Exercise & Green Time

ADHD Self Help: Marathon Man

Running stepped up my focus and self-esteem. The discipline it’s given me to complete long-term projects in my law career is the best success of all.

Woman with ADHD and depression running outside.
Woman with ADHD and depression running outside.

My running is as important to managing my ADHD as my medication is. It is something I do myself, for myself. Call it self-help, one step at a time.

When I was diagnosed with ADHD, in 1999, I resumed a routine that had gotten me through the challenges of college: Three days a week, I wake up at 5 a.m. and run for about an hour, always alone. It clears my head, sharpens my focus, organizes my thoughts, and allows me to map out my day.

For that hour, I am master of my universe. I am in control.

Movement enables me to process information. Before representing a client in court, I typically extend my run, to help me sift through the evidence and develop strategies.

Running marathons has taught me even more – namely, the benefits of training, of doing a little each day, to prepare my body and mind for the goal. The discipline and concept of gradual progress has given me the ability to manage long-term projects in my law career and home life.

I have completed five marathons. Of all the races I have finished, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., in fall 2007, was the best. I ran to raise awareness about ADHD. The feeling of giving back was almost better than finishing the grueling race.

I encourage you to look for your own “marathon” – some physical activity that gives you the benefits that running gives me. I know it is out there. Just look for it. And then get going.

[Click to Read: The Connection Between Sports and Behavior]