Joanna Zeiger is one of the few triathletes who had great success across all distances. She surprised many when she qualified for the first Olympics in Sydney 2000, then almost medaled in fourth place. Less than five weeks later she finished fifth at the Ironman World Championships in Kona. She won two Ironman races (IM Brasil in 2005 and IM Coeur d’Alene in 2006) and was the 70.3 World Champion 2008.
Joanna is also academically accomplished, having earned a Ph.D. in Genetic Epidemiology from John Hopkins University in 2001. That’s not a field known for “touchy feely” science, so it was clear that her book “The Champions Mindset” wouldn’t focus on lighting candles, journaling, chanting or meditating. (The first three terms are not mentioned in the book at all; ‘meditation’ is referred to as ‘mindfulness’, a much more practical technique focused on the current moment.)
Joanna’s Pro racing career was cut short: She was in an life-altering accident while trying to defend her 70.3 title. In a bike aid station she was picking up a bottle but the volunteer didn’t let go, and she found herself on the ground having broken her collarbone and a couple of ribs. Her ribs never really healed, and she’s been suffering chronic pain ever since, sometimes rendering her unable to get out of bed for days. With this background you might expect another type of book, one that could be summed up with “toughen up, buttercup”. This is also NOT the book she wrote.
Instead Joanna has written a practical, readable and often personal guide on how to mentally approach your training and racing. She explores setting goals, letting others help you while keeping ownership, confidence, strategies during the race to achieve mind/body cohesion, overcoming obstacles and finding meaning. She presents the science behind the issues and discusses different strategies to deal with “roadblocks” on your way to better results. The book gives you a ton of ideas to think about. After Joanna was kind enough to send me an early copy, I’ve often referred to the book, both for myself and in chatting with some Professional athletes about the challenges they face. I’m sure that any athlete will benefit from the strategies and approaches discussed and that the book will give you pragmatic strategies to change your behavior in training and racing.