Best of Inside Dirt 2013 - Page 9
9. Trail Running and Addiction: Staying mindful to keep things in the proper perspective
By Ben Luedke
I’m a psychotherapist who works with people struggling with addiction, and I’m also a long-distance trail runner. I’m reluctant to apply a clinical word like addiction to a generally healthy pursuit like trail running. Trail runners, like all runners, are often healthy, happy, functional and well-respected people. That being said, any activity can lead to addiction if that activity results in a feeling of elevated affect. In other words, if I get a pleasurable feeling from participating in an activity, I’m more likely to repeat that behavior and could become "addicted" to the feeling it provides. If I continue with that activity despite negative effects on my life and the lives of those I love, an unhealthy addiction has developed.