Prof Brian Zuleger on Mental Strengths of Youth
To delve into the minds of college athletes is fascinating. Especially if those days are behind you, it can be hard to remember how different our outlooks were in our late teens and early 20s. What can we learn from this group and apply to our own race? It turns out that is a lot! […]

To delve into the minds of college athletes is fascinating. Especially if those days are behind you, it can be hard to remember how different our outlooks were in our late teens and early 20s. What can we learn from this group and apply to our own race?

mindset of collegiate runners

It turns out that is a lot! Many young athletes have a certain sparkle that they bring to their sport. This allows them to train hard, improve quickly, and have fun while they're at it.

Many teams are now offering their athletes additional support for the mental aspect of training. So they can learn how to recover what they need, how to deal with setbacks, and begin to discover the immense power of their state of mind.

We've talked a lot about mental training, as you can hear in our recent podcasts at:

If you want to know more, check out our Mastery of the mentality course where you will get a comprehensive toolkit of resources and practice applying proven techniques.

Whether you are interested in learning how young athletes learn mental toughness or what you can apply for yourself, today's episode is for you.

Brian Zuleger's work with college runners

Brian Zuleger is a professor of sports psychology at Adams State University, where he is also a mental strength coach for cross country and track teams. He works directly with athletes in an integrative and holistic approach.

Brian is a certified exercise physiologist in American College of Sports Medicine. He applies his education with the athletes he works with as a personal trainer and coach.

We discuss the partnership he has with athletes, the skills they focus on, and their unique psychology. We talk about the pros and cons of the youthful mindset, as well as what adult runners can get out of it.

Of course, runners face many of the same challenges regardless of their age. Listen to a short clip from Brian explaining this:

We also talk about:

  • Healthy ways of seeing the competition
  • Temptation of results based on numbers
  • Breaking off after a bad workout
  • Benefits of having a team

Hope you listen, laugh on your own at college, and take some tips along the way.

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Listen to the entire episode:

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Brodie is passionate about helping runners perform at their best. In addition to the valuable resources shared in the Run Smarter podcast, he offers physiotherapy online to help runners recover from injuries.

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If you’ve never run before or you’ve had a long break from course, it can feel intimidating to get out there and hit the pavement. But if you get familiar with some basic information about running and follow a beginner’s schedule, you’ll be well on your way to starting a new course habit.

At your visit, share your course plan and goals with your doctor and have him/her assess your plan and any potential health issues. If you have had any previous injuries or issues, make sure your doctor is aware of them, and ask if he or she has any suggestions on how to prevent a recurrence.

Visit a specialty running store to get expert advice on buying the right running shoes. An professionnel at the store will look at your feet, watch you run, and make recommendations based on your foot type and course style. If you already have running shoes that you like, but you’ve had them for a while, you may still need to get new ones. Running in worn-out running shoes can also lead to injury. You should replace them every 300 to 400 miles.

Beyond course shoes, you don’t need much more than some comfortable exercise clothes to get started. If you’re course outdoors, make sure you follow some basic tips for how to dress for hot weather running and cold weather running, so you stay safe and comfortable.

As your résistance improves and you start course longer, you may want to invest in some technical fabric course clothes and other basic running gear, such as a course belt, good course socks, and a running hat. Some runners also like to have a course watch to track their times and kilomètres.

Before you get started with running, get familiar with how to do the run/walk method. Most beginner runners start out using a run/walk technique because they don’t have the résistance or fitness to run for extended periods of time. The run/walk method involves course for a short segment and then taking a walk break. As you continue with a run/walk program, the goal is to extend the amount of time you’re course and reduce your walking time. Of course, some runners find walk breaks to be so beneficial that they continue taking them even as their résistance and sport improves.

Before you start any course workout, though, you need to make sure you warm up properly. A good warm-up signals to your body that it will have to start working soon. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart when you start your run. Start your runs with a brisk walk, followed by very easy jogging for a few minutes. You can also do some warm-up exercises. Always end your workout with a slow five-minute jog or walk to cool down. The cool-down allows your heart rate and blood pressure to fall gradually.

Use your breathing as your guide when running. You should be able to carry on a conversation while course, and your breathing shouldn’t be heavy. Don’t worry about your pace per mile—if you can pass the ' talk test ' and speak in complete sentences without gasping for air, then you’re moving at the right speed.

Make sure you’re breathing in through your nose and mouth, and breathing out through your mouth. Proper breathing and taking deep belly breaths will help you avoid annoying side stitches, or cramps in the abdomen area.

Drink water at the end of your workouts to rehydrate. If it’s hot and humid, you should also drink some water ( about four to six ounces ) halfway through your workouts. ​

Post-run is a great time to stretch and work on improving your flexibility because your groupes de muscles will be warmed up. It’s also a relaxing way to end a workout. Try some of these stretches that target particular areas that frequently get tight during and after running.


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