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Are athletes insane?


Good question. Simple answer. Yes. Imagine waking up in the morning and thinking “today I am going to push my body to its limits. All the way to...


Good question. Simple answer. Yes.  

Imagine waking up in the morning and thinking “today I am going to push my body to its limits. To breaking point. And beyond.” Imagine knowing how much you’re going to hurt, how much pain you’re going to put yourself through, and being okay with that. Imagine saying “there is going to be a pain. There is probably going to be tears. There is a possibility of being sick” and just accepting this. And repeatedly doing this day in, day out, no questions asked.  Had you said this person was insane right?

You’d be correct. To endure these levels of physical and mental abuse, athletes surely need to be wired differently.

I believe we are wired differently. Athletes have an addiction to pain, and they thrive on this type of abuse they inflict upon themselves. Otherwise why on earth would we turn up at the track every day and continuously push to the limit? We wouldn’t. Its this addiction to pain that pulls you in. An addiction. That’s difficult to explain. And even more challenging to understand. Why would you want to purposely hurt yourself? In a nutshell – athletes are insane.

I often ask myself “why am I doing this to myself? Why am I constantly dragging my body to hell and back?”

No matter how much I hate feeling the pain, no matter how much I think I can’t put my body through the suffering again, I wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop. I’m addicted to pushing my body to break through barriers into zones I never knew existed. To advance to places I’d only dreamed of reaching.

It’s like a drug. It's addicting. Because once you get a taste of the highs, you can’t stop. Because the highs are so good that it's worth the pain you have to put yourself through to get to those moments.

No amount of self-inflicted pain will ever be too much to override the immense feeling in those “on top of the world” moments.

And that’s why athletes do it.

I mean, you have to be a bit crazy to run in circles every day, sprint down the same runway into sand time and time again, or spin round in a 2.5m cement circle repeatedly. Most people would be driven crazy or lose interest. But athletes must be wired in such a way that these day to day exertions pull them in but always leave them wanting more.

I admit I am a little mad. But I have to be. There is no way I would be able to put myself through training for heptathlon if I was completely sane.

Athletes need to have a particular type of mindset. This mindset can differ between individuals, but overall it comes down to willingness and drive. The desire to put yourself through the pain and the drive to come back and do it again tomorrow.

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