A big part of a triathlete’s life is spent training. There’s no doubt that swimming, cycling and running can take up a lot of time. But there’s another subset of training I’ll call, the “compulsive training syndrome” or addiction to endurance training.
Athletes are often too concerned about their daily aerobic fixes, which can be very myopic in nature. This can get in the way of living a normal, sensible life. Sometimes it’s difficult for people to let go of the psychological need to train.
One of the biggest aims for athletes should be to achieve a comfortable balance between training and living a balanced life. It’s important to have other activities that kindle the life of an athlete. Triathlon training should not define the individual, but be part of a broader collective of attributes.
Of course you want to give it your all and spend the necessary time training if you want to be the very best you can become, but reason must prevail. All of the good to great athletes I’ve worked with manage to have a balanced life with sport. There is nothing wrong with doing everything possible to improve your performance, unless it means jeopardizing your career or losing sight of family and spiritual values. Don’t become so focused on training that you cannot make time for other activities in your life.
Plan Recovery Days
Triathletes need regular recovery days and periods. Restoration periods that are part of a planned but flexible training program provide necessary rest following training stimulus. They help to improve and rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.
Planned breaks are like looking forward to a holiday that’s meant to refresh and rest the body and mind. And from a life-balance perspective it’s a great way to set training aside for other, often more important, matters such as family and personal time.
Recovery and restoration is particularly important from a psychological perspective. During more difficult weeks of intense effort and volume, athletes can look forward to the time when the intensity and volume lessen and fitness improves as a result of compensation and regeneration. What that means is rest isn't just good for the mind but the body too.
Planning your recovery days in advance goes a long way toward better training and life balance.