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The Mental Game of Running

The Mental Game of Running

centering_sports_psychologyIs Running a Mental Game or a Physical Game?

Running is based on strength and endurance. It requires a lot of training and commitment to perform at your best. However, is running an entirely physical game?

It can be argued that running is a mental game. My cross country coach in high school running would always say “Long Distance Running is 10% physical and 90% mental.”

In my opinion, I agree with my coach. I would say running is a mental game as opposed to a physical game.

This article will describe why running is a mental game as opposed to a physical game due to the philosophy of mind over matter and a runner’s high or Euphoria.

Mind Over Matter

Have you ever heard of the expression “mind over matter?” Yes, it is important to be in good shape. However, it is even more important to be in a good state of mind.

You can be in the best shape of your life and still have a bad race, even if you are the slightest bit apprehensive or conservative of your performance.

The mind is a very powerful tool. You have to take advantage of it. It can do powerful things. You just have to believe it will.

Runner’s High: Euphoria

Have you ever been on a top of the hill running all out and you feel as if you are on top of the world?

This is called runner’s high, or euphoria, due to endorphins within your body. You may be wondering why runner’s high is mental if it has to do with endorphins “within your body.”

However, to explain, the endorphins actually signal chemicals to your brain to experience happy thoughts during a run, which create a runner’s high effect. This is why runner’s high is mental.


Running is a complete mental game. As a collegiate runner, I would always tell myself that I was going to have positive results on the starting line before each race. It worked out well for me. I invite you to use the same strategy.


  1. Are there ways you press yourself to get into that state of “Runners High”?

    • Great question James. I try not to think too much when I run. I just run and naturally let myself get to the state of “Runners High.”

  2. Hello, I have been looking for some articles to include on my website. I am a sports performace coach. I would love to share one or two of your articles on my site. I will include your contact info and anything else you would like if you consent. I want to make sure you get the credit you deserve. Thank you for your consideration.

    Peace, Rob

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