Maranoia: A Runner’s Biggest Fear

Whether you're worried about injuries, performance issues or a freak accident it can often be associated to a runner’s biggest fear. Maranoia.

Have you ever been preparing for a run and just worried about the smallest things that have stopped you from training to your fullest, well this could be an acute case of Maranoia; it is a real thing honestly! Whether you’re worried about injuries, performance issues or a freak accident it can often be associated to a runner’s biggest fear. Maranoia.


With runners the physical toll on your joints can build up throughout a year especially in your legs and lower back dependant on your running style. However, we have all had slight niggles that we have thought were worse which have stopped our training whether that be a pulled muscle or sore joints.

With any injury the best thing you can do no matter the injury is use the RICE treatment; Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, this method is well documented to help speed up the recovery procedure. You should look to rest for 48 hours to see if the niggle continues, after 48 hours you should consult a specialist for two main reasons; 1) put yourself at ease and avoid psychologically overthinking the injury and 2) in case a severe injury occurs get in inspected earlier as to avoid long term injury.


It might come as a shock to you but runners often get more respiratory illnesses on a year round bases, this is due to a few main factors the first of which is that long distance running (90+ minutes) can lead to a few key physiological changes to your body; lower blood sugar levels and an increase in stress hormones that can suppress the immune system so any bug or cold your body is fighting can not be fought as well which can lead to you coming victim to the illness.

Luckily there are some really easy and enjoyable tips which help to avoid this issue occurring to you, the first of which is a heavily loaded carbohydrate meal prior to your run, preferably a few hours before so your not running on a full stomach… not a good feeling, the reason for carbohydrate loading is to avoid your blood sugar levels dropping which will help to support the immune system allowing it to work as effectively as possible. Another great thing to help avoid the bug is protein consumption, as we all know protein consumption helps the recovery process of muscles after exercise but the good bacteria present in protein will also limit the chances of infection after a run. The final tip is drink beer. You read that right, drinking beer is great in reducing inflammation in your blood markers so after a run never feel guilty to grab a beer, its all part of the recovery process.

Freak Accident:

Do you ever think about irrational, impossible circumstances that can occur when you are out running like being hit by lightning or a tree falling on you? This is completely natural in runners, long distance runners are often consumed with the idea of running as it takes up a lot of their spare time often leading to your day revolving around waking up, work, running, bed. The consuming nature of running can often lead to your brain getting carried away with ‘What If’ situations.

When your brain gets carried away with these ideas it is often good to have a breathing technique to relax yourself, some great information can be found on the NHS Website relating to this. Another important factor is to make sure that running is not the consuming factor in your day-to-day life; taking one day off a week with a non-running related activity is great not just for physical recovery and rehabilitation but for your phycological state.

Goals Achievement:

Running requires a very strong psychological mindset, it is often you and your goal time, this internalised intrinsic sport can be difficult, however, when you add the anxiety of completing the goal it can lead to further issues such as feelings of being overwhelmed and anxiety leading up to an event or a park run especially if you are a beginner to running.

A negative mindset is not beneficial is not good for you especially when it comes to running, the main thing you can do to improve this factor is to begin feeling postie in your day to day life and that will often flow in to your running mindset, you are making a positive change to yourself and it is good to remember that and record this.

  • Diary – A daily diary can be used for your everyday life and to record your feelings about your previous runs, this method can help boost your confidence as you can have a record of your progress whether that be purely related to your running, how this has changed you physically/mentally/socially or just day to day occurrences. This positive diary can then be used when you are struggling for motivation.
  • Setting Achieving Goals – It is all well and good to set yourself a challenge but the psychological impact of not achieving goals can be dangerous especially for runners, it is often good to set yourself a goal based on your own previous success, using previous PBs can be good as you can measure your own progress against yourself instead of other people.