Remember that the role of the coach can be to heal an athlete to the point where they don’t need sport any more. – Bobby McGee
Recently, I was brainstorming with a buddy about a sabbatical planned to start a year from now. My initial thinking was I’d repeat past patterns and head to the Southern Hemisphere and train big. In the spring, I would emerge and rip the legs off my competition!
During my break, Endurance Corner will continue and I’ll maintain my column here.
Not surprisingly, my wife (Monica) found the thought of moving two very young kids to Western Australia so I could train all day somewhat unappealing…
Sharing my wife’s reluctance to embrace my strategy, a friend recommended that I spend a year releasing myself from the pressure to train all day every day. Why not focus on my family and train with my wife? Given Monica’s athletic talent (she’s led Ironman Hawaii), training with her isn’t a sacrifice and my suggestion was very well received on the home front!
In releasing myself from the obligation to train all day, a cascade of “if then” scenarios arrived. They offer an insight into endurance athlete psychology so I’ll share them:
Endurance athletes equate “fast” with “like" -- so what my automatic mind is saying is, “I have to train so people will like me."
Side note: My automatic mind also used to tell me that I’d get fat if I didn’t train all day but eight years of stable body weight have enabled me to counter that effectively. The link was “lean” to “beautiful” to “like."
The realization of my fitness attachment helped me see a pattern that runs very deeply in my life. Each winter I have a deep unease, which stems from a fear of not being liked.
Realizing my attachment, a weight lifted off my shoulders and I remembered that:
Winter is a time when we can go a little stir crazy -- figuring out why gave me a little peace.
Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog here.