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

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4.40  ·  Rating details ·  4,990 ratings  ·  579 reviews
From an Olympic medalist runner and the record-holder in the women's marathon and half-marathon, a vividly inspirational memoir on using positive psychology and brain science to achieve unparalleled athletic success

The day Deena Kastor became a truly elite runner was the day she realized that she had to ignore her talent--it had taken her so far, but only conquering th
...more
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Crown Archetype
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Jess George Probably, depending on the kid! I'm 100 pages in and the only thing I've noticed is that she writes about the joking between runners and there have be…moreProbably, depending on the kid! I'm 100 pages in and the only thing I've noticed is that she writes about the joking between runners and there have been a couple of mild off-color jokes acknowledging the existence of sex and maybe one or two swears. But nothing at all extreme for a 12-year-old and overall a very positive viewpoint towards life and running.(less)

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Monster
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Kastor is not someone I relate to well (and is perhaps the sort of person I avoid). Her focus on positive thinking and mindset is probably the element of this book that most repels me, not because those cognitive behaviors are not helpful or even transformative, but because I think there are specific positionalities predisposed to be transformed by positive thinking; And it has everything to do with privilege, which Kastor seems oblivious to. Her narrative reads like modern, agnostic allegory of ...more
Gina
I loved this book! Very inspirational. It's not just about Deena's impressive running career, but also about her journey on how to think positively and improve her running performances by changing her mental game. I got it from the library, but I'm going to have to buy a copy so I can mark my favourite parts and refer back to it when I need some inspiration.
Allison
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: running
I enjoyed this book in the sense that I'm reading it at the "right" time: I'm looking for ways to "up my running game" that are within my control, and mentality is super-high on the list. I like the fact that Deena stuck to the memoir format--rather than sliding down the slippery self-help slope--and that she really took care to show the origins of her various mindset shifts, whether they came from a person, a book, or her own mind.

However, I found her hard to relate to in a number of circumstan
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anna
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This is an interesting read to learn what it is like to be an elite runner and have your entire world and the people in it revolve around you and your running goals. "Thinking my way to victory" doesn't seem like a completely accurate subtitle. Certainly, there's many sections about how Kastor changed her thinking to be more positive and that this helped improve her running. She fails to acknowledge, though, that she has every possible and imaginable advantage in her running: a hired coach, hire ...more
Debbie Boucher
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I belong to two book clubs. One read Deena's memoir when it first came out this spring. The other is reading it this month. I'm glad I finally got to it as I loved the book, not only because everyone here in Mammoth is proud of Deena and her accomplishments, but also because this memoir demonstrates the power of positive thinking. Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment, even for a talented runner like Deena. But it takes more than careful training, good nutrition, and support. What this boo ...more
Ron S
Rhonda Byrne in running shoes. Self-help in sneakers. Deena Kastor began her career running with genetic talent but didn't begin to truly make progress until she committed to a coach who challenged her to work on her mental approach and her philosophy. A book about discovery and making choices.
Tricia Donley
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I had learned disappointment was rooted in the desire to improve & that under the grief there was deep love.” This book reminded me why I love running and why I love pushing myself to new limits. Deena’s writing style was engaging and empowering. ...more
Karen
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lots of inspiration here! Interesting to read about Kastor’s training regimens and all the disappointments and victories that come with being an Olympian. I found the Optimist’s Guide at the end of the book particularly helpful in teaching oneself to think and be more positive.
Rainey
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 " ...more
Wendy S.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book shows the powerful mind of an Olympic medalist who has managed to remain an artist at heart by controlling her thoughts at a level I don’t know that most can do. I am absolutely in awe of Deena Kastor!
Rick Wilson
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Good for what it is. A ghostwritten memoir by a Olympic athlete. I’m impressed by the down-to-earth-ness presented. The bits on mental toughness are great.
Mitch Morris
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book back and forth with “Grapes of Wrath,” which has made for quite a contrast. I’m hardly the first to be impressed by it, but there is no way to describe “Grapes of Wrath” other than art. Every paragraph is like a painting, each letter, word, and comma like a brushstroke contributing to a beautiful whole. Sometimes after finishing a page, I just sit back and wonder how someone was able to make something so rich and full of life out of words. Reading his greatest book, it is easy t ...more
Emily
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I was always interested in checking it out, but after a terrible final long run before starting to taper for my first marathon, I started listening to it on Audible for an emergency pep talk! Her stories of perseverance over many obstacles (injury, mental limitations she set for herself, loneliness, those assholes she ran with in Alamosa) and tips on channeling positivity and gratitude in the face of adversity really helped me when facing my own challenges. I also loved storie ...more
Valerie
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Jen
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding! Loved it! So many nuggets of wisdom that I will need to use in my training. Highly recommend!
Sharon :)
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
OH MMM GEEEE I ❤️❤️❤️ -ed this book it combines running and positive thinking just magical!!!
Amanda Cunningham
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: running
LOVED THIS!

