More than ever, endurance sports require an extraordinary investment to perform at their best. The slightest effort is measured, each task is timed, recovery anticipated, pleasures sacrificed… Today, the endurance athlete is above all a motivated athlete! Motivated? Passionate!! But is his passion always beneficial? That is what we are discussing here.
The passion in sport is everywhere. Obviously in competition with the intensity of pain endured, the surpassing of yourself… But also and especially in training. Training: a place where assiduity and intensity stand as masters for endurance performance, certainly. But a place where a kind of consistency of behaviour is also required: all the athlete’s actions are placed at the service of a single end, progress.
So passion may not just be a resource. It can “gangrene” the athlete by becoming synonymous with mad perseverance. It can make him lose ground and dismantle the rationality of training. The risk of such a lack of lucidity is ultimately the imbalance of the “charge-recovery” balance.
TRAINING LOAD: PASSIONATE ORIGINS?
Have you ever experienced this situation where you feel the need to go running? Just like that, for no apparent reason and without waiting? It is a reality… An “impulsive” reality that nevertheless determines a key element of your preparation: your medium-term state of fitness. Indeed, by dictating your daily behaviour, your impulsiveness orients your evolution during training: overreaching, injury, stabilization or on the contrary efficiency and progress. Clearly, this impulsion-training relationship is very important in the context of your performance.
The question you have to wonder then is the nature of that passion. Is it “harmonious”? Or is it “obsessive”? The first is a light, resourcing and positive passion. The second is characterized by a lack of flexibility: the narrow-minded realization of a fixed training plan or worse, revised upwards. While both lead to an extraordinary athlete investment, only one of them is synonymous with long-term progress… That is why in the immediacy, the athlete himself can become confused.
WHAT PASSION FOR PERFORMANCE?
A motivation called “intrinsic” is manifested by the search for the practice itself, for the pleasure taken “in” the realization. So, when the activity takes such an identity anchoring for the individual, a harmonious passion develops. We talk about a self-determined activity: “I like to do so I do“.
In exercise, such passion is synonymous with joy, a sense of autonomy and control, as well as intense concentration. One sometimes even evokes the famous “state of flow”, this psychological state in which the degree of concentration is such that one has the impression that time slows down. All these characteristics therefore presuppose as much pleasure (affective) as the ability to decide lucidly (cognitive).
Conversely, a motivation directed towards external goals “forces” the athlete to practice. He feels “submitted” to serve causes other than his own and then develops an obsessive passion, which is alienating for a simple reason: the self-esteem he has of himself becomes a consequence of training. “If I don’t practice, I suck.”
In this case, training becomes a source of pressure because the athlete finds himself in a position of “no choice”: he feels guilty if he does not practice and if he practices, he lacks focus and stresses easily. The search for merit guides him, he runs madly behind a graal that he did not set himself.
THE RIGHT PASSION IS “FOR TOMORROW”.
Yes, it is first and foremost the benefit of the medium-term training that must guide your choices. Not impulsivity. Especially at training. So, to be consistent with your overall training load, we recommend 3 elements to take into account when this “irrepressible need to go running” takes you..:
1-“What will be the parallel charges?” Ask yourself what tasks still need to be done before / after training. They will open your perspective on your likely level of fatigue at the end of the day.
2-“What was the training plan?” So take a look at your future training sessions so you know if your desire to run today might not limit the good progress of your intense session of tomorrow…
3-“What is my need for recovery?” We don’t think about it enough although it’s obvious: how much more rest time for this session?
With this in mind, you can now try to identify the reasons why you run. The quest for the record? Body worship? Sharing or the search for rigour? Knowing is the first step. Then, it’s up to you to weigh how much these reasons are performance levers… or brakes.
GUTAÏ : MADE-TO-MEASURE.
What is great about your training application GUTAÏ is that you can first choose your program in terms of goal, number of weeks of preparation and weekly hourly volume. With this system of filters, you thus benefit from a first tool on which you can base to know if you should do more or not. This will bring an initial answer to your sudden desires to run.
Then GUTAI learned (with AI) to make the difference between your good state of form and your state of fatigue. This function is just excellent since it compares your current data with your historical data to know if everything is ok in your reaction to training. Consequently, you benefit from an additional objective opinion to decide. For example, if your form is negative, it means that GUTAÏ has detected real fatigue markers in your RPE, HR, HRR, Wellness data and that it would be harmful to do more. And if your form is positive but your program does not plan anything, know that you will always have the possibility of self-programming sessions in your Calendar (from the Senshi module).
To go further: Schiphof-Godart & Hettinga, Frontiers Physiol, 2017