Gotta Have It
Can you get too much of a good thing?
Illustration by Jeremy Collins
All 30-year-old Jenny Moran wanted was to get in better shape. And when she started trail running on a regular basis, that’s what happened. For the first time in her life, she felt in control of her weight. It was, she says, an amazing feeling.
But within a few years, things spiraled out of hand. Moran’s workouts became a fixation, looming large over other activities. At the peak of the obsession, she was even using her runs as a type of purge to “cancel out” whatever she had eaten that day
“Running consumed my thoughts,” Moran, now 42, says. “Every day I sat at work thinking about running. It was like a crazy voice in my head. That’s when I knew something was really wrong.”
Sports psychologists consider Moran’s condition a “running addiction,” an intense obsession that can impact physical health, stress levels, outside responsibilities and more. The problem, however, remains largely undiagnosed, in part because of the healthy image associated with the runner’s lifestyle. If someone is well enough to go out and run every day, how sick can they be?