A healthy commitment to training

A certain level of obsession is needed when it comes to dreaming big and working hard for goals. 

With the Ironman World Championship event now behind us, alongside the Olympics and many notable road running races and other athletic events, there's a good chance that you may aspire to achieve something incredible with your body in the next few years.

While this big dream of yours may excite the heck out of you, you also know it will require a lot of sacrifices, investments and hard work.....but that doesn't scare you.

Whereas some athletes choose words like "determination and passion" when speaking about their love for their sport, chasing a goal requires a high level of commitment and sometimes you may even feel addicted.

In the October 2016 issue of Triathlete magazine (pg 62.), Gloria Petruzzelli (who also happens to be my best friend and one outstanding clinical sports psychologist) says

"Addiction in this sense can be defined as engaging in an activity that can be pleasurable or start off pleasurable, then shift into becoming compulsive and noticeably interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships or health."

"Setting boundaries on training and having people outside of the triathlon world in your life can help keep you in check if that healthy balance gets off kilter......there's a point of diminishing returns for both your quality of life and your training"
says Gloria.

Gloria suggests to complete this adapted compulsive exercise assessment, developed by the researchers in the UK, to see if you strongly agree more than you disagree, to better understand if your athletic compulsion is outweighing your commitment.

Although you will recognize aspects of yourself in these statements, says Triathlete, be mindful that commitment is a great thing but compulsion is not.

Agree or Disagree?
1. Whether it is in or out of my control, I feel extremely guilt when I miss or skip a training session.

2. If I can't fit in a training session on certain days, I will inevitably feel anxious, low, irritable or depressed.

3. My friends and family tell me they miss hanging out with me because I'm always training.

4. If I miss a training session, I always work to make up the volume or time the next session. 

5. My entire day is planned around when I have time to train and for how long.

6. I feel guilty if I use spare time to relax.

7. I hate recovery days.

"To ensure your training doesn't morph from a healthy outlet or goal to addictive/compulsive behavior...take an honest look at your training behaviors and consider if you are embracing healthy coping skills in all areas of your life" says Gloria. 

Nothing great will be achieved if you settle for mediocre, while always putting your own needs/goals second to others. Every athlete needs a high level of commitment to reach big goals, with the understanding that sacrifices and investments will be made. However, it is important to understand that the best version of yourself should not be displayed only when you are training for an event.
The purpose of this blog is to help you understand that you can still reach your dreams (even the big ones) by having a healthy (not obsessive/compulsive) commitment to training and to your sport.