Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Philip Latter, Christine Weinkauff Duranso – Running Flow

Flow researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi contributed to a new book in which the ability to enter into a flow state of mind is tailored to the recreational and professional distance runner. In Running Flow the components for enabling flow are described: challenge-skills balance, having clear goals and unambiguous feedback. In a state of flow, this results in attention with focus, blended action and consciousness, a feeling of control, loss of self-consciousness, a temporary distortion of the notion of time, and pleasure in running.

The activity becomes more important than actually reaching a specific goal. Intrinsic motivation translated as an autotelic experience is key. The authors lean on meditation techniques of which mindfulness is prominent. Testimonies by famous distance runners and countless pieces of advice for better performances are included. Well-written and useful!

About the authors

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a bestselling author, world-renowned researcher, and one of the fathers of positive psychology. His seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990), was a New York Times best seller and introduced the concept of flow to mainstream audiences. Once the head of the psychology department at the University of Chicago, Csikszentmihaly founded the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont Graduate University. His work has influenced figures such as Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Now a professor at Claremont Graduate University in southern California, Csikszentmihalyi has written more than 120 journal articles and book chapters and has authored a dozen books related to positive psychology. He continues to research flow and motivation as the founder and codirector of the nonprofit Quality of Life Research Center. He lives in Claremont, California.

Philip Latter is the coauthor of Faster Road Racing (Human Kinetics, 2015) with two-time Olympian Pete Pfitzinger. A former senior writer for Running Times and current contributor to Runner’s World and runnersworld.com, Latter has profiled more than a dozen Olympians and written extensively on training methodology, exercise science, and sport psychology. He regularly lectures on flow at summer running camps and has used many of the techniques described in this book with the high school, college, and post collegiate athletes he coaches.

A runner for almost two decades, Latter earned five all-conference honors at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and holds personal bests of 14:47 for 5K, 31:24 for 10K and 1:12:11 for the half marathon. A former NCAA Division I head cross country coach at Radford University, Latter coaches runners at Brevard High School in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. He lives just outside of Brevard with his wife and two daughters.

Christine Weinkauff Duranso is a professor of psychology at both Woodbury University in Burbank, California, and California State University at San Bernardino. As a PhD student at Claremont Graduate University, Weinkauff studied under the mentorship of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and focused her research on the role of flow and exercise and how they contribute to thriving. Her dissertation considered how exercise, flow, and nature strengthen resilience and enhance well-being for college students.

Weinkauff has completed races ranging from 5K to marathon distance and has ventured into the triathlon world. She enjoys speaking to various groups about the role of flow and exercise in well-being and how flow can provide the motivation to persist in new exercise endeavors. A mother of four, she lives in Claremont, California, with her three youngest children.

I received a free copy from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.