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2323 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Sep 5, 2009 10:05 AM by IronMakeover
LB100 Rookie 5 posts since
Jun 8, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Sep 3, 2009 12:25 PM

Does the Ironman lead to exercise addiction?


This article got me wondering whether training for an Ironman will cause an addiction to exercise or working out. Wondering what other people think.



Multi-Tri Training with Michele--Ironman and exercise addiction



  • SlowBarney Amateur 36 posts since
    Oct 20, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Sep 3, 2009 12:56 PM (in response to LB100)
    Re: Does the Ironman lead to exercise addiction?

    I'd be inclined to respectfully disagree. Always nice to start with a definition: "compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful" from Webster.


    I'd take issue with points 1. and 2. as that type of training simply suits some people.


    Point 3. I'd argue is also not indicative of "addiction", unless you want to say that the average American is heavily "addicted" to TV watching more than 4hours a day. I average more than 2 training hours daily- I'm building for an 11 hour race. Doing 7hrs a week would be foolish.


    Point 4. well...horses for courses, monitoring either of those things can be positive or detrimental depending on the aim; having an aim or target is one thing, fixation perhaps not so healthy.


    Points 5. and 6. are common sense...but would you consider going to work when a bit sick as meaning you're addicted? I hate the term "beyond pain"...I've never got there, as far as I can tell there's pain, then a bit further on there's more pain, then eventually one breaks through to...more pain.


    Endorphins aside (now perhaps they should have been mentioned in the context of exercise addiction) exercise may well be habit forming, people sometimes overdo it, but to stir up scare stories about "addiction" is overdoing it, IMHO. Questions like "are my actions in any particular area of my life detrimental or beneficial to me as a whole in the long run" or "Am I lying to myself or the people around me about my perceived need to exercise", or "even am I setting myself unrealistic and over-stressing objectives in my training" certainly serve me better...

  • SlowBarney Amateur 36 posts since
    Oct 20, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Sep 3, 2009 1:10 PM (in response to SlowBarney)
    Re: Does the Ironman lead to exercise addiction?

    ...and I think I just got trolled...

  • IronMakeover Community Moderator 738 posts since
    Jul 7, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Sep 5, 2009 10:05 AM (in response to LB100)
    Re: Does the Ironman lead to exercise addiction?


    Hey there,



    Thanks for sharing the article. My hubby & I have IM experience and have 3 young kids. He finished at IMWI & IMCdA, I finished at beginner-friendly IMFL. We've met "iron-widow spouses" and have seen marriages thrown away.


    Depending on your fitness level & goals, IM training take 8-12 months of consistent focused training & the support of your family. My hubby & I rotate training for iron-distance events. It's expensive & eats time! I know my hubby could go faster at irondistance. But, I'd prefer keeping our family/marriage strong.



    IM is sexy, there's certainly a growing appeal. I hope triathlon continues growing as a sport & offering athletes of all ages & abilities chances to try its rewarding format.















    Sara Cox Landolt

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