Addicted to Running?

As many of you know by now, running is one of my passions and when I am not able to run, I get anxious and sometimes, downright cranky. This morning, it was pouring down rain again so I opted to not run. But, after making that choice, I began to feel guilty and anxious once more. Luckily, this feeling faded after I reminded myself that I have already run 3 times this week and have 2 more days left in the week to get in my runs. But, there was a time, a few years back, when missing a run would have devastated me.

Race the World

I am definitely not alone when it comes to feeling this need for running. New research from Tufts University shows that the endorphin rush of a “runner’s high,” can also provoke feelings of anxiety and despair when something prevents avid runners from getting in their daily running fix.

I know this feeling all too well. A few years ago, when I was training for the Chicago marathon, if I would even miss one run or have to shorten my workout I became very upset. When I look back at that time, I could have been addicted to running – and not in a good way.

After doing some research, I learned that there are definite signs of running or exercise addiction, including:

  • Missing important obligations (including work) to run
  • Giving up interests, like friends, to run more
  • Feeling depressed or irritable if you can’t run or workout
  • Running through illness or injury
  • And more

Jen-grass cropped

I think, at one point, I had the majority of these telltale signs. Thankfully, something happened that woke me up from my addiction – I became completely burnt out from running and decided to scale back my workouts. I also took up cross-training in the form of yoga. Both of these changes helped me tremendously, mentally and physically.  I am much more mellow about running now. If I miss a run, I may get a little irritated, but I know that there’s always tomorrow.

If you think you might be addicted to running or exercise, try slowing things down a bit by reducing the length of your runs or the number of times you run per week. Or, talk to a health-care professional, a personal trainer, or even a trusted friend about your potential addiction. Talking things out, might actually help you to find the root of your fixation and help you change your addictive attitude about running.