Mental Skills for Young Runners (Introduction)

The Growing Runner’s Approach to Mental Training Introducing a mental training variation on GR’s “PR Pyramid” … If you listen to top distance runners describe that ONE THING made the biggest difference in their personal performance breakthrough, chances are pretty good that you won’t hear about a particular workout.  But I bet you’ll almost always hear about something “new” that they discovered inside themselves just waiting to come out — something that allowed or maybe forced them to CHANGE their psychological approach to training or racing.  Certainly most young distance runners already know that having the PROPER  MINDSET and a  POSITIVE  ATTITUDE are important to improving their racing performance.  But in my experience, very very few of them (or their parents or coaches for that matter) actually know exactly how to develop the right mental skills.  The first step – the first tool – we recommend and use is one that guides young runners through a short, self-assessment. GRTC’s model is based on a questionnaire developed by Dr. Jack Lesyk of the Ohio Center for Sports Psychology after years of testing and research. The questions are intended to help athletes, parents and coaches identify the athlete’s mental skill set in nine critical areas: attitude, motivation, goals, self-talk, mental imagery, anxiety, emotions, and concentration. As Dr. Lesyk reminds us, all successful athletes share the belief that their sport is important to them and that they’re committed to being the best they can be: “They set high, realistic goals for themselves and train and play hard. … Their sport participation enriches their lives and they believe that what they get back is worth what they put into their sport.” At GRTC, our system is built on the foundational principle that mental skills CAN BE IMPROVED with instruction and regular practice.  Runners, when you’re ready to change, to grow stronger, and to get faster, just start by looking in the mirror and reflecting on how important running and racing is to you. Take a minute now to sign up for the first in our special series of self-assessment tools for serious young distance runners — just click this link: Coaches and parents, if you want more information on these tools and how to...

Six-Time Olympian and Former World Record Holder Anne Audain Visits GRTC July 31st!

That’s right! Anne Audain, a New Zealand native, Olympian six times over, former World Record holder in the women’s 5k (15:13), and the first professional female runner, is visiting Coach Mearns as part of GRTC’s program. The “Evening with Olympian Anne Audain” will be held on July 31st at 7:30PM at the Williamsburg Community Chapel. The event will be free to GRTC members, their families and the public too, but since space is limited, please RSVP by email to Who is she? Anne Audain who has been dubbed “The Winningest Road Racer in History,” sure came a long way from her humble beginnings growing up on New Zealand’s tiny island of Waiheke. Adopted at birth, she overcame a painful childhood disability thanks to reconstructive surgery on both feet as a teenager. Within a couple years, Anne joined her first and only track club, and later left home to become a champion athlete and a pioneer in women’s professional sports. Here’s a brief snapshot of some of her many accomplishments: First Professional female distance runner (1981) Won more road races than any other male or female distance runner in the 1980’s (75 wins out of 122 elite, professional races) Set a World Record at the 5000 meters – 15 minutes 13 seconds (1982) Six-Time Olympic Qualifier (1972, 76, 80, 84, 88, 92) Commonwealth Games Gold and Silver Medalist (1982, 1986) Inducted into Running USA Hall of Champions 2008 Awarded the MBE from Queen Elizabeth New Zealand Medal of Honor 1990 Founder of Idaho Women’s Fitness Celebration in 1993 which became the largest run/walk exclusively for women and children in the USA Our special GR Event will include a frank and motivating conversation with Coach Mearns, who was Anne’s manager for most of the 1980’s, the peak of her professional athletic career. Coach Mearns and Audain became lifelong friends, working on special events and a film about her life story.  Anne’s been an inspiration to his own running kids and she looks forward to mentoring our young runners too. Be sure to check out the trailer to her documentary “Running Her Way” at Film clips and Anne’s comments will be an exciting part our “Evening with an Olympian” next Thursday, July 31 at the...

GRTC Ladies Qualify for USATF Junior Olympic National Championships

Continuing their success from a few weeks ago, GRTC’s Adriana Hooks and Lindsey Blanks competed this weekend at the USATF Junior Olympic Regionals in Durham, NC with similar results…

Podium & PR 800m for Derek Holdsworth at Junior Nationals

GRTC’s Derek Holdworth and Coach Mearns are back from Eugene, Oregon where Holdsworth achieved All-America status and set a new PR in the 800.

GRTC’s Derek Holdsworth Through to USATF Jr. 800m Finals

Eugene, Oregon; GRTC’s Derek Holdsworth is safely through to the USATF Junior Nationals 800m finals set to go off at 4:45(west). Running from heat one payed off for Derek, though just out leaned at the line, his blistering time of 1:48.97 is not only a PR for him but also makes him the second fastest qualifier into the finals.

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