I am a runner and I also have O.C.D., no really.

This morning I enjoyed an 8 mile run. It was a nice, easy run, and of course it was on my training schedule, so that’s what I did. I took the day off yesterday because my knee had been bothering me over the weekend but after a day of rest (and icing and rolling), it was fine today. I also wore my new Mizuno Wave Sayonara’s, (and so far I really like them) but I’m not ready to review them just yet.

Mizuno Wave Sayonara

MacGyver went fishing on Sunday because snook season opened for the first time in several years. I took the liberty to come home and watch some home improvement shows which I’m sort of banned from doing. This is due in part to the fact that my ‘honey do’ list went from a list to several pages when I discovered the DIY network and HGTV. Anyway, when the cat’s away…you get the point. So I turned on DIY Network and HGTV simultaneously and quickly turned those honey do pages into a small book.

On Monday, we pressured washed and water sealed our decks and patio. I can now mark off number 4, page 2. Happy, happy, happy.


I can’t help it if I actually like working on my house, it’s not my fault, it’s my O.C.D.

I know a lot of bloggers joke about their O.C.D. and I tend to do that as well, but what you may not know is that I really do have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I think it’s one of the reasons that I love the running community because they seem to be more accepting of my quirky behaviors. There are plenty of runners out there who would understand why it’s so hard for me to end a run at 6:29 or 6:59. I have to end at 7. I can also justify 7:25, 7:50 or 7:75 but it has to be a quarter, a half or a whole. And I prefer whole numbers. See, quirky.

O.C.D. Decision

I also find it necessary to drink 2 cups of coffee every morning before I leave, I can only wear certain socks with certain shoes, I can only run certain routes on certain days, and I have other little rituals as well; but mostly my O.C.D. centers around order. I don’t really do well in chaotic or spontaneous environments.

OCD is an anxiety disorder, in which sufferers perform repetitive behaviors. The most common obsession is fear of dirt or germs, which affects 38 percent of sufferers. The most common compulsion is checking, as in door knobs, lights, curling irons, etc. and this affects 29 percent. I am obsessive over germs and I am a little bit of a checker.

My obsessions/compulsions include ridiculous and excessive concern with order or symmetry, worrying over physical symptoms, and repeated house cleaning. Some friends even joke that my broom is my best friend and some days, I feel like it is. O.C.D. sufferers tend to isolate themselves….hello runner!

It’s not as uncommon as some might think. Many people suffer from O.C.D. including David Beckham, who rumor has it, insists that soda cans in the fridge are lined up, and actress Megan Fox, who cannot use public toilets or restaurant cutlery for fear of them being contaminated. There is a screening quiz here if you have ever wondered if it’s likely that you have O.C.D.

I started noticing a trend among some of the blogs that I read about a year ago. It may just be me, but I wonder just how common O.C.D. is in runners? I realize that what a lot of people write is tongue-in-cheek, but still, it seems a bit prevalent in this community.

O.C,D Test

Out of curiosity, I googled “OCD and Runners” just to see what results I would get and on the first page, 7 out of the 10 results were blogs with some mention of O.C.D. Again, I realize a lot of what is written is purely entertainment but I’ve also read quite a few blogs where I felt a connection, as if the author really knew about O.C.D. and had first-hand experience with it so it makes me wonder how many really do suffer from this disorder?

Here’s the thing. I actually think that running has helped me with my O.C.D. It allows me to shut my obsessive brain off and concentrate on my running. It eases my anxiety and my irrational fears and I think it’s one of the reasons that I stick with it. My body appreciates running but my mind actually needs it.

So tell me, do you have O.C.D. or do you think you might? And, if you have O.C.D. do you think running helps?

20 thoughts on “I am a runner and I also have O.C.D., no really.

  1. This is old, but looking for help to get me passed the shoes being awfully mismatched from my gear/clothes. HELP!!!!!!!!!!
    I am on the verge of getting the latest, greatest shoes in a cool mint color, but I have none of the gear to match. I’m all black, grey, hot pink, purple, and blues

  2. Hi! I struggle with OCD, but mine is more of the “just right” variety. I tap things repeatedly, until I feel satisfied, and push on things in beats of 5 or 10. My OCD actually makes running hard sometimes because if I feel my clothing isn’t ‘just right’ or I’m slightly bothered, it consumes my thoughts and I have to stop and fix it before my agitation level goes through the roof. But running does help me as well with my general anxiety, and I notice when I come home I’m not as compelled to tap 🙂

    • Interesting. I have the same issues with my clothing but especially with my shoes, the laces in particular. My laces have to be tied and double knotted with the exact same length on each side. I don’t tap things but I do touch things repeatedly and organize, all the things, lol. I’m glad that running helps with your OCD and especially with your anxiety. The anxiety is the worst! And thank you for your comment. 🙂

  3. Hi! My name is Arne Robertson I am an avid runner who also suffers with OCD. I definietly agree that Running helps my OCD. It calms the brain whenever I am suffering with checking things. I go to therapy for my OCD< which helps but somedays can be overwhelming. I am so glad that running helps my OCD and give me peace. I am training for my first marathon in september, so there happens to be a lot of training during this time. So I am very excited for that. I hope this find you well and Hope your runnign goes well.

  4. Hi Dear,
    As a person who knows OCD well,I reassure you that symmetry and tideness compulsions OCD is something that you can overcome.Ofcourse ,running will help you in this regard. mindfullness and ERP will also help.

    Get well soon!

    • Thank you. I’ve learned to manage it over the years. My family just thinks these are my ‘quirks’. I’m glad that you are better.

    • Whoa Travis, not cool to use that language so I edited you. And I’m pretty sure I do know what O.C.D. is since I have suffered from it most of my life. I welcome your comments and even a difference of opinion but bad language won’t be tolerated.

  5. I am actually the opposite of OCD. I love chaos and prime numbers, which are the bane of any OCD person. If I could turn a 5k into a Pi race of 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971 I would.

    My wife is OCD and simply hates my random nature. Being able to accept odd distances or times is a great benefit after longer runs as I don’t mind when the watch said 13.68 miles after the 1/2 at Disney, I wasn’t running another step in that heat and humidity…others, well let’s just say they were jogging in the recovery zone.

    • LOL, you would get along great with my husband. In fact, he takes great pride in re-arranging things in the house when I am out. It provides hours of amusement for him as I inevitably freak out.

  6. I enjoy symmetry but, having said that, having that one fig newton out of place didn’t bother me in the slightest. Something that does bother me is when people’s clothing labels peek out from whatever they’re wearing, I have this need to either tell them about or just fix it myself (unless it’s a stranger!)
    One of the trickiest things I do is pump my wife’s gas for her because she almost has to have it so that there are no cents showing in the final price (she doesn’t care about the actual gallon measurement) This takes some skill and good hand/eye and I’m GENERALLY up to the task….Could pretty well care less if my running clothes matched, I just grab whatever’s clean (or available!)

    • LOL, I love the label pet peeve. I could just imagine you running behind someone with a label sticking out and it driving you crazy and I totally understand your wife’s need for even numbers. I have literally poured gas into the parking lot, (I know, stupid) just to get to an even number.

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