Friday, 23 November 2012

More on Type A Personality

I blogged about the term Type A personality in October 2010 (click here) in which I gave a few clues to the traits of a Type A personality person and who runs.  there was nothing particularly informed about that, just mere suggestions.  More recently I noticed Blogger Stats were indicating this post became popular for a while but I think it needs expanding on a little more.  

What is a Type A personality?

To be honest, I don't think their description reads well, especially as it was suggested that applied to me!  In general Type A people are workaholics, never satisfied, control freaks, irritable, hard to work with and tend to be poor at expressing their emotions (and 'bottle' them up instead).  It has also been said Type A's are more likely to have heart disease, high blood pressure and suffer stress badly.  

I was thinking that a health professional's suggestion that I was Type A  and my new-found competitive streak it all fitted together.  But it doesn't.

I still think Type A personalities can be great runners, probably amongst the best, if not the best.  They have to be single minded and relentless in their pursuit of being the best, possibly the world's best.  However, what is the point of that if the price they pay is high, or too high?  Does it matter?  Yes, of course it does.

I look at some of my former colleagues and mentally do some Type A spotting.  Not many around in the work place but those that are have done well but don't last long.  Those that I have known have never or seldom even made it to retirement  

And Type B?

These are the opposite.  More laid-back and easy going.  More sensitive and un-hurried, perhaps lacking drive and ambition.  More likely to enjoy things in life but the important thing is type B's can still, in my view, succeed.  Perhaps achieving success does also come at a price as it does for Type As.  And yet the price, the cost, is different.

And for Runners?  Type A or Type B personalities?

It goes without saying, most people will be a mixture of Type A and B together and this may shape their personality.  Some will be a little more Type A, or perhaps a little more Type B.  Type A's could be those ruthless athletes who are so driven they will succeed.  They'll be pushing and pushing themselves to win the race and hating themselves if they're beaten.  Type B's might be more of the fun run plodders, those that run as a socialble activity with friends where the purpose is different.

Where are you?

Having a rigid Type A or B choice may not be helpful.  Indeed psychologists have questioned the original thinking behind the traits that lead to the definition.  Perhaps nowadays it is better to have a softer, more gradual approach.  Why not have a sliding scale instead from, say, 0 for Type A to 10 for Type B and where would you put yourself?

Why not leave a comment?

Please leave a comment - why not say how you rate yourself on my 0 - 10 scale.  Please outline what kind of a runner you are (fun run jogger to hard core iron man).  Thanks in advance!


  1. Doug, on your scale I'm a 3 but I don't trample on other people. Nice post by the way.

  2. I'm a jogger and easy going so therefore 3 as well