Friday, May 20, 2011

Unhealthy perfectionist

I was reading an older Runner's World the other day and cam across quiz. 

Many runners are driven, but if your quest for excellence knows no bounds, you risk injury and mental burnout.

Take this quiz to see if your high standards are appropriate… or harmful.

True or false?

Too much of a good thing?

1) I often go a full week of training without taking a day off

TRUE (define day off – I’m an active person.  I almost never take a complete day off, unless during a taper)

2) It would ruin my day (maybe even my week) if I missed running a PB in a race I’d trained hard for.


3) I don’t feel well, but I’ll still do my scheduled 10-K. I’d feel too guilty to skip it or cut it short.

TRUE (depends on ‘don’t feel well’.  If injured I will skip the session with NO GUILT)

4) I only sign up for races in which I think I can win my age group.

FALSE (who is going to show up?  can’t control that.)

5) I expect almost every run to be better than the last.

TRUE (depends on the purpose of the run – such as a scheduled time trial or intervals – that is the goal – BETTER)

6) I’d feel guilty if I decided to do a relaxing run on my favorite trail instead of my weekly speed workout at the track.

TRUE (depends what is on the schedule – I have relaxing runs in my schedule already)

Answered mostly “True“? You’re an unhealthy perfectionist.You push hard, are rigid in your approach to training and set goals that may be unrealistically high.

Answered mostly “False“? You’re likely a healthy perfectionist. You still strive to perform well, but take a balanced approach and enjoy the sport.

The are a lot of depends in my answers.  But it looks like I am an unhealthy perfectionist.  However, I could easily take out the depends a have a more balanced profile.  I don’t like the term unhealthy perfectionist, I prefer the term driven.

The results of the poll do not surprise me, however, I do question the conclusion.  If you answered mostly FALSE does that make you a healthy perfectionist?  I think not.  In my world, answer mostly false and you will have someone who takes lots of days off from training, does not achieve their goals, skip workouts when not feeling well, except under performance and avoid hard workouts.

If that is the definition of a healthy perfectionist then I would never achieve anything.

Are you a healthy or unhealthy perfectionist?


Tri4Success said...

I agree with you. I can see where a bunch of TRUEs (without a qualifying "depends") would be an unhealthy, excessive approach. However, concluding that a majority of FALSE is a healthy perfectionist? What?!?!? That is bad logic in so many ways.

Lindsay said...

i think i used to be more "unhealthy perfectionist", sort of along these lines (but not every point the quiz makes is necessarily "right" in my opinion). now i've chilled out a little. i used to be a lot harder on myself for missing a day/skipping a run/not ace-ing a workout... i think i once complained about a 5k race i did where i came in first place female because my time "wasn't good enough to be winning a race" (it was a small race). i should just enjoy the fact that i won period, when is that gonna happen?

Nelly said...

Interesting quiz - I pretty much would answer the same answers as you except for #1 and #6. I like to take at least 1-2 days off per week to rest. And I like trail running a lot, and don't really like speed work that much, so I wouldn't mind swapping that speed run for a trail run.

Austin said...

you're right on man. it would seem that someone who just jogged a bit when they felt like it would "ace" the quiz. not a real athlete, ya know?
i wonder if that's just the readership RW is pandering to??

Matty O said...

Good post. I am on the cusp. I don't care about winning so much as finding the best performance out of my body :)