As a fellow runner, I can appreciate the statement “I use running as my therapy.” I
truly know what it means to have the troubles of the world fade away as the miles
tick upward. I know the escape that running provides and the outlet for frustration
and stress that it can become. Many times throughout my life I have used running as
a tool for helping me to de-stress, solve problems, cope with loss, and become more
centered. However, I can also fully appreciate the void that running can leave when
we are unable to perform this therapeutic activity.
As a physical therapist, I often hear similar statements from patients regarding
running as therapy. “It helps me to get through life and to be who I am”, they say.
“I’m not myself when I can’t run. I’m much less happy and agreeable to be around
when I’m not running or training.” This goes for triathletes, too, in case you were
wondering. These statements are common and almost every patient I see says this
at one point or another.
But, there’s a problem.
What happens when you can’t run? Or when you can’t ride or swim? What then?
How do you manage stress? Is your problem-solving or coping strategy now lost?
How can you still be the agreeable person your friends and family rely on? My point
in asking these questions is not to guilt you about your use of running or coping
strategies. Remember, I am also a runner and confess that I have also used these
The sad reality of relying upon running or training as therapy is that it can be taken
away in an instant. Injury can happen and remove this previously rock-solid