Who runs regularly and also engages in competitions during the year often finds himself having to manage problems of different nature, some of physical origin and others of psychological origin.
However, very often these two components merge, worsening performance.
One of the most obvious manifestations of this mechanism is the so-called perfectionist syndromewhich affects quite a large number of runners.
What is perfectionist syndrome
The professional syndrome is nothing but the excessive commitment in the training phase, which however does not necessarily translate, indeed almost never, into successes in the race.
Many people in fact give everything in the preparation phase, undergoing to intense and very demanding workoutstaking one’s physique to the maximum, only to then run into more or less serious and unexpected injuries during competitions, generic ailments or simply energy drops that make the competition disappointing most of the time.
A physical problem in the race can of course happen but if perfect workouts and subdued races are not sporadic but occur with a certain regularity, it is not possible to speak of randomness.
The people to whom it usually happens are very attentive in the preparation phase of a competition and have a strong self-control and indeed a tendency towards perfectionism which leads them to carry out every task, even sporting, in what they believe to be the best way, even if so it is not.
What determines it
The perfectionist syndrome manifests itself in every area of life and is an integral part of the character of many people who tend to want to do everything, even those of minor importance, at best, even in the face of excessive and unsolicited effort by the situation.
If in various situations this attitude only involves a lot of extra effort on the part of those who carry it forward but does not create other problems, when it comes to sport, and in particular running, things change and runners know it well.
To obsess to perform the perfect workout in fact leads to various negative consequences on a physical and psychological level which in the end translate into a sporting performance in the race that is decidedly lower than that which had been assumed, or even abandonment of the competition.
Common mistakes of those with perfectionist syndrome
One of the most common mistakes made by runners who embody obsessive perfectionism is to speed up your workouteven breaking the rules written by a personal trainer who has evaluated every aspect.
Speeding up times, however, is not always an advantage, in fact it almost never is. Especially when it comes to endurance work, timing is not in fact random but established with precise criteria which prevent injuries and help improve the average areas, very useful if you plan to run a marathon or a long race.
If you exaggerate not only with the passage of time the motivation may fail, but you run the risk of overloading the muscles with lactic acid or overloading the system.
Another rather common error occurs during the period of approach to the tenderespecially the week before.
In this sentence race-paced finishing work should be incorporated into your routineessential for making your legs work at the same pace that you expect to keep in the competition you are about to face, so as to get them used to that condition.
Runners who suffer from perfectionist syndrome, on the other hand, sometimes give in to the tempting to do these workouts not taking into account the competition to come but pushing them at a higher speed.
The idea behind this error is to thinking that accelerating means doing more and consequently making training better and more effective.
Actually though it’s not like that at all and there are two reasons: forcing this phase leads to skipping the finishing work essential for performance and arriving at the race tired, thus rendering the work done with so much commitment in vain.
It is no coincidence that runners who are victims of perfectionist syndrome experience fatigue or drops in energy during the sporting event.
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How to fix it
Doing more than necessary or striving to accomplish anything in some way better than expected is part of the nature of many people but in sport it does not lead to any results, on the contrary very often to improve one’s performance one must paradoxically do lessallowing yourself some rest when needed and avoiding always pushing your workouts and physique to the maximum.
Furthermore, the obsession with perfectionism fully falls into the category of control freaks and can be a source of performance anxiety, one of the number one enemies of runners.
Getting to a competition tired from too intense and tense training can only lead to disastrous results, so it’s better not to overdo it but to proceed step by step and get to the competition at the best of your opportunities.