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Beware of running addiction

Posted October 20

Arianne Brown writes that although running has many positive effects, it can also have negative ones if it becomes an addiction. (Deseret Photo)

It was late one afternoon, and I had just finished a long day that consisted of taking care of seven children and house-training a puppy, among other momlike responsibilities. I was completely worn out, the day was far from over, and I had yet to get out for a run.

Just then, I got a text from a good friend of mine saying that she was just about to head out for a 6-mile run on some nearby dirt trails. Her text was my ticket away from the chaos that was happening around me, and I wanted so badly to go with her.

Right as I was about to ask my husband if I could go, his face said it all: Now was not the time. I would need to forgo my chance to go for a run so that I could take care of more pressing matters.

I’m embarrassed to say that I began to feel resentful toward my husband and family because I couldn’t go. I felt myself getting aggravated. I was antsy and even felt annoyed at certain family members as I sat on the couch, pouting about my situation.

It was then when I realized that I needed to take a step back and refocus my priorities.

For many runners, myself included, running can become an addiction. The natural endorphins that are produced over the course of many miles create a feeling that is difficult to describe. The ability to experience freedom from worries, even for just a short amount of time, brings a calm to an all-too-often stressful life.

Unlike drugs, however, running does not have the obvious health risks, nor is it illegal to go on an all night running binge or operate machinery after having experienced an epic runner’s high.

Even so, there are many things about running that can cause adverse effects, namely in your personal, professional and even spiritual life when taken to an extreme.

I have seen this in many runners.

There are those who, rather than dealing with hard life circumstances, will “self-medicate” with a long run. There are many who will stop at nothing to get that daily run in, even if it means neglecting responsibilities.

In extreme cases, I have come across runners who go into huge amounts of financial debt to satisfy their need to have all the best running gear and participate in countless races.

Unfortunately, in many of these instances, your family and professional life take a back seat, and what was once a healthy intention has spiraled into something destructive.

The good news is to overcome your running addiction, you don’t need detox or rehabilitation; all you need is a refocus in priorities.

Running is a good thing that is here to keep you healthy both physically and mentally. It helps you to be a better person and to appreciate the world around you as you experience miles and miles of remarkable terrain and landscapes.

Running is not meant to ruin relationships, and it is not something that should ever be a cause of contention.

If you find yourself having an unhealthy addiction with running, it may just be time to stop, or at the very least, take a break from, so that it can become good once again.

Arianne Brown is a mother of seven young children, and she loves hearing and sharing stories. For more of her writings, search “A Mother’s Write” on Facebook. She can be contacted at ariannebrown1@gmail.com. Twitter: A_Mothers_Write

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