Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's Running, Not Heroin

It's taper week at my house. Alternative titles for the phrase "taper week" can include:
-Eat everything you can see week
-Bitch and complain week
-Freak out about running 50k week
-Restless Leg Syndrome Week

I totally understand the point of tapering, especially leading up to a longer race like a 50k. It's good for your muscles, you store up some extra glycogen, you stay hydrated, etc. But damn it, I'm antsy and I just want to get out there and run this already:
What causes anxiety for me? Big races. What relieves anxiety? Running. What can't I do before a big race? (Do you see where I'm going with this?)

I searched online for some variation of "how to taper without being a bitch" and discovered way more responses for methadone than I did for running. Oh. Maybe I should reevaluate my "problems," huh?

It got me thinking, though. Am I addicted to running? Can someone even BE addicted to running?


I could go a day without running, but I don't like it. Two days? Forget about it. 
A few miles used to be enough, but now nothing under 5 miles gives me the same feeling. 
I almost feel relieved after a good run. 
Without running, I get grumpy and irritable.
Tim is clearly my enabler. "Baby, just go for a run already!"
OD'ing is common....and leads to overuse injuries. 
I'm a pusher who wants everyone else to start running too.

I did a little research, and I think it's important to note that while this post might be a little tongue-in-cheek, (I have a runner's "high", better not report me to the cops! Tee-hee!) running addictions are real. Here's an interesting article from the NY Times about exercise addiction.

So, what's your take? Is running a real addiction? If it is, is it bad? Would you consider yourself addicted to running or exercise in general?
If I say no, does that mean I'm in denial? Honestly, I can't imagine not being able to run. Even when injured, I feel the need to do SOMETHING to get sweaty and keep active. Do I think exercise addictions are bad? Yes, they can be. Running 20 miles a day to get a "runner's high" doesn't sound all that healthy in the long run.

Also - help me out. What do you do when tapering?
This week I am scheduled for two different three mile runs and three days of rest. Blargh. I need new non-physical hobbies.


  1. Another blogger I know does have an addiction to running, seems to stem from an eating disorder. I don't think that just enjoying running a lot makes someone an addict though.

    I usually busy myself with house projects while I'm tapering. It is nice because just before the taper, I'm so tired that housework is neglected and it is a huge mess.

  2. I don't like tapering, so I don't really do it. I'll shorten my runs, but I'm not going to run just 3 miles and call it a day. Plus 3 days of rest is a recipe for stiffness, 1-2 days is my magic number.

    I'll take recovery seriously and carb load really well, but serious tapers? No thanks.

  3. I really love running, but can love it a little too much. This summer I went through a horrible time in my life, and running was how I coped with everything. The problem was that the line between coping and loving it because blurry, and I overtrained like a mofo (sorry...lol). I realized that though, and now I have to force myself to my rest days so I don't get injured. I just find something else to do during those rest days. But we'll see how I handle tapering when I get closer to running my first marathon! :)

  4. I think I'm a bogus runner because I find tapering to be all sorts of badass. PS: HOW DID I MISS THAT YOU SIGNED UP A 50k!?

  5. Running is heroin. Yes. Taper is going to kill me too. Sometimes I mix it up and do yoga or bike. Low impact but at least doing something! Best to you and the 50K!!!

  6. It truly is an addiction. I haven't ran hardly at all in 3 weeks and am becoming CRAZY.

  7. hah! love that poster.... my drug of choice!

    You are gonna be so great at 50k I just know it!

  8. I cannot believe that it is already time for the Stump Jump. I've done the 11 Miler twice. It was tough, but rewarding! You are one bad mama jamma to take on that 50K!!! I hope you have an awesome run!!!!

  9. For taper, i usually just take an extra rest day, but I run like 5 miles on the other days, so my mileage is low, but not so low that my legs don't work come race day.

  10. I miss running so much! I seriously feel like I have been injured FOREVER, not just since July. I have only been able to run about 2.5 miles lately. The Tiger Tail is totally helping my recovery though! I love it! I even posted about it today. I totally get what you are saying about how running less than 5 miles is totally not even worth it. Have fun this week though---do something indulgent!

  11. oh yes i think you can be addicted to running for sure. i hate tapering week, it is happening to me right now for my half marathon on sunday. unfortunately was more of a forced taper, i got sick and didn't run monday and yesterday today back at it but now i am freaked out i am not prepared enough for sunday

  12. I do think it is an addiction, but a super healthy one with lots of great benefits! Enjoy your taper! I hate going more than three days with no running, makes me feel antsy and crazy!

  13. yes for addiction...because when we dont do it..it does affect how we feel and not in a good way..well for me anyway

    taper...I dislike it...a lot
    I loose my mind/

    it is the weeks when my house is at it's cleanest!!!! :)

  14. I think the same thing happens to me! I have felt blah all week and got an eye twitch today and I blame it all on the fact that I haven't run since Saturday...but that all changes tomorrow! Back in the sack!

  15. Sorry that taper week isn't going so great but Sunday will be here before you know it!

  16. Based on some blogs I read, YES running is a legit addiction! I've posted my thoughts on this before, I love running and hate taking extended time off for sickness injury, but I can't identify with the whole taper madness thing. I usually get really excited because I have so much free time and don't have to stress about how I'm going to fit in grad work/paper grading, etc. I sleep in and love it! I wouldn't want to do a taper style schedule year round, but it always comes after hard training, so it's a much needed break for me.

  17. Only a few more days of this anxiety and we'll both feel better! ;) I've been climbing the walls all freakin' week too. Gah! Good luck this weekend!!! :)

  18. Running can totally be an addiction!! I consider it a good addiction (in comparison with other things) but it can definitely get extreme in some people. I love it because it makes me feel good, I can challenge myself, beat my times, etc. There is always room for growing and I feed off of that! I think I know when to stop though so I guess that's good?

    When I taper I just eat. A lot.

  19. Running is an addiction! I think taper makes me feel lazy and irritable for sure! The week after is hard too because you want to get back out and run. I usually only wait until Tuesday to go out for a run if my legs allow it!