in Self-Help

Endurance Sports for Life Avoidance; Relationships and Training

It’s the title of my new eBook – Endurance Sports for Life Avoidance: How to escape your job, your family, and whatever other issues you don’t really want to deal with.

You get to spend hours and hours away from anyone who isn’t following your training plan; you can’t go out at night because you need to foam roll and get as much sleep as possible; you can’t have meetings between 11 and 2pm because you leave work for long lunch runs; and you can’t go out to eat because you’re following a strict diet of some kind.

You can kick back and relax when there’s yard work to be done, because seriously you can’t risk putting your back out or getting too tired. You use all your savings on the latest and greatest gear and those hefty race fees and travel expenses (oh and all your vacation time too), which means you probably can’t go anywhere for Christmas (aw shucks sorry Aunt Peggie!).

Who wouldn’t want this life style? Or rather, be partnered to someone with this lifestyle?

I’ve heard many times of athlete’s spouses giving (or not giving) them permission to train for a race. The first time I heard that, I thought A) there was seriously something wrong with their relationship and B) it always seemed to be the wives who were stingy with this so-called permission, as I had never heard of someone’s husband denying this privilege. I won’t even begin to go into the gender dynamics of that, but I’ve heard this many, many times.

But now that I’m married and have been training for endurance events for a while, I am beginning to understand. It takes up all of your free time, all of your money, and prevents you from doing all sorts of things. It’s not just a little hobby, it’s basically a  part (or full) time job. If you’re serious about it and it’s your main passion, it takes up all of your mental and physical energy.

Which can be pretty tough on a relationship, if the other party isn’t into it. Some people need to spend more time together then others, and you have to be pretty careful to make sure you’re not ignoring your partner or being too selfish with your own needs. It’s a tricky balancing act: balancing your own mental and physical health, your motivation and fun-having, your partner, your family, your job, your wallet; it’s no easy task. I have no magic formula, other then constant reflection and check-ins. Are you still having fun? Is your partner still on board? How can you have more fun and your partner have more fun too?

I put everything in terms of “fun” but I mean fulfillment. Joy. If the workouts feel like an escape, and the thought of a rest day fills you with dread, it may be time to examine that feeling. Are you avoiding something, someone, or even avoiding yourself? Spending long hours in the saddle can be meditative and a stress-reliever, but they can also be just as addictive as anything else.

Endurance sports can either be a way to avoid your life or it can be a way to enhance your life. I am aiming for the latter.