Huge thanks to everyone who expressed interest in being part of this first Athletic Bookworm Bookclub. The first book we’re going to tackle is The Brave Athlete, which was the clear winner out of the three options I put out to the group. I’m excited about this one because one of the authors, Dr. Simon Marshall, already gave me some behind-the-scenes info, and he’s honestly completely hilarious—so I’m hoping we can work out a live audio-stream Q&A at the end of our reading!
I’m still working out some of the parameters for the Athletic Bookworms and how we’ll do book discussions, but I figured we’d start super simple and do it on this page for now. I’ll email out to the group with prompts and discussion questions, and we can start comment threads on here. If it grows to the point where it’s getting unruly, I’ll move to a more bookclub-established venue, but for now, we’ll keep it simple. (You can find the Athletic Bookworms tab in the Menu bar of The Outdoor Edit homepage, or just bookmark this link.) I’m also working on figuring out how livestreaming videos and audio can work, and if we should have an end-of-book group chat.
This book is pretty dense reading material, so let’s break it into four parts: Heart, Wings, and Fight (the book’s three parts) and then a final discussion. I’ll send out questions at the beginning of each reading section (so look for Heart coming in an email and getting dropped in here in the next couple days). We’ll keep all discussion for all parts on this page, and feel free to comment and answer any or all of the questions for each section within these timeframes:
- July 10-27 Heart
- July 27-Aug 10 Wings
- Aug 11-Aug 22 Fight
- Aug 23-30 Overarching discussion
The Athletic Bookworms:
As I said, right now discussions will live here and on a quick email list that will serve to send out updates and reminders (not too many), plus help pick the next books. If you want in on it and didn’t already sign up, just drop your name and email here to stay in touch, and so I can get a rough idea of how many people are reading the books (so we can get authors to hop on live Q&As, and hopefully score some sweet discounts on books in the future!):
OK, let’s get to the book!
The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion by Lesley Paterson and Dr. Simon Marshall
The Brave Athlete is a practical, step-by-step guide that solves common mental conundrums athletes face in their everyday training and in races. In this mental makeover from professional athlete Lesley Paterson and sports psychology expert Dr. Simon Marshall, you’ll find new speed and joy in your sport by overcoming patterns of thinking, feeling, or acting that sabotage your potential and enjoyment. Whether you’re facing your first 5K or lining up at the World Championships, endurance sports demand courage, determination, and the ability to save yourself from mental pitfalls. Applying new science and hard-earned wisdom, The Brave Athlete gets down and dirty to conquer real problems faced by athletes of all levels.
A note before I start with the questions: I’m new to running a bookclub, so feel free to email or comment if you have alternate ideas for how to keep discussion flowing, etc.!
HEART Discussion Questions
- What are you hoping to get out of this book?
- Who do you identify with more—Simon or Lesley? (Why?)
- “Setting Goals is Not Your Problem” — we hear SO much about goal-setting as athletes, so what did you think about the title/the chapter?
- What did this section change about the way you’re thinking about your athletic ‘career’? Have you changed any goals or regimens?
- Are you comfortable calling yourself an athlete? Why or why not?
- How are you liking the book so far, in terms of layout and in terms of information?
- OK, this is the first in the Athletic Bookworm bookclub discussions: any comments/suggestions/preferences/changes you think we should make to contribute to the flow of this?
WINGS Discussion Questions
- Do you find yourself in the comparison trap? (And did any of these suggestions help snap you out of it? There was a great example I highlighted, re-read and re-read again in there!)
- Body image: obviously a huge issue with us as athletes. How do you think the authors handled this INSANELY thorny topic? (Especially dipping into talking about anxieties versus actual eating disorders)
- Have you ever had to deal with injury and coping with not training for a while? Did it change your view of yourself as an athlete?
- Would you be interested in setting up a group G-chat, Twitter chat or webinar to have a ‘book club meeting’? (If so, which is your preference?
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