You may have noticed that I did not say that it was a "good" thing. I know there are people out there who think that all running is always good all the time. However, running brings its own set of side effects that could be perceived as "negative" from many points of view. But first, Let us define an addiction.
But what about exercise? Specifically running. Since when would it be "bad" to get off the couch and run a few laps around a track? Or even a couple of miles on a treadmill? Society wants everyone to stay healthy, right? Deep down, I think most people would rather have that sexy sleek body that is the product of such activity. But we are talking about an addiction here. Something slightly more than a "healthy habit".
Even the most demonized drug had its initial positive uses. Most of the hard drugs out there started out as medicine used to treat specific ailments; controlling pain or depression. However, it is their abuse and over-use that causes problems. Running is similar in that it has many positive effects on your body. You gain muscle endurance, stronger bones, stronger heart, and better cardiovascular strength. You increase your metabolism, decrease your risk of obesity and diabetes, and release natural Dopamine that helps fight off depression. Sounds pretty good so far...
But the side effects of running can be harmful as well. The obvious are the minor injuries that will inevitably happen along the way. Twisted ankles, blisters, and calluses are the first signs, followed by more advanced runner's knee, and plantar fasciitis for later stages. These are all ailments that happen when persistent running occurs. Trail runners have been known to develop scratches on their arms and legs. Know the signs! Know the causes!
Thankfully, there is hope. Runners need support from able bodied staff and pacers. They need to be reminded about the "important things" in life. And the best way to show them is through race photos and finisher pictures. Cataloging their progress with Garmin Entries and blog postings will help them visualize their journey to recovery.
So the next time a small child asks, "Mommy, Mommy, where is Daddy?" You won't have to explain the complexities of a trail or the distances of a run. Or try to explain to a child the reasons why runners run to begin with. Instead, you can roll down the car window and point at him as he is passing mile 20 running along the road. "He is right there, dear."