May 07 2019, - by Andrea Ross
It used to be the protocol that when you found out you were pregnant, you were basically wrapped in bubble wrap and told not to move. Now, apart from the eating (and the obvious drinking) restrictions, the advice generally now is to stay as active as possible – within reason*. Why has the advice changed? Well, as with most of our medical advice from years ago our knowledge of everything has evolved (Hinman et al 2015). Remember when we used to put everyone on bed rest when there was something wrong with them? Now, they want you to move as much as possible. Research has told us that activity and fitness can help with most problems from depression to back pain (Stanton & Reaburn, 2014; Vanti et al 2017), so it's no surprise that the advice has changed for pregnancy too. ..READ MORE
Mar 26 2019, - by Andrea Ross
It's easy to make silly mistakes when you're training for a marathon, such as over-training, but when it comes to your kit make sure you make the right choices. It sounds like a simple thing, pick of a t-shirt, shorts, and a pair of shoes. Boom you're done. But there's a little bit more to it that than. We asked Ken Hoye, our resident sports scientist and veteran runner of all race distances, his thoughts on running kit and what to do. ..READ MORE
Mar 01 2018, - by Andrea Ross
Anna Boniface is one of Run3D's Sponsored Elite Athletes. She has been on quite the journey in the past year, from winning the non elite womens race at the London Marathon to developing an injury in October. Being an athlete isn't always easy, espeically when we get knocked down with an injury. Anna tells us more... ..READ MORE
Oct 26 2017, - by Andrea Ross
Sometimes it might feel like running injures come out of nowhere... ..READ MORE
Aug 03 2017, - by Andrea Ross
Why do some runners get knee pain, and others calf, hip, or ankle pain? Some people get multiple areas of injuries, others none at all. Whats the deal? What determines what kind of injuries you get from running? ..READ MORE
Jul 03 2017, - by Andrea Ross
Ultramarathons are a completely different to your normal running races. For starters, most of them tend to be on trails - and in this instance, in the Lake District, which is notoriously very hilly. They are also very far, a distance which is longer than a marathon, but thats really the only agreed upon definition. ..READ MORE
Jun 01 2017, - by Andrea Ross
Everyone wants a quick fix, especially runners, because all we want to do is run. Is that too much to ask!? Runners will keep going unless stopped by an injury. At which point the solution is typically to rest for a period of time, or expect a physiotherapist to fix you, instantly of course - like magic. That's how it works, right? ..READ MORE
Mar 09 2017, - by Andrea Ross
You have to have a little crazy in you to endure what a runner puts themselves through for 'fun' - but that's not exactly what we mean by marathon madness. Marathons happen regularly throughout the year across the world. But the 'big ones', both internationally and in the UK, spike up at two peak times; spring & autumn. In England, the most prestigious race of the year is the London Marathon, taking place at the end of April. ..READ MORE
Jan 27 2017, - by Andrea Ross
Is your running cadence important? Is running technique important? Shouldn’t you just do what you naturally do and just run? I suppose the answer to these questions will depend on what you are trying to achieve as well as other very individual factors, such as your injury risk and your anatomical structure. Some of us are purely built better for running - just like some are built for rugby or gymnastics. Running is no different. It is still a sport, and a very injury prone one at that, whether you want to believe it or not. ..READ MORE
Jan 13 2017, - by Andrea Ross
Is it possible to be addicted to something that is considered to be good for you? When you think of addiction - drugs and smoking come to mind. Believe
it or not, scientists have reported that running could be as addictive as heroin. Surely though, running is a positive addiction then? Remember
that saying – “too much of a good thing is bad for you”… Well, they meant it.
The (slightly blurred) definition of a running addiction is “continuing to run even to the detriment of an individual’s social life, work, and even health ( Chan & Grossman, 1988)”. Another commonly used term in research is “Exercise Dependent”, which is a condition in which moderate to vigorous physical activity becomes a compulsive behaviour. It’s considered to be a cluster of cognitive, behavioural and psychological symptoms (Hausenblas & Symons Downs, 2002).
But running is good for you, right?
Running has both positive psychological and physiological correlations. It has been shown to influence and improve body image, weight control, self-esteem, anxiety, and reducing and providing a coping mechanism for stress ( Chan & Grossman, 1988).
What happens if you take it away then…
Researchers have suggested that runners rely on physical activity as a primary mechanism to cope with stress. Therefore, all those positive associations are lost and the ability maintain the psychological and physiological benefits of running are reduced – often resulting in symptoms of withdrawal and other emotional distress. A Runners World article (2015) described running withdrawal to be associated with; low mood, depression, increase in anxiety and stress, lack of control of exercise habits, feeling of a need to exercise to fix problems, and so on.
A study in 1988 by Chan & Grossman compared the psychological and emotional effects of running in a group of ‘consistent’ runners and a group of runners prevented from running due to injury. Their findings reflected recent research and stated that although “ running provides many benefits, running loss observed after a running related injury can result in psychological distress and negative affective experience for a runner - fuelling their deprivation of the activity” ( Chan & Grossman, 1988). Sound familiar?
