I recently read a small book called Positive Addiction by William Glasser. Glasser said there are two types of addiction, negative and positive. Negative addiction is harmful to us. It is based on judgment and guilt and the feeling that we are worthless. Positive addiction, on the other hand, strengthens us and increases the quality of our life.
Glasser gives the steps that lead to positive addiction about an activity, including doing the activity alone rather than with groups, and doing it for the pure enjoyment of the activity. If we run with another runner(s), for example, there is a tendency to compete and to judge. If our running partner is faster than we are, we will probably increase our pace to keep up with the other runner, and in so doing convince ourselves that the other runner is better than we are. If we run because we want to lose weight or to be on a school team, we will be in judgment of ourselves. We judge ourselves as being overweight. We judge ourselves as being slower (or faster) than the runners with whom we compete.
Of course, we should run with others and we should run to achieve goals if those are our needs. Competition has its place in our lives, but we need to recognize that by its nature, competition is negative and judgmental.
In addition to running for competition or to achieve other goals, we need to also run for no other reason than the pure enjoyment of running. If we are to be positively addicted to running, we have to accept ourselves for whom we are, without criticism and judgment. We have to learn to love our running and to allow our running to be a positive, strengthening influence in our lives. We can learn to become positively addicted to running, and by so doing achieve a new dimension of satisfaction in our lives! And, we'll probably increase the likelihood of running without injury, because we'll have less stress in our lives.
Actually, becoming addicted to running can be dangerous, because it can cause one to overdo it. I would suggest that we should become addicted to the good feeling of a healthy body, the good feeling of feeling great during and after we run. Running is just one way to have those good feelings. Walking, swimming, biking are also ways of having those good feelings. Become addicted to the result not the "messenger" so to speak. Such addition is positive and has beneficial influences in our lives.