Magness & Marcus, 2020 – The Fine Line Between Serious and Obsessive

Recommendation – 5/5


In order to do something in a healthy and sustainable way, the primary motivation should not be the end result but rather the day to day process. A growth mindset rather than outcome oriented. When identity is tied to results, inevitable failures can become debilitating. Insecurity can lead to overworking.

Run every day. Sometimes train hard to get stronger and faster. But intense training drains the well. Enjoyment fills it back up. Easy runs should be restorative. The goal should not be the work but the enjoyment. Sometimes you may lose sight of what you enjoy. You may need time away from the sport to rediscover your love for it.

How much stress can an athlete handle while also being sustainable? What is the smartest way to spend their limited stress? Polarization can help- be all in, then all out.

Testosterone is a key hormone in muscle recovery. In high school runners can