Book Review “How Bad Do You Want It?”

Matt Fitzgerald’s book, How Bad Do You Want It? is filled with race recaps where athletes succumbed to race pressure or found ways to overcome challenges to achieve top performances. At some point of every race, an athlete will ask “How bad do you want it?” And the answer will determine the outcome.

I was given this book after I told Holly that my current run coach had to rewrite my training plan for the remaining 3 weeks because once again I had managed to blow up and miss all training time goals (not really, but in my mind it may as well have been the entire plan). I couldn’t think about the run I was currently doing, I was thinking about every “what-if” scenario I could dream that was yet to come.

I read the title question, and answered just like that author  initially answered, “Not as bad as that guy.” I LOVE running. I love it for the fitness it provides and friends I’ve made. I love it because there is simply not a better endorphin release. I love it because I enjoy working hard “enough” to feel good. But yet. . .I still have this randomly selected time goal that I want to have beside my name. And in order to get there, “good enough” isn’t going to cut it. So, I have the book. 

Matt’s book walks you through coping mechanisms that have proven successful for other high performing athletes. He makes a strong case that a sports psychologist in “street clothes” isn’t going to produce the results. An athlete must throw themselves in situations in a training and work through it by changing perceptions of perceived effort, pain, fatigue, and having realistic goals that are hard to achieve, but doable.

The case studies are interesting to read, and getting an elite’s athlete perspective of what was happening during a race reminded me at the end of the day, everyone has the same fears and pressures – just at different levels.

How bad do you want it? I’m still thinking through this, but I know to reach a new goal, I’ll need to come up with an answer.

If you’ve been struggling or sitting on a plateau of fitness, I encourage you to pick up this book and start making changes. Or at least read about others who did amazing things because they don’t care about pain levels or hurting or suffering because they want top results. Are you willing to embrace the pain for a short time to reach your goal or will you let up because it got too hard?




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