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Anyone who is involved in triathlon enough to label themselves as a 'triathlete' will relate to what I am going to write about. Bold statement, I know, but it's true.

Addiction.


It's one of those words which carries negative connotations. Even when colleagues off-handedly mention how crazy you are, muttering something about addiction and being insane, got issues etc, all light-hearted, of course. But is it? Is it a serious and debilitating condition, being addicted to triathlon? Doubtful. But it does, without a shadow of doubt, dictate your life to some extent.

But I choose to do this, I hear you protest! Yes, we all do. But there becomes a time where the choice and the need blur together with intangible boundaries. Where does choice end and need begin? At the point you become addicted to triathlon.

I know this because I'm there. I'm sure this will still be subject to considerable disagreement from many of those in denial, but let's face facts and accept it. Embrace the urge, that relentless frustration, that hit, and that rush we get from it. Sound familiar? Thought so...

This end of season rest period has given me food for thought, as you can tell from my marginal stray away from more the more technical, physicality of triathlon and more ponderings on the emotional and psychological side of the sport. Anyway, I was given a wonderous two weeks rest from my coach. OMG. At first I wondered how on earth I would cope without training. This has dominated my life for a year, what will I do? I took down time, as you will see from my previous blog post.


Down time (aka cocktail time)

Then I took some more down time. I actually emailed my coach after two weeks and said I wasn't ready to train again. Cue shock/horror.

This even surprised me. But after this level of training, you get to know your mind and your body very well. It sounds obvious, but you really learn to listen to your body. I knew I didn't feel 100% ready to train. I also knew that if I went ahead and trained anyway, I would be forcing myself. This would not be a good start to a whole year of hardcore commitment and determination. Next year is going to be tough, and I am very conscious of it.

For that reason I decided to make a sensible decision and ask for an extension to my rest period. My coach was more than forthcoming about giving me an extra week, he said he wasn't worried about loss of fitness but more of the psychological effect training has on you, and you need to feel ready for it again. He confirmed everything I knew.

I had a gut feeling and I followed it. If I forced myself into training there is a risk that I might resent it at some point. It is natural to have days where you don't feel like training and you get through it anyway. That is different. I needed long enough off so that I began to miss it. So that urge, that burning little fire inside us that makes us so driven to get out there, to test ourselves, to achieve - that is what I was looking for.


Ready to train again´╗┐

Some people call it 'mojo'. Probably quite rightly so. Whatever it is, I needed it back. And I knew that nothing I would do would work effectively if I forced it. I needed it to come back to me, 100% naturally. It needed to come from inside me, rather than dictated to me on my training plan.

It worked. 

This last week I *chose* to train again, rather than *having* to. This is so vital to me having a successful season next year. I need to start off on a positive note, completely and utterly ready to push the hardest and furthest I ever have, both physically and mentally. This initial urge will carry me through. I will remember what it was like when I had the rest period and how much I wanted to train again. This is the beginning...