Addictions are bad, right? The very term indicates the inability to stop, the ever-increasing quest for the source of our dependence. It means we overdo whatever it is that we are doing, and that we can’t stop doing “it.”
My “it” is running. A running addiction? Is there such a thing? I have never thought I had a particularly addictive personality, at least not for the “normal” things. One glass of wine? Yup, I’m done. Drugs? Why on earth would I want to lose control of myself? How would that make my life better? Hmmm, seems like my OCD may have saved me there.
But books, those I am addicted to. My favorite authors, my favorite genres, I can’t put them down. I would read until 1 am to finish the book, then end up going into work groggy the next day (not that different from my hung over co-workers, I guess). And now running. At least I don’t run in the dark, so no grogginess there! Just the inability to move easily the day after a hard run.
What are the signs of a running addiction? These are my symptoms:
I get jealous when I see other runners when I am working or driving
I measure hills, wondering if I could conquer them
I look at the scenery when I am driving with the thought, “this would make a great run”
Reading what other runners are doing make me want to go out and do that too
I go through withdrawal when I am prevented from running by weather or happenstance
I plan my week around when I can run
Are you addicted to your sport? Are your symptoms the same as mine, or do you have others? And, really, do we care if we are addicted?
If we are 90 lb runners, made of sinew and bone, then yes, we need an intervention. And fast. But as I am at least 40 lbs away from that, I am not going to worry just yet. I am, of course, not the first person to delve into the idea of a running (or exercise) addiction.
In one article the authors–Adam Goucher & Tim Catalano– compare the actual 7 signs addiction to how they feel about running. In it, Goucher & Catalano point out that when runners say we are “addicted,” we are not in any way making light of “real problems people addicted to substances or detrimental behaviors like gambling face. Rather they are trying to communicate their passion for running and how much of their lives revolve around making sure they get their next fix.” Check out the article to see if you really do have the 7 signs of addiction.
And if you do, then check out this article to make sure your addiction is a positive one! Everything, even our exercise, can devolve if taken to excess. “The exercise addict has lost his balance: Exercise has become overvalued compared to elements widely recognized as giving meaning in a full life — work, friends, family, community involvement — in short, the fruits of our humanity.” Happily, although I do check off several of the addiction sign boxes, I still have a positive addiction 🙂