The Runners Brain: How to Think Smarter to Run Better by Dr. Jeff Brown is a fabulous book. Dr. Jeff Brown is the head psychologist of the Boston Marathon and was at the Finish Line in the medical tent in 2013 with the bombings. He has taken all he has learned working with athletes and created a great book about how thinking better can make you a better runner. While I read the book, I took notes and have definitely incorporated many of the strategies into my toolkit.
Let's review what the chapters go over to give you an idea of what to expect!
- Runners brain. Running is good for sharpening memory, age-proof your brain, happiness/euphoria, etc.
- What happens to your brain-RAS (reticular activating system)-stuff it full of knowledge,hang with runners, program your self-talk, set goals,dress the part, etc. ***this is so important to me and is something I've been working on all year! Positive self-talk really helps so much
- Goal setting-I use SMART (Specific ,Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals often at work but this book uses GOAL (can I feel the goal in my gut/ is my goal objective and measurable/is my goal challenging yet achievable/ will my goal help me learn about my running and other abilities). I may bring this into work to see how it goes.
- Visualization and focus- exactly what it sounds like
- Association and dissociation-association with the course seems to perform better. To gain thought control-notice, analyze, and incorporate. Dissociation means not thinking about running while running.
- Running bliss- running high and flow. Endorphins as well as adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine while running. Endocannabinoids help reduce pain and anxiety
- Magic and luck-Runners are creatures of habit and luck. Helps us take control and "ward off" bad luck. I definitely do some of this
- Clothes-enclothed cognition and symbolizing in clothing.
- Pack mentality-Groups can help with performance
- Racing-brain movement with dopamine in the limbic and PFC
- Pre race jitters and post race blues-pre race and SNS, adrenaline and fight or flight--tips are visualizing, positive self-talk, don't overthink and be superstitious. Post race-enjoy break, reflect,set new goals and gratitude. Focusing on the pre-race jitters and using it to your advantage, can help with your performance
- Iconic races- Carlsbad 5k, mount Washington 7.6 miler, pikes peak, Boston. I am so excited to run Carlsbad in April!
- Hitting the wall-muscles and liver are out of glyocgen, or mind overrides and says too far and too fast. Interaction between insula and anterior cingulate cortex in the brain. How to overcome hitting the wall and how to prevent it.
- Challenges-hills, failure, boredom, life changes (babies, older, major life stressor, illness and tips on how to overcome and adjust to those.
- Weathering the storm- heat, cold, rain. I have been through it all and this book definitely help me put things in perspective, especially running in the heat.
- Treadmill-work on combating boredom. I try my hardest to not run on a treadmill.
- Worksheets- pre race peace of mind checklist
- 7 step fit brain training plan
- From mind of the greats -Joan Benoit Samuelson, Jeff Galloway, Abby burfoot, dean karnazes, Kathrine Switzer, Francie larrieu smith, Meb,Michael Johnson. The tips and stories they tell are magic.
I would recommend this book to any runner, whether new or old or in between. Looking at it from a mental point of view and from a science point of view definitely help me shift my perspective.
Has anyone else read this book? Any thoughts on how you have adjusted your mindset while running?