43 signs you love running a bit too much

Illustration by Adam Nickel

1. You descend into a deep and impenetrable existential crisis when you finish a marathon in 3:30:01.

2. Your physio feels the need to call security shortly after delivering the news that you ‘should probably take a few weeks off running.'

3. Your partner has to politely ask you to rationalise your energy gel/protein powder/running bottle collection so that they can squeeze a few morsels of actual food into the kitchen cupboards. Again.

4. You run past your house, down the road and back again to turn 9.9 miles into 10. Obviously.

5. You have been known to ‘gently shepherd’ small children/the elderly out of the way when their intolerable zigzag pavement dawdling threatens to ruin your splits.

6. As a result of such incidents you recently started a petition for the creation of dedicated running lanes on all pavements. And roads, too.

7. When out injured for a few weeks, you become envious when you see people running. You question whether you can live in a world so fundamentally unfair. You’re assailed by dark thoughts about how you’d easily thrash them if you were at full fitness, and indulge in secret fantasies involving sticking pins in the plantar fascia of Asics-clad voodoo dolls.

8. You cannot for the life of you see what is so amusing about the word fartlek. Fart. Lek. Nope, nothing.

9. You can hold forth like a fusion of Michel Roux and Marcus Wareing on the flavour nuances and consistency of all major energy gels.

10. You have begun to genuinely enjoy the taste of some of these.

11. You have to take a few minutes of slow, deep breathing before correcting someone who has jovially remarked, ‘So, I hear you’re a jogger.’

12. You consider walks to be nothing more than running miles lost.

13. Your anxiety dreams used to be about exams you hadn’t revised for; now they’re about turning up to a pre-race zone that has only one toilet.

14. When invited to a social event you check your training grid rather than your diary. (And then let your sister know that you’ll get to the wedding a little late, as you have to finish your long run in the morning. Also, can you shower in the church?)

15. You hoard all your old pairs of running shoes in case you ‘do an adventure race’ or ‘go for a muddy walk’. One day.

16. You know that if you pick up speed to overtake another runner, you have to keep up that pace for the rest of your run to avoid the humiliation of their catching up with you again. You know this, you accept it and yet, as sure as eggs is excellent for stimulating protein synthesis, you overtake.

17. When you read an article about the benefits of barefoot running in snow, you actually consider doing it.

18. Yes, yes, yes, of course you know that rest days are ‘beneficial’, but once a month will do, right? And five miles at eight-min/mile counts as a rest day, doesn’t it?

19. ‘It’s just a little sniffle,’ you confidently self-diagnose when heading out for an 18-miler with full-blown pneumonia.

20. You wince in pain when anyone mispronounces Saucony, Asics, Nike or Hoka One One. What’s wrong? asks the colossal idiot.

21. When the love of your life asks for jewellery for their birthday, you buy him/her the latest Garmin.

22. You’re so terrified that they’re going to change the toebox in the updated version of your favourite running shoe ever that you stalk the internet buying up the world’s last remaining 27 pairs. At any cost.

23. Your children are named Emil, Grete, Edna and Mo.

24. You persist with trying to switch to a forefoot running gait even though your calves hurt so much after each effort that you can’t walk.

25. You run wearing so many supports and bandages that it’s clear even to people who know nothing at all about running that you should not be running. And it also seems plausible that you may have recently emerged from a sarcophagus.

26. At the airport your rummage in your bags but it’s clear you’ve forgotten your passport. On the other hand, you do have your running shoes and three different weights/lengths of running tights for all weather conditions.

27. You know your mile splits from your last three marathons to the second, but you can’t quite pinpoint the dates of your family’s birthdays. Your child’s tears leave you oddly unmoved.

28. Your favourite book is The Lore of Running. Closely followed by Daniels’ Running Formula.

29. You send out your wedding invitations via a Strava notification. (And only to those whom you know from recent form will be able to keep pace with the tempo run from the church to the reception.)

30. When tasked with organising your honeymoon, you snap into action and book a training camp.

31. In fact, you will only consider any holiday destination that is more than 2,400m above sea level.

32. When your friends tell you they did some LSD over the weekend, you congratulate them and ask them how many miles they managed.

33. Sandals and flip-flops have been off limits for the last five summers while your big toenails grow back following spring marathons.

34. You can justify spending £15 on a single pair of socks, but wonder why you should have to.

35. You critique Sylvester Stallone’s running form in the Rocky training montage. And the sight of Tom Cruise ‘running’ in any film makes you laugh.

36. You wear garish running shoes with your jeans in the office, entirely unconcerned that you look like an American middle manager cutting loose at the weekend.

37. When you return from running the Rome Marathon you’re perplexed when people ask you about the marvel that is the Sistine… something or other. Was it ‘apple’?

38. You’re having dinner with friends when someone innocently asks, ‘But isn’t running bad for your knees?’ Without uttering a word, you drop your cutlery, get up and leave. And dinner was at your house.

39. You feel an almost irrepressible urge to inform anyone who overtakes you that you are on your long run and your coach has forbidden you going over eight-min/miles.

40. You see nothing wrong in still wearing your race medal a week after the event took place.

41. You have become so comfortable with the casual expulsion of saliva and/or mucus that you are gearing up to launch a mighty snot rocket when you realise you are wearing a business suit. And you’re in a sales strategy meeting. And everyone is looking at you.

42. You spend more time being intimate with your beloved foam roller than with your partner.

43. Despite the meagre pay, incessant deadlines and increasingly audacious office mice, you work at this magazine. And you enjoy it, too.