This hit home in so many aspects for me and it also opened some other windows for me on things I wasn't aware of for running. This was the perfect book for me to read right after a huge marathon. Five stars isn't enough.
Jasmyn
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved this! Mental strength is so important in running long distances and handling life. I love that this isn't a self help book, just a memoir of her extraordinary running career and the importance of mental strength to go the distance. Now I want to go YouTube the 2004 women's marathon. 😊
Chloe Noland
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I was very compelled by the reference to mental stamina in the title and synopsis of this running memoir, particularly because mental endurance is an area of my running that I am working on right now. I could definitely appreciate Deena Kastor's commitment to her running lifestyle, and drew support from her decision to turn negative thinking into positive on the trail. This is something that is often overlooked, because it sounds so simple and trite. I have no doubt that, just like meditation, t ...more
Kayla
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book! I loved reading about Deena's life from her early years of running in junior high to her years of being a professional runner. Her recounts of races were very well done. I could feel the adrenaline and was hooked into the moment as she battled it out with competitors or with her own mind.

It was also interesting to read about how the Mammoth Track Club got started with Coach Vigil, Deena, the famous Meb, and others. I drove by Mammoth Lakes, California on a road trip,
...more
Emily at Reaching While Rooted
I love running. I love the idea of positive thinking. So Deena's memoir was a perfect fit. I have long followed her career since 2010, and have come to greatly respect and admire her perseverance and grit. I have since applied her ideas of gratitude and positive thinking to my own life, and I'd like to think it has made me a better mother/wife/friend because of it.

Let Your Mind Run sheds light on what was under the hood of all those wins and accomplishments. Deena held nothing back and many tim
...more
Amy Brown
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I didn't know if I would get into the book because it starts with Deena discovering she was a naturally fast runner in middle school and winning many, many races at the start. The book gets more relatable when she starts describing her struggles and how changing her thought patterns led to gratitude, kindness and resilience which then influenced her training, her successes, and how she responded to set backs. The book also gives you a glimpse into the training life of a professional run ...more
Steve
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've been a fan of Deena's ever since hearing her on a podcast describing how hard she works at positivity, and how it impacts her ability to tolerate stress and fatigue while running. She's the fastest female US marathoner in history, so she definitely has some street cred on this topic. Many parts of this book should be required reading for anyone trying to get better at running marathons. Specifically, she talks about drawing strength from positivity, gratitude, friends, family, and even natu ...more
Lianne
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a good book- read it in four days! Deena has always been my favorite runner and one of my biggest inspirations so learning about her journey and outlook on life has been invaluable to me. Thank you.
Danielle
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this audio book and loved it! I’ve been struggling with a foot injury that has sidelined my competitive running for a (frustrating!!) 8+ months. I began to look forward to my grueling pool runs and trainer rides, knowing I’d be able to listen to Deena’s motivational story.

Of course being a true runnerd, I was engrossed by all the training details and race replays. But what made this book truly wonderful is in the title: the way that Deena has been able to continually improve and g
...more
Viju
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gifted, 2020-reads, owned
After a false start last month (false start mostly because I wasn’t running and this book was depressing me), I picked this book up again this weekend after a good three weeks back into running!

Having a running coach who has an effect on other aspects of your life is the best thing that’s happened to me in the last 15 months. That was the main reason why I was able to relate to the book! Deena’s Coach Vigil shapes her up as a runner and also talks about success and excellence in one of the initi
...more
Windee
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jeanne
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author uses running as a metaphor for the pursuit for excellence. I enjoyed her focus on the biochemistry of belief and the mind-body connection.

I was happily surprised at all these references to the principles espoused by Louise Hay and other thought gurus on the biology of belief, because I hadn’t realized how mainstream these principles have become.

A few quotes from the book—

Training would always take me to a place of discomfort and it was my job to push past it.

While we need a plan B
...more
Elizabeth Guillemette
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book started a little slower, but I quickly came to enjoy it. At first, it seemed like a basic narrative and summary, but over time as she discussed her mindset I came to appreciate how her outlook could be applied beyond the context of running. It made for a good read to start the day with.

"I thought about how every decision that follows builds and expands and accumulates. And yet it comes back to the microdecisions we make in any given moment, when we can go in one direction or the other
...more
Don
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it

Deena Kastor is an American runner who during the height of her running, held the American record in the marathon, half marathon, 10 mile and many others distances. Deena quotes Henry David Thoreau, “WE MUST THINK OVER AND OVER THE KIND OF THOUGHTS WE WANT TO DOMINATE OUR LIVES” It is a good summary of her book as she sought to find motivation and direction throughout her life. In telling the story of her life, she makes the case that we can profoundly change ourselves even at the cellular level
...more
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American Record holder in the marathon at 2 hours 19 minutes. Once held every American record from 5K distance to the marathon. Author of Let Your Mind Run, A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory, with co-author Michelle Hamilton.

I love running, reading, writing, cooking, entertaining, rescuing big dogs, spending time with family, and living in Mammoth Lakes, California.

News & Interviews

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
49 likes · 11 comments
“Oh, you're doing it again, I said to myself when I became aware of negativity, being careful not to rebuke myself and therefore wind up being negative about being negative. I told myself: Find a thought that serves you better.” 7 likes
“I'm alone, but I'm not lonely. I like who I am. I like who I'm becoming.” 5 likes
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