I worry sometimes that the F word is getting lost. And whilst it’s not good for our sports, it’s not good for our lives in general either.
Combined with personal experience and being able to see friends, clients and the wider world train and compete, I think we are going through a period where we want everything to look, feel and appear fun. But when we remove the external appearance, I find we are often left lacking this key ingredient- FUN.
As I can’t share other’s experiences, I will keep this focused on mine and I hope it may strike a chord with a few people out there, with the aim to help.
When I have a clear goal, my training automatically becomes so much more focused and fun. I get lost in the process to reaching this goal and it removes stresses and worries for me. Now the last 18 months have seen a dramatic change in all areas of life, but for athletes, our goals have been moved, changed and at times disappeared. This uncertainty and change will significantly lower drive and we can feel we are just “doing” for the sake of doing.
It’s a strange one as people will look at my social media and see I am always out doing (and yes, I really am doing) but what you are not seeing is how I felt while I was out doing. What was the struggle like to get out the door? How did I actually feel?
Personally, I still use my activity as a control for ADHD and this kind of means I will always be doing something. But like everyone else, take the goal away and my FUN factor drops, I do not give a session my 100% focus.
We can easily get locked into a routine of non-FUN training and existence, this is dangerous and needs to be addressed.
I can hear some people suggesting that this is the same as overtraining and burnout. There are similarities for sure, but we are not over training we are training without a vital ingredient, and this is more a negative training state that could very well lead to over training if it’s not managed.
Some signs of losing the FUN are going to be like those of over training, thus it makes it easier to check which issue you have. Look at training volumes against previous years, look at times over a local route. If you can see no training reason, then you may just be lacking that mind fuel called FUN.
How can we manage this? I have booked myself into a FUN clinic, going back to the Alps with a series of challenges lined up- climbing, mountain running, high mountain camp outs, catch up with alpine buddies. Here there is no overriding goal, just fun things in the mountains. Now everyone will have different things that will help get their FUN back, maybe take off all tech and go hit trails and adventures with friends, have a week aiming for Strava segments, take on a totally new sport (yes learning is FUN)
I would totally recommend talking to your partner, parents, friends if you are feeling this, sometimes they will have the answer at their fingertips, that one you are struggling to find.
As with all life situations, be open and honest with yourself and others and things will get back to where you want a lot sooner. I hope some of what I have written helps you spot signs and helps you address the issues.
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