The 7 Habits of Highly Obsessive Runners

Runners.  Some people say the word with disdain and turn their nose up at the thought. Others say it with a bit of respect and a lot of confusion. (Why would someone run if they don’t have to?) The rest of us accept the word as who we are.  Some of us are more obsessive than others, but we all have obsessive tendencies. Don’t believe me? Read on and decide for yourself.  Are you a Highly Obsessive Runner?

1) Highly Obsessive Runners are borderline hoarders.

(Some of) Jason W’s collection of Asics

While I’ve never seen any of you on that TV show, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before one of us is found out. We find a favorite brand of running shoes, shorts, socks, etc. and for some reason we are sure that they are going to change them. (Oh yea, that’s because it ALWAYS happens!) So, what do we do?  We buy in bulk.  If our favorite shoe is on sale, we buy multiple pairs – even if we already have 3 brand new pairs still in the box. We find a great running shirt and buy one in every color (or maybe we just buy a bunch of the same color.)  We’ll all admit to doing it, but we deny that we are hoarders.  We are simply planning ahead. “I am going to need it eventually!”

My partial collection of running shorts.

2) Highly Obsessive Runners are very methodical when it comes to the hierarchy of their running shoes.

We’ve already established that you own many pairs of running shoes. But, what many people don’t know is that we runners have a specific way of phasing out our running shoes.  While it varies slightly among individuals, it goes something like this:
a) Brand new running shoes – for dry running only. No stepping in mud puddles with these babies!

b) Slightly older brand new running shoes – for rainy days and for alternating with the brand new pair as needed.

c) Old running shoes – relegated to casual wear.  Perfect for walking the dog, going to the grocery store, or heading to the movies.

d) Older running shoes – demoted to the garage for yard work. There are usually several pairs in this pile, as it’s so hard to part with a dependable pair of shoes.

e) Much older running shoes – never worn, but still sitting there just looking at you and you can’t get rid of them yet.  You never know when you might need them.  This pile is quite often the largest pile of all. What happens after this phase is rarely spoken of.

3) Highly Obsessive Runners do not adhere to commonly accepted “expiration dates” when it comes to their favorite gear.

David N finally says goodbye to his much-loved running shoes.

In polite society, when something gets old and ratty it is time to get rid of it.  Going out in public looking like you pulled your clothes out of the shredder is considered bad form.  We runners often get a little too attached to our favorite running items.  That very first race shirt that looks like it fit you when you were 12 and really should be used to clean up a spill, still gets worn way too often. Your significant other and children pretend not to know you when you’re sporting that with pride. When someone tells you it’s time to get rid of your favorite item, listen to them. Sort of.  You don’t actually have to get rid of it. But, go ahead and take it out of the line up of things you wear in public. Please! It’s embarrassing!

4) Highly Obsessive Runners lose all sense of modesty post-run.

We just finished our run and we’re headed to get coffee with our running friends. No way are we going to wear those wet clothes to coffee. We’ll be freezing in no time!  Performing the “quick change” out in public is really no big deal to us.  However, to that lady who’s just out innocently walking her dog, it’s quite horrifying to come upon one or more people taking off their shirts (or more) for all to see in 30 degree temperatures. Imagine the thoughts running through her head!  If she doesn’t immediately call 9-1-1, consider yourself lucky.

5) Highly Obsessive Runners are always looking for new converts.

We can’t help it. We love running and we want the whole world to join us! If we are with other runners we talk running. If we are with non-runners we start throwing out the “pick-up lines.” We say things like:

*If I can run, anyone can!

*It’s just 3 miles!

*Just start slow. . .

*You don’t need anything to do it. Just a pair of running shoes. It’s the only free sport out there. (Seriously? Are you really using that line?  How much have you spent on your “free sport” lately?)

If you have never used any of these phrases, you probably don’t have any non-running friends anymore. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. You decide.

6) Highly Obsessive Runners are nostalgic.

We don’t just keep our awards, medals, and shirts.  We even keep our race bibs.  Most of us aren’t really sure what to do with them, but we keep adding to our pile race after race thinking, “Someday, I’ll figure out some really cool way to display these.”  A few of you have come up with some pretty cool stuff.  The rest of us are still collecting and contemplating or trying (and most likely failing) to convince our significant other that it would look really cool to display these.

My collection of race bibs – temporarily out of their shoe box.

7) Highly Obsessive Runners are do-ers!

Yes, we realize the non-runners think we’ve lost our marbles and we sometimes agree.  We love our sport, but we’re not only about running and races.  Nope. We want to know what’s happening AFTERWARDS! Coffee? Breakfast? Beer? Lunch? Kayaking? Playing on the monkey bars? Whatever! We’re in! We want to do stuff.  Active stuff. If someone suggests a hike after a 20 mile training run, we’re there.  It doesn’t matter so much what we’re doing, as long as we are doing something. For runners, doing equals fun.

Shaun H having a little post-race fun.




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