The Runner’s Brain – Interview with Harvard Psychologist Dr. Jeff Brown

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Jeff Brown is the lead psychologist for the Boston Marathon and a member of Runner’s World scientific advisory board.

He’s assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and McClain Hospital.

His new book is called The Runner’s Brain – How to Think Smarter and Run Better, due out in October of this year.

Interview with Jeff Brown

  1. What led you to study sports psychology and eventually become lead psychologist at the Boston Marathon?
  2. Can you takes us into the medical tent of this year’s Boston Marathon and give us an example of the work you did?
  3. We all know that running is good for our body but in what specific ways is it good for our brains?
  4. I really enjoyed the chapter called “I Think Therefore I Am a Runner”. Can you take a moment and talk about the reticular activating system (RAS) for those who have never heard of it?
  5. You talk a lot about goal setting and visualization in the book. Why is this so good for the brain and our running?
  6. I like the concept of association and disassociation. Can you explain to folks how these tricks help you get through a run?
  7. What is happening mentally when a runner “hits the wall”?


Also Mentioned in This Episode

Jeff’s website:
Pre-order The Runner’s Brian book:
The Joggin Frogmen 5k in Boston. Sent in by a listener named Lindsay
The Rock Cut Hobo Runs in Rockford, Illinois – Angie’s next race
The Tupelo Marathon – Trevor’s next race

2 Responses to The Runner’s Brain – Interview with Harvard Psychologist Dr. Jeff Brown

  1. Nikki September 1, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

    Good luck in your upcoming race, Trevor! I know you have your playlist ready, but my advice (if you want it) is to wait a few miles before you turn it on. I have done this in the past whether 3, 6 or more miles it makes the race seem that much shorter! I swear by this trick.. the distance feels like it starts over once music is on 🙂 Good luck!

    • Trevor Spencer September 2, 2015 at 7:34 am #

      Thanks for the tip!

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