Podcast: Episode 182 with J.M. Thompson


“It’s possible to have a dysfunctional, unhealthy relationship to anything, right? So I would invite people to look at their own relationship to whatever it is they’re doing, whether it’s running or anything, and say, ‘How is this serving me? Or not serving me? Am I doing this to the exclusion of my responsibilities to my family, friends, loved ones, community? Or, in fact, is this practice of running actually foundational in helping me do that?’ My sense is that overall for the majority of runners and athletes it’s the second scenario which is true: that running actually tends to cultivate connection and gratitude and love and the ability to be of service to others. If it stops being that then maybe you want to look at that but I think it’s usually the case that it’s a positive force in people’s lives.” 

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This week’s episode is with J.M. Thompson. He’s an ultrarunner, a clinical psychologist, and author of the new book, Running Is A Kind of Dreaming, a powerful, mind-bending memoir about how running saved him from a life of depression, drug addiction, and suicide attempts. 

This conversation was fascinating and one of my favorites that I’ve had for the podcast to date. In it, we discuss J.M.’s book, how it’s structured, and how it came to be, but also what it’s been like for him, as a mental health professional, to open about his own issues so publicly. We talked about ultrarunning, his evolving relationship to it, and the types of personalities the sport tends to attract. Jason told me about what he called the “waking dream state” that he experiences in long races, the process of reorganizing our past experiences with trauma so that we can move forward, the importance of learning to ask for help, and a lot more. 

J.M. Thompson: Book | Twitter

the morning shakeout: Instagram | Twitter

Mario Fraioli: Website | Strava

This episode is brought to you by:

Tracksmith. Tracksmith crafts performance running apparel, inspiring publications, and distinct experiences that allow runners to indulge in the sport’s rich culture. Go to tracksmith.com/mario to check out some of my favorite apparel picks and use the code MARIO at checkout to get free shipping on your order while also helping support #LASAVESTRACK. 

— Recover Athletics. Recover Athletics has worked with the world’s best sports physicians and Olympians like Meb Keflezighi to design an app that makes prehab fun and easy. In 90 seconds, the app will customize a program for your body and your training with different resistance exercises, plyometrics, and mobility work. No pills, no potions, no BS, just 100% evidence based exercises that are easy to follow on your iPhone or iPad. It’s available only in the iOS app store right now by searching “Recover Athletics” or at this link.

Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford.

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