Published on February 1, 2016
How Bad Do You Want It?
Matt Fitzgerald’s latest book How Bad Do You Want It? is subtitles ‘Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle’, and right there is the key if you’re looking for a real competitive edge.
A new limiting factor
How Bad Do You Want It? makes a (strong) argument for what Fitzgerald calls the new ‘psychobiological’ model of endurance performance. In essence it means that the limiting factors should no longer be considered lactic threshold, VO2 max or any number of other physiological metrics, but rather it is the level at which the brain says ‘enough!’ To paraphrase the book: It’s the job of the muscles to perform; it’s the job of the mind to cope.
By all accounts
If that all sounds a bit ‘new age’ and without substance, you probably couldn’t be further from the truth. Fitzgerald is a recognised expert in his field and a sports nutritionist to boot, so he’s all about the substance. He explores the new paradigm in detail with plenty of real-world examples of what can go right and what can go wrong. He draws, in detail, not just from the world of running, but also from the wider context of endurance sport. Cycling legend Greg Lemond is just one of the many pro athletes whose experiences all add credible weight to Fitzgerald’s argument.
There’s nothing academically dry about How Bad Do You Want It? either. Fitzgerald’s turn-by-turn accounts of various races (both foot and otherwise) are breathless and immediate, taking the reader deep into the action to better understand each athlete.
As fascinating and compelling as Fitzgerald’s arguments and conclusions are, one of the things we most enjoyed was what a springboard to discovery the book has proven. A dozen or more times we found ourselves pulled reluctantly away from its pages to go and research some side branch or other; to start investigating wider psychological arguments, the application of Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), other recognised ‘coping strategies’…
If you have a curious mind – as well as one you’d like to harden against the rigours of endurance running – How Bad Do You Want It? couldn’t come recommended highly enough.
How Bad Do You Want It? (ISBN-10: 1781315272) by Matt Fitzgerald is published by Aurum Press, RRP £14.99 paperback, currently £11.03 Kindle – available from Amazon.co.uk