded to discuss the other parts of her life in more detail. I wish she would have let us in a bit more, and explained how she balances her relationships with family and friends with her career as an elite athlete. My only other criticism is the number of typos in the advance copy - I hope these are corrected before print. Overall, I give the book a highly favorable review and would recommend it to anyone who has ever ran any distance for any reason, or, anyone who has ever seen someone else run!

In this book, we get to understand what it takes to be a runner. I enjoyed the perspectives she shared from early in her life, all the way through her professional career. She stresses the mental game in running and it was an interesting read. Thanks for the opportunity.

I requested a copy as I've been a runner in the past and was interested in the techniques Kastor used in her training. The first half of the book read very slow to me - it just seemed that too much time was being spent on the little details. For some reason, the last half read much quicker, perhaps because she was dedicating one chapter to one or two events, or perhaps because she'd found the routine that worked for her and just adjusted as needed for the upcoming event. Reading this was like a long distance run in a way: after sticking with it through the difficult part, I caught my second wind and was able to finish strong and enjoy the journey.

Running is usually viewed by outsiders as a sport that challenges people physically. However most don't realize the challenges one also faces mentally. Deena carries you through her journey from when she started running, discovering how she was able to carry herself freely through physical feats that challenged others. As she and others around her realized what she was capable of, running competitively propelled her onto a path that would not just challenge her physically but mentally. She covers the knowledge she learns from both her supporters and her haters and how she not only overcame the hate to improve her running ability but also her ability to prosper and succeed in life.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to read it to understand the mental aspect of engaging in competitive sports. I enjoyed the book and especially the honesty with which she delivered her story. While it is written by an athlete, the information she imparts on her struggles and successes and change she was able to induce with positivity can be extrapolated to most areas of life. Not being a runner myself, I must admit that even though I appreciated all of the training necessary for her accomplishments, I was a bit fatigued by the end. Otherwise a worthy telling of the all-consuming aspects of a sport hero.

I have tried to download this book 4x, but unfortunately it shows up with no words for me. I'm not sure what the problem is because all of the other ARCs I downloaded from First to Read were fine. Sorry I can't leave a review.

I received this Advanced Reader Copy from First To Read. I picked this book because while I’m not a runner – I want to be a runner it’s just that my mind and my body have two different views on running. I was familiar with Deena Kastor from watching her in various races. This book is about her running history and how she used positive thinking during her running career. I enjoyed this book. I liked reading about her path into running and hearing her positive affirmations. I definitely felt like I could use some of her methods in my day to day life or even if I wanted to try and be a runner again. I’d recommend this book to any runner or athlete but also to those that want to read about positive affirmations.

I was excited to be offered a copy of this book from First to Read! I have been running for several years now, and while I will never win any medals or really even come close, I am interested in how to improve my performance. I was thrilled to see that Kastor's book is more about the mental aspects of running than a how-to list of strength training and diet plans. I really struggle with stopping when I get tired, and with my brain telling me I just can't run another step, and Kastor's book was one more way of telling me that it's all in my head. Seeing someone who was already great at running realize that a positive attitude and mental training would improve their running made me want to head out the door for a run myself. I really love the easy to implement ideas like beginning a run looking forward to it rather than with dread. I ran my first marathon last summer and feel like I wasn't prepared at all mentally, and I look forward to using her good attitude to push me closer to my own goals.

"One of the lessons from Beijing was that there was a difference between being fit and being healthy, I was one, not the other." I received a copy of this ebook from firsttoread.com in exchange for an honest review. This is an intimate look at the life of Deena Kastor. This book is more memoir than self-help as Kastor documents her time running from gradeschool to marathons. This book is charming and accessible. It's well paced too so we get snippets of Kastor's life as she cycles in and out of running. Once she commits to running as a professional we get to see how she went from short distance to marathon training and the people who influenced her along the way. The book is a somewhat light and enjoyable read where we see Kastor struggle with her confidence and ultimately achieve great things.

I am not a runner. In fact I’m not an athlete, an athlete wannabe, or even a regular walker. I chose this book from Penguin’s ARC offerings because the description intrigued me. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed every part of this book: first, just the story itself; then watching the author grow physically, emotionally, and socially; listening to her thought processes in preparation and in the events themselves; the science behind the coaching methods and the coaches’ interactions with the runners. A most enjoyable read, and one that provided me with some valuable insights as well

As a marathoner (and Deena Kastor fan), I love this book! Being physically prepared and well trained isn't enough to conquer the marathon; it requires mental strategies to help get you through tough workouts and the ups and downs of the race. I could relate to everything Deena said and loved the positive approach to running and racing as well as how it relates to life. It's comforting to know that even the elite athletes go through the same thoughts and feelings as the non-elites. Deena's career proves that these strategies work!


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