Tough times require a tough mind.
When I lived in London, I used to commute in my black Renault Megane (aka The Black Beast) with the heater on max. And this was during summer. I was getting ready for the Swiss Ironman at the time and was trying to acclimatise to the European heat. Sweating in my work suit did pretty-much-zero in making me a better athlete, but did wonders for my mind.
I love the whole concept of placebo effect, psyching yourself up before a race, visualisation, oiling the mind. I could go on. And the seeds are gathered from experience or other people's experiences. Another reason why books can inspire - by allowing you a brief glimpse of the mind.
Enough said. Here are some great books which have done just the job. I have read quite a few books on the subject but have included only those that planted seeds in my mind. I must acknowledge Gordo Byrn , a voracious ingester of literature (and UltraMan World Champion), for his recommending many of the books.
Deep Survival - The slogan under the title seems pretty ominous but is a great read of what goes through the mind of people who have been to the edge.Running with the Buffaloes - a look at cross country running and people who live running day in day out. What it takes to get to the top is often too much for mere mortals.