Commitment is a good thing. Obsession can even be helpful. Addiction is not, because then you are no longer in control. What we really need to succeed is clarity. Clarity about what motivates us, about the goals we have and how that enhances our lives.
- You continue to run on an injury. Delusional thinking is a sure sign of a problem. Believing an injury will magically ‘come right’ fits neatly into that category. Ignoring expert advice and the signals from your own body is by definition unhealthy. This applies even if you are think you are just about to complete a once in a lifetime challenge.
- You consistently use drugs or artificial supports to run. Popping painkillers before running is like getting into a race car and putting tape all over the warning lights. It’s not solving any problems and just setting yourself up for more. Ditto if you are regularly running with tape or straps on your body. The tape just says “I am injured and running anyway - I can’t be bothered giving my body the time and effort to recover.”
- You get angry if you don’t get to run. Your running is entirely your responsibility. You have to be clear about your motivations with loved ones to make a sensible space for it. You have to prioritise it and plan accordingly. If it’s not working, fix it. Any anger or frustration around it is your failure to blend it into your lifestyle. Deal with that, then deal with others calmly and consistently to make it happen.
- You run to other people’s agenda. Sharing goals and training can be helpful, but blindly following another runner’s schedule is not a good sign. We are all different, so it’s highly likely that by doing that you will be operating above or below your own capacity. This also shoves the motivation off onto them - if they don’t run neither will you.
- You buy running stuff you never use. One of the greatest joys of running is that there need be very little shopping involved. You wouldn’t know this from the advertisers and running shops. Gadgets, magazines and new running clothes can all assist with motivation. But the focus should be on actually getting out there and doing it. Buying stuff you don’t use demonstrates a lack of clarity and waste of resources. It might also mean you are daydreaming instead of living the dream.
- You give up family time or sleep to run. Your kids don’t need an old box full of medals, they need you, and your body needs sleep. Cutting into these should prompt the question - am I running for my life, or from it?
All these are also signs that you have a way to going in learning how to live like a runner. Getting your life and running in alignment will improve both of them.
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