by Chris Hague
E-Harmony with my great GF
My GF and I have been in a relationship now for about two years. I have been in relationships in the past, but unlike those she is very understanding and moreover supportive of my training. She goes everywhere with me and is right there throughout all my workouts. During my swims, she counts my laps and takes my splits, and on the bike and run, she knows where my heart rate, watts, and speed should be. She encourages me to push it when I need to but scolds me when I go over the set limit. When I finish a workout regardless of how good it went, she even gives me a little cheer. If I get lost she is there to help me find my way home, and then helps me analyze my data to figure out where I need to improve. She rarely lets me down.
More importantly though she also understand that, when I have a race coming up, I need my space. Like many if not all athletes, I get very jittery during my taper. The reduced volume makes me antsy and I begin to have doubts about my skills and abilities. A huge question mark expands within my mind and constantly spews negativity with comments like “Did you train enough?,” “You could have done more,” and “Everyone will be so much better than you.” However, my GF comes to the rescues and shows me how distorted these thoughts are.
About a week before my race when my taper usually begins, we sit down together and she shows me my workouts and races from the past season and previous seasons as if to say “look at what you have done in the past, so you know you can do it again.” Looking back at these moments, I regain my confidence. I begin to see that regardless of where I want to be, I am exactly where I should be. After this little dinner date, she then backs off. We go through a temporary break up with the complete understanding that I will not get another GF and come race day we will get back together again. She goes away, and I do all my training alone. Without her, I get to know where my body is and how it feels instead of trying to hit specific numbers or compare myself to previous workouts and others, which is alright sometimes but NOT before races. Without these stressors, I begin to relax and let my body enter race mode. Then the morning of the race, I wake up and my GF is right there with me, ready to take my splits and cheer me on. After the race, she has recorded everything so that, when I am ready, we can go through it, pick out good things, accept the bad, and make plans for the future.
I see a lot of people though who have bad relationships with their GFs. Usually, the guys will doubt what his GF is telling him. He relys on her too much for feedback so that when she does fail or leave he has no idea what to do with himself. He can be controlling and never let her leave his side; he also over analyze everything she says. The relationship usually ends badly with the GF stranded on the side of the road still harping on how he is not in the right zone and needs to cool it. Sometimes he will even throw her on the ground in frustration.
I would say though we have a healthy relationship and a how an athlete-GF relationship should be. We work together; we are honest with each other; we accept that neither of us are perfect: I am not a superhuman athlete who cannot push off-the-chart watts at a low heart rate all the time and she will sometimes delete splits or mess up my pace. We may break up in the future; I may find another relationship that works better for my training needs. I may give up on GFs altogether and ride solo for some time. That is the future though and is unknowable.
I do know, however, that for now it is important for me to remain and maintain in this healthy, interdependent, trusting—not codependent, obsessive, or abusive—relationship with my Garmin Forerunner.