Training Seriously Without Taking Yourself Seriously

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Yes we can train seriously without taking ourselves seriously! This is my philosophy and the one I try to share here.

There was a discussion of a concept that interests me a lot: the pleasure of running. I say it often and I’ll repeat it again today: we are amateurs so talking about performance is good. But we should always make sure to keep pleasure as a central element of our practice before we even think about performance.

The Pleasure Of Running Is Always The Number One Goal!

Always know this mantra: “Train seriously without taking yourself seriously”. I have put it forward since I started running as a hobby. And it is this notion of pleasure that is at the heart of the meaning of this mantra. The goal is to always remember why we do things.

Always ask yourself the right questions when you decide to embark on a performance goal. In fact, you have to be constantly able to question yourself. Asking whether or not we like what we’re doing? If that’s not 100%, then you have to ask yourself why we’re doing this. Because sport, for us amateurs is above all a hobby! A hobby must be there to entertain us, make us happy and make life more enjoyable!

Is Improvement A Result Of The Pleasure Of Running?

The funny thing is that I’m often asked why I don’t compete more or if I don’t get bored at training and always shoot in the same places.

For these two questions, my answer is invariably the same: the basis of my training is pleasure. I train above all for the pleasure I take and the performance improvement is simply just a byproduct of this pleasure. I’m totally convinced of that. If I didn’t enjoy training like this, I would have a hard time performing, because I clearly won’t put the same intensity into it.

Serious Training Is Only Possible If You Like It

As we know today, the intensity we will be able to put into an effort depends at least as much on the mind as on the physical. We have an ability to perform like that over a period of time. But in the end, we never reach 100% of this capacity. Because the brain acts like a brake. The brain is our central governor, as Tim Noakes rightly calls it. He controls everything we do at all times. And only our will can override what our brain decides is right for us. That’s why we talk about surpassing ourselves to describe an intense effort.

To be able to push the machine, to go for progress you must have the will to get out of this comfort zone. It means accepting the difficulty, the pain that goes with it. And the more you accept it, the more you normalize it, the more you can go far in the effort. But clearly to accept these states as normal, you have to take some pleasure in it otherwise it is impossible. A maso pleasure, of course, but a form of pleasure anyway. It is in any case sure that we will give in much faster if we do not take a minimum of pleasure.

Give The Maximum On The Workouts That Require It

I won’t see myself putting myself in states where muscles literally burn, where breathing is maximum, where the heart seems to want to explode. No, I really wouldn’t see myself putting myself in such a state if I didn’t have some kind of maso pleasure at that moment to feel that I’m in control of the situation. And what I like best about it is the moment when a slight slowdown starts to work, and I win the battle with my brain by firmly saying no, and relaunching the pace. It’s a great time.

A Pleasure To Run More “Direct” On Fundamental Endurance

And endurance is a beautiful sport since 70 to 80% of the time we are totally in control and we are in direct fun! In endurance we are comfortable, we can enjoy the moment. No stress! You can observe your environment, listen to music, talk. In short, regain a form of total freedom.

And When The Pleasure Of Running Is Not There?

I’m not saying that the fun is there 100% of the time obviously. But the few outings where you don’t want to, or typically the few workouts on the treadmill in winter for me. These few sacrifices from time to time are very meager compared to the pleasure I will find overall in training.

Definitely, I don’t feel bored in training. And yes, competitions are a real plus to be able to really judge its evolution. But in itself training is enough to give me much of what I’m looking for in sport.

What About The Performance?

Well that’s the icing on the cake! Personally what I am looking for is the surpassing of oneself, the search for this state where one must control one’s thoughts in order not to let go and force the body to improve accordingly.

Conclusion: Do Everything You Can To Maximize Your Pleasure Of Running

In short we diverge a little here. But I think with this article, you have a good idea of what this mantra means. “Training seriously without taking yourself seriously” is not just words in the air. For me, the real pleasure must be in training. Because that’s where we spend 95% of our sports time. This pleasure can take different forms. In my case, pleasure and performance are linked. I take pleasure in performance and I perform thanks to the pleasure I take to train.

In conclusion I would tell you to do everything to find your pleasure! Think of training and performance as a game. Remember that we are amateurs for whom it is a hobby is in my opinion the healthiest attitude to have.