There’s a serious epidemic sweeping running and nobody is immune to it. Old, young, fast, slow, we could all be struck down by this ailment at any time. It’s called CBA.
I asked a top sports scientist, who asked not to be named, to define this terrible syndrome. They said ‘if you bother me with crap like this again I’ll contact the police. I’m a serious scientist you know, with a PhD and everything. Look, CBA stands for ‘can’t be arsed’, ok? Good bye’.
Serious research into CBA
Following more in-depth research like this we found that many runners have reported cases of CBA in recent years. Madonna (not her real name), who, according to her Twitter profile once achieved a 29th vet 40 finish at the Dingleton 10k, was struck down by CBA in January 2017. Madonna explains ‘I was running really well, then one day it was just really rainy, and I was a bit tired. I was going to go for a run, but then I saw ET was on TV, and I knew I had a family sized Galaxy in the fridge. Next thing you know I’m 10 squares in and ET’s in the front basket of the BMX’.
Madonna felt the brute force of CBA and it has dogged her ever since. ‘It’s easy on a nice sunny day but when it’s raining and blowing a gale I can easily relapse. Sometimes I put my kit on at 8am on a Sunday, only to find myself still sitting in it at 4pm, after a whole series of Stranger Things and 8 pieces of toast.’ This, she now knows, is classic CBA.
We spoke to another runner – we’ll call him Brad, to preserve his anonymity – who found himself floored by CBA. Brad had planned to do parkrun one Saturday, his alarm went off at 8am and Brad was paralysed by CBA. Not literally, but figuratively. Brad tells us how the sickening situation unfolded: ‘I’d been out for a drink with my friends on Friday night but I was fully intending to go to parkrun the next morning. I set my alarm but when it went off I was just gripped by this terrible feeling. I just couldn’t be arsed to get up. It was like I’d been hit, not by a train, but more like a mid-weight duvet. I felt compelled to go back to sleep until 11am, then watch a bit of Saturday Kitchen while eating cereal’. Textbook symptoms.
No runner is immune from CBA
Even elite level runners can be hit by CBA. I spoke to one runner, who asked not to be named out of fear of losing their sponsorship deal of 2 pairs of trainers and a branded water bottle each year, who painted a grizzly picture of this debilitating syndrome. ‘I’d been out for my morning run, then I’d done some of the 4 hours of tweeting a day that I’m contractually obliged to do in return for my 2 free pairs of trainers per year, then I made lunch and watched Bargain Hunt. It was just a typical day. But when I did my afternoon run, when I got to the 4th 3 minute interval, which was supposed to be done at 85% effort, I only put 82% effort in. I was devastated. I tried talking to my friend, who isn’t a runner, about it but they told me that listening to me whine about my splits was indescribably dull, which is obviously not true. But why did I CBA that last rep? Why?’.
How to get help
But what can you do if you’re a victim of CBA? If you find yourself in the seemingly never-ending spiral of looking out of the window and finding a reason (rain, wind, YouTube cat videos, people’s Twitter accounts that are just addictively awful) not to go out for a run? There are specialist support groups out there, called running clubs (find a UK running club here). These clubs usually meet twice a week and they are very similar to groups like AA, except they will feed your addiction rather than try to stop it. In a good way.
Another strategy is to document your every move on social media. It seems that a lot of runners are using this one. Before you even think about going for a run lay all your kit out on your bed, take a photo of it and then tag every brand represented in the photo. Then just before your run you can do a pre-run selfie, then you’ll obviously need a post-run selfie. Between those two photos you’ll also need a minimum of 10 mid-run selfies. Suggested poses include the double thumbs-up, the overly styled exaggerated running pose (aka ‘the Baywatch’) and of course, the classic jumping pose. By following this protocol you will ensure that you become so addicted to the likes that you will never CBA a run once you’ve put it out there.
So good luck in resisting CBA. As Paula herself recently said ‘I’ve never come back from a run feeling worse than when I went’. Though, to be fair, she’s never run an ultra.