Monday, 2 May 2011

Is running addictive?

This morning I went for a run before breakfast, nothing very unusual.  I decided to go for an easy pace run over a short distance, maybe 3 or 4 miles and while I was on the return leg, a thought occurred to me: is running an addiction for me?  I know David Cameron runs a bit but I don't suppose he has the time to be addicted to running.  I've previously commented on Conservative heavyweight Eric Pickles, perhaps an ideal candidate for a gentle jog.  Gordon Brown, while he was Prime Minister, had been photographed jogging around Westminster and again, I don't suppose he was anywhere near a candidate for being addicted.

You see, this is the first time I've been running for exactly a week and although I've had a few nice bike rides in between, I've missed running.  So much so I could feel those missing endorphins giving me that "feel good" feeling which continued for a while after I was back.  In fact even now, a couple of hours later, I can still feel some of that lovely "high".  I really missed running.

This prompted me to think back on what has driven me out on a cold, wet morning in the past feeling stiff and miserable, only to find myself coming back and hour later feeling energised and on top of the world.  Sometimes I have been sitting at my desk at work, reading and deleting emails on autopilot while I also think of where I'll run tonight.  Perhaps while driving home I'll see some runners training together and for a fleeting moment wish I could leap out of the car and join them.

I remember some really great runs, including some races, where I've pushed myself so hard and got (for me) a pleasing time and felt totally enthralled by the whole experience.  As I run around the course I'm thinking this has to be the way, allied to a healthy lifestyle with the right food and maintaining the right weight and physique.  Other times I remember those runs when I've been alone which have turned out to be so inspiring times.  All this helps me handle life's little pressures.

So I reckon running can addictive and I've experienced that.  The flip side includes some of those withdrawal symptoms.  Yes, these are real.  Although we all tend to think about addictions as being bad news, this is a risk I'm willing to continue taking as I believe running has more benefits on balance, than not running and going back to that old sedentary, stressed out and over weight lifestyle I used to have until 2008.  That's just for me, I cannot advocate this is appropriate for everyone and I can only speak for myself on this.

I've just done a Google search and there are a handful of other articles around that are worth reading through:

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