Why is running addictive?
Ever heard of a “runners high”? It is described as a feeling of euphoria after a run and has been ascribed to the beta endorphin activity in the brain – similar to how morphine acts – and may cause dependence. For this physiological response to occur, exercise needs to be performed at 60% of an individual’s Vo2max and for a minimum of 3 minutes. Other physiological theories include lowering basal heart rate, thermogenic regulation hypothesis, and catecholamine hypothesis ( Berczik, K. et al 2012).
Whats the big deal then. You’ve just told me running is good for you…
Running is so much more popular now than it used to be. Perhaps as a result of social media and access to friends training logs, like Strava and map my run, you are much more likely to praise someone for a 20 mile run than to ask them if they need help. It isn’t seen as a genuine addiction and in fact, especially in running communities like clubs and you social groups, it is considered socially acceptable to run – even for extreme cases. Berciz et al (2012) stated that because running has a positive association with healthy living – we consider it to be a normal activity – whereas someone who sits on the couch and plays video games is considered ‘abnormal’ due to its negative relationship.
Go on, why is it so bad then?
According to a Runners World magazine, there is a fine line between being a dedicated athlete and being addicted to running. But it’s starting to be more recognised as a legitimate problem.
Scientists and doctors have noted that physically you could be causing yourself more harm than you think. There is of course the high risk of injury with the increase in load, exhaustion, and even cardiac damage. And then, likely even more so, there is the psychological problems of depression, withdrawal, reduced self-esteem, and lack of stress management. If running is your only coping mechanism and you become injured, what happens then? You’re likely going to experience a psychological impact from not running - or if you really are extreme you will run through it and cause yourself more harm than good.
How do you know if you’re addicted?
This is the tricky part – and likely another reason why we struggle to see it as an actual addiction problem. However if you rely solely on running to reduce stress, feel like you aren’t running enough – despite your high mileage and daily runs, feel like you’re letting yourself or others down if you miss a day of training, missing work or social events to exercise - you might be addicted.
If you’ve ever been injured before, and I can admit here that I definitely experience this, then you can probably relate. What to do about it? The best thing is probably start to re think your training plan and make sure you are giving yourself enough rest to start with. Another way to manage will be to come up with other coping strategies, so that in the likely event that you do get injured because of the excessive training, you don’t fall off the wagon.
*Please note: We are not sports psychologists and information on this article has used running related research as sources*
Chan, C., & Grossman, H., 1988. Psychological effects of running loss on consistent runners, Perceptual and Motor Skills, Vol. 66, pp. 875-883.
Champan, L., De. Castro, J., 1990, Running Addiction: measurement and associated psychological characteristics, The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 283 – 290.
Hausenblas, H, & Symons Downs, D., 2002, How much is too much? The development and validation of the exercise dependent scale, Psychology and Health, Vol. 17, No.4, pp. 387 – 404.
Berczik, K., Szabo, A., Griffiths, M., Kurimay, T., Bernadette, K., Urban, R. et al. 2012, Exercise addiction: symptoms, Diagnosis, Epidemiology, and Etiology, Substance Use & Misuse, Vol. 47. No. 4, pp. 403-4:17.
Runners world article: Are you addicted to Running? April 14th 2015 by Nicole Radziszewski
- Can You Run Through Pregnancy?
- Time to Taper - by Ken Hoye
- Marathon Kit List - How to Prepare for the 'Big Day'
- Injured Training for a Marathon - What to do?
- A Physio's Guide To A Spring Marathon - by Anna Boniface
- The Reaper Within - by Andrew Cohen-Wray
- Against The Elements: by Anna Boniface
- Slow Down, Don't Stop
- Stop The Trots - The Truth About Runs and Runs: by Alice Hector
- All About Ken
- Running Nutrition Q&A
- Aqua Jogging - Saviour To An Injured Runner
- Running for Wales
- Lloyd Kempson Q&A
- A Runners Review of the London Marathon 2018
- Running With A Cold
- Women's Running History
- Injuries Can Be An Opportunity - Anna Boniface on her recovery from injury
- Top Tips for Running in the Snow
- Running Recovery
- Run for your Heart
- When Is The Best Time To Have 3D Gait Analysis?
- Your Running Recipe
- Marathon Motivation
- Buggy Running
- Yoga For Runners
- You aren't still using 2D gait analysis...are you?
- Usain Bolt - How does he run so fast?
- Why Do Runners Get Injured?
- How Run3D Will Make You A Better and Faster Runner
- How often should you replace your running shoes?
- Ultramarathons - Its not just about the ups, but the downs too
- Run3D's Q&A with Anna Boniface
- Running Biomechanics - Simplified
- Strength Training For Long Distance Runners
- Running In The Heat - How To Stay Cool
- Can Running Lead to Osteoarthritis?
- Marathon Madness
- Running Cadence
- Addicted To Running