Meb Keflezighi Talks About the Mental Side of Running and Getting His Start in the Sport

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by: LetsRun.com
December 22, 2012

As the year wraps up, it’s time to get some stories out there that weren’t time sensitive but you all might find interesting.

Earlier this month Generation UCAN, (full disclosure: a letsrun.com advertiser), had its Texas launch at Lifetime Fitness in Dallas.

Olympic marathon silver medallist Meb Keflezighi was the star attraction and he was accompanied by the Dallas Cowboys nutritionist Amy Goodson, and media dietitician Karin Hosenfeld.

Of course Meb, Amy, and Karin talked about Generation UCAN. One of the reported benefits of Generation UCAN is that thanks to its superstarch it provides sustained energy over time with less of the spike and crash that more traditional carbohydrates have. In addition to using it in endurance sports, Amy talked about using it as a fueling source for some 300+ pound NFL lineman, and also with golfers who need to stay mentally sharp for hours.

Meb on His Start in Running

Meb Got His Start in Running With a Physical Fitness Test
Most importantly for the LRC audience, in the course of the UCAN discussion Meb had some nuggets of wisdom about his own running. Meb talked about getting his start in running thanks to a mile run as part of his 7th grade PE fitness test. The PE instructor told Meb, “If you run hard you’re going to get an “A” or a “B”.”

If you’ve read Meb’s autobiography (which is free to borrow for Amazon Prime Members on their kindle at the time of writing), you know Meb’s parents expected him to get As or Bs, so Meb naturally ran hard. As he said, “I just ran as hard I could in the mile and I ran 5:20.” Soon the high school coach knew of Meb and the rest, Olympic silver medal and New York City Marathon championship, is history.

On a similar note, LetsRun.com’s founders Wejo and Rojo knew they had a knack for running thanks to the Presidential fitness tests they did in 4th or 5th grade. It made us wonder, how many of you realized you had a talent for running thanks to a presidential fitness test?

The 90/10 or  Is It 10/90 Physical/Mental Breakdown on Running
Meb is known for his racing savvy and getting the most out of what he has on race day (and proving LetsRun.com wrong in its predictions on how he is going to do). He won the Olympic Trials this year despite only having 10 weeks between the NYC Marathon and the Trials, and missing three of those due to injury. He got 4th at the Olympics despite missing a lot of time due to injury.

Meb on The Mental Side of Running and
the False Start at 2003 Worlds

Meb had an interesting take on how much of running is physical and how much of it is mental. He said, “I really believe during preparation it’s 90% physical, 10% mental. When the gun goes off it’s 90% mental and 10% being healthy.”

The clip to the right is where Meb talks about the mental/physical breakdown of the sport. He starts off by talking about the 2003 World Championships where Jon Drummond false started in the 100m and would not leave the track leading to a 45 minute delay that Meb said affected him physically and mentally for the 10,000m which was next.

Meb’s words remind us that once the gun goes off, the key is to be mentally prepared to get 100% of what your body can deliver on that day. Meb’s results show that often times the result can be pretty good even if physically you are not at your peak heading into the race.

**More clips from the event

Meb talks about keeping his racing weight down and how before he was 35 nutrition wasn’t that important in keeping his weight down. (One thing discussed at the event was whether Generation UCAN provides a more efficient fat burn).

Meb talks about the practical difficulties of doing high low training and having to drive 40 miles one way to work out.

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