The Selfish Runner’s Syndrome – Know the Signs

In my quest to read more books this year, I finally picked up a copy of Dr. Tim Noakes, Lore of Running first published in 1985 with the 4th edition re-published in 2003.  A very comprehensive book with 900+ pages and has been referred to as the ‘Distance Runner’s Bible’.  


Honestly, I don’t plan to read every page of this book but have delved into several chapters I found informative and useful mostly from the Training Basics Section.  In Chapter 5, Developing a Training Foundation, Dr. Noakes  provides a 14-step plan of practical training advice for beginner runners.  I was mostly intrigued and somewhat amused by the final step, STEP 14:  BEWARE OF THE SELFISH RUNNER’S SYNDROME

How do you know if you have the Selfish Runner’s Syndrome?  If you answer YES to most of these questions, then consider yourself a Selfish Runner! 🙂

1.  Do you commit yourself to serious running every year and spend most of the year in considerable training mode?

2.  Do you “allow running to affect the way you carry out your household responsibilities”?

3.  Does your running conflict with the family’s plan for recreation on the weekends?

4.  Do you complain of being tired all the time and insist on going home early when out on a date?

5.  Do you talk about running all the time?

The questions above were actually the advice written in the book to minimize conflict with your family when it comes to your commitment with running. I thought it would be more interesting to put them in a different context to describe the syndrome. One advice did strike me as somewhat odd and a little funny:

Be aware of “danger times” – you will know what these are in your household.  At these times, be at your most attentive, and at all costs, do not open your mail to see if your running magazines have arrived, discuss running, or worst of all, go out for a run.

I’m not exactly sure what would be considered as ‘danger times’ in my household.  Who would go through their mail in the middle of an argument to look for running magazines? Although, I can see going out for a run can be a great way to deal with frustrations.

As much as I like to run, I don’t exhibit signs of the Selfish Runner Syndrome.  It’s why I decided to take a break from marathons this year as training takes up a lot of time and Saturday long runs steals most of my energy with less desire to do anything else later in the day that affects time with family.  In the end, it’s a matter of finding the right balance.

Do these signs point to you or someone you know?  Has running caused any conflicts at home?

I am linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar  at Mar on the Run and Cynthia  at You Signed up for What- the DC Trifecta ladies for their Friday Five.  It’s Free Friday this month so it’s open to any topic.