Manny runners describe themselves as being addicted to running. When they do, they are not making light of the 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.
Unlike most addictions that ruin lives and destroy relationships, running can be a positive addiction that enhances lives and builds relationships. Of course too much of a good thing can be bad and there are runners who take it too far for less healthy results. But for most of us running is a healthy addiction we are not only happy to have, but will work hard to develop. Falling off the wagon in normal addiction happens when you have stopped for a time and then start again. It is the opposite with running addiction where falling off the wagon happens when we stop running for a period of time only to find the quality of our lives has deteriorated in many areas and we must start running again to get back to normal.
As we contemplated real addictions vs running addiction we decided to research some of the signs that a person is an addict and see if they apply to runners. As we expected many of the signs of addiction show up in avid runners. Take a look at the following seven signs of addiction and see how many apply to you and your running.
1. You have built up a tolerance to running: Do you find yourself needing to run more often or further distances to get the same effects you were getting when you began running?
2. Your life begins to revolve around running: Do you plan your weekends, road trips, vacations, or other activities around when you will be able to get in your runs?
3. You continue to run despite knowing it is hurting you: Do you ever try to run through an injury that you shouldn’t? Do you sometimes train on an injury at the risk of making it worse?
4. Sudden weight loss or gain: When you first started running did you experience rapid weight loss or even weight gain if you were already slender but without much muscle?
5. Changes in social groups/new and unusual friends: Do you have running friends many people would find “unusual?” Have you begin to hang out more with your running friends than you do with your non-running friends?
6. Withdrawal: When you do not get to run do you become irritable or experience the opposite effects of what you experience when you do get to run?
7. Changes in energy – unexpectedly extremely tired or energetic: Do you get a crazy boost of energy after a great run or workout? Do you sometimes finish a long run and want to go to sleep for the rest of the day?
As fun and healthy as it might be to be happily addicted to running, there is of course a dark side. It is very possible that some runners take their addiction too far where it starts to adversely interfere with their normal lives and relationships. In these cases running addiction can become a serious problem.
But for the rest of us who are in an appropriate balance and are able to enjoy not only the addiction to running, but also the healthy benefits it brings, then it is one addiction we are happy to have!
Are you a happily addicted runner? How many of the above symptoms do you have?