Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beware: "Addicts On The Run"

Today 24Feb09, I came across a very interesting article featured by Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) in its Lifestyle and Wellness Section written by MITCH FELIPE with a title “How to prevent injuries among runners”.

The end intention of the article is on prevention of injuries by runners. However, the author MITCH FELIPE got my full attention on two (2) subtitles within the article which I would like to quote herewith-

Running Addiction
Running addiction has been defined in the book “Psychology of Running” as “a psychological and/or physiological addiction to regular running that is characterized by withdrawal symptoms after 24 to 36 hours without running.”

According to the book “Exercise Psychology” by Joe Willis and Linda Campbell, hardcore running addicts can still engage in this activity despite tendonitis, stress fractures and crippling injuries.

In a study about negative addiction on running published in The Physician and Sport Medicine journal, addicted runners believe they cannot live without running daily. If it is missed, withdrawal symptoms will be experienced, such as anxiety, guilty, irritability, tension, discomfort, lack of appetite, sleeplessness and headaches.When a running addict or a very active person suddenly discontinues his or her active lifestyle because of a serious injury, one may experience a condition called “athlete’s neurosis,” where one suffers from neurotic disorders such as anxiety and reactive depression.

Levels of running involvement
Let’s take a look at the four levels of running involvement (also published in the book “Psychology of Running”) and things that are detrimental to your health and life:

Type I: Running as the most important commitment: Runs 40 miles (64 km) or more each week, runs intervals, keeps a log, races at least monthly, reads running literature weekly and more than 50 percent of friends are runners.

Type II: Running as a crucial commitment: Runs 11 to 40 miles (17.6 to 60 km) a week, runs intervals, doesn’t taper during winter or bad weather, races occasionally, maintains a log, reads less than weekly and fewer than 50 percent of friends are runners.

Type III: Running as a hobby: Runs 11 to 40 miles (17.6 to 60 km) a week but doesn’t exhibit many of the associated behaviours, such as racing frequently, keeping a log or running intervals.

Type IV: The occasional runner: Usually runs less than twice a week, runs less than 11 miles (17.6 km) per week and tapers in winter and bad weather.

I will at this stage and for the meantime cut short on the article to find as to which category do I belong. Without any doubt or difficulty to evaluate my condition, I diagnose myself as “Type I Running Addict” What level do you belong to? Is my condition bad or good?The author then presented three sub-topics which could provide answer to the question above. I again quote herewith;

Recognize your level of commitment
Running coaches and athletes can sustain the type I level of commitment mentioned above because of their experience and body type. It has also been their way of life and source of income. But if you are just a regular exerciser and a beginner in running, be realistic in setting your target mileage per week to avoid serious problem.

You might have heard about an athlete who regularly wins during races and does more than 80 km a week. Doing the same thing in order to win a race or improve running time might result in knee injuries which will terminate your goals.

Consider your goals and fitness
Before joining a full marathon, plan the appropriate number of miles per week suited for your endurance, speed, body structure and lifestyle. It should be combined with sufficient recovery, cross-training activities, proper hydration and diet.

It’s safe to join races once a month especially if you are running for less than a year.

Ask help from professionals
Consult a physician if condition can sustain this type of activity. If you are overweight, consult weight loss professionals. Attend running clinics with a credible team who will educate you on the basics of running, programming and nutrition.

Email the author at mitchfelipe@gmail.com

Having diagnosed ourselves what then will be our prognosis? “A Running Addict who refuse rehabilitation” or "A running Addict on denial stage"?

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