The moral of every story is Don’t Get Greedy

img_0996As athletes, we all want to achieve the highest level of performance possible. We train with goals such as personal records in mind. When we achieve them, we set new goals. This is the cycle of life and applies to many other endeavors as well.

So it is important that what we learn from participation in athletics teaches us the right lessons. So here is a rule to live by: The moral of every story is Don’t Get Greedy.

For example, let us imagine that you’ve just come off a race in which you set a personal best. In the days following the event, your emotions run high. All that training really paid off! And you start to think: If I do even more, I will get even better. That can be true, at times.

It can also lead to your short and long term destruction.

Because…just past the optimal training level that created your racing success lies the very real danger of overtraining. That can lead to getting sick, or injured. If you don’t back off even when long term fatigue hits you, the harm you do your body and brain may be more than short term.

Greed and Chronic fatigue

Chronic injuries or conditions often come about because people get greedy with their training and racing. You may have seen those folks at your local training group. They show up and hobble through the first parts of a workout, then retreat to their vehicle and head home. They can’t do the training, yet they can’t not show up.

right-kind-of-prideIt takes a degree of personal confidence outside the scope of our self-image as athletes to back off and accept that we’re temporarily not the athlete we so desire to be. When we’re sick, hurt or injured it takes personal integrity to admit that and find paths to self-esteem not so reliant on our public achievements.

As I’ve written in my book The Right Kind of Pride (Amazon.com) there are times when humility or vulnerability are often the greatest strengths you possess. When life is tough, it can pay to be persistent and perseverant, yet it is also wise to let others help you. Help yourself to a less aggressive approach to your situation and let the power of admission, forgiveness and acceptance enter your life. It is a very powerful manner of existence during times of crisis. But it also works in everyday life. That is the right kind of pride, taking care of yourself by controlling your own ego.

The Right Kind of Pride

As an athlete, the Right Kind of Pride can mean a variety of things. The most prudent (and less greedy) form of self-nurturing is to plan periods in the year when you actually allow your body and mind to recover. That can mean taking some time off to recover. Allow yourself to put on a few mild pounds perhaps. You don’t need to get fat, but do let your joints and muscles rejuvenate.

So Yes, you should still eat well and do some light workouts. Focus on strength-building and weights instead of endurance. Vary it up and you won’t be tapping the well dry. It is surprising how quickly this approach can help you get back on track for a new training period.

Roll with the changes

 

run-out

Competition is great. But we all need a break sooner or later

November and early December are excellent times to dispense with greed in your training and set your sights on a new year. If you live in northern climes, the weather changes and makes it difficult to get bike time outside anyway. So grab the mountain bike and throw some lights on the thing. Bang around some dirt trails in the twilight. Leave your bike computer at home and your Strava too. Ride or run because it’s fun to do.

 

But even if you live in sunny Arizona and can ride or run anytime you like, make sure your greed for good mileage does not wear you out. The pool is always a good resort in any season. Swim for the great feel of it. Don’t kill yourself. Roll with the changes.

Hemispheric pressures

Of course, on the other side of the world people in Australia, New Zealand and other more southern places are just starting their competitive seasons. They’re just coming off the winter months and are raring to go. So we all have different rhythms.

Elite athletes have to consider these differences in training schedules because international competitions can demand readiness for indoor track or a triathlon season Down Under. Cyclists at the world level now race in countries around the world, and that can put pressure on people trying to make teams for premier events later in the pro season.

It all comes down to the simple rule: We have to make choices. Don’t be greedy.

Life lessons

AssesThere are plenty of arenas in which these lessons apply. So we’ll close with this beautiful and somewhat funny lyric from a song by the Lovin’ Spoonful, a 60s group with some of the best harmonies and melodies ever written. The song speaks to the greedy mind of a young man that can’t choose between the girl he’s dating and her cute sister. “Oh, to be so lucky,” some might think. But greed confuses the mind. It can make you think you’re capable of ruling the free world when you’re little more than a greedy bastard who talks big. If you want all the asses in the world, it just turns you into an ass yourself.

It all starts with simple choices, you see. The following lyrics apply to the allure of dating two pretty girls, but it could just as well apply to the temptation of doing too many races,  trying to podium every week, or stay 100% fit all year round.

The moral of every story is Don’t Be Greedy.

Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind 

Did you ever have to make up your mind
Pick up on one and leave the other behind
It’s not often easy and not often kind
Did you ever have to make up your mind

Did you ever have to finally decide
Say yes to one and let the other one ride
There’s so many changes and tears you must hide
Did you ever have to finally decide

Sometimes there’s one with big blue eyes, cute as a bunny
With hair down to here, and plenty of money
And just when you think she’s that one in the world
You heart gets stolen by some mousey little girl

And then you know you’d better make up your mind…
Sometimes you really dig a girl the moment you kiss her
And then you get distracted by her older sister
When in walks her father and takes you a line
And says, “You better go home, son, and make up your mind”

And then you bet you’d better finally decide…

Read more: Lovin Spoonful – Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @gofast and blogs at werunandride.com, therightkindofpride.com and at 3CCreativemarketing.com. Online portfolio: http://www.behance.net/christophercudworth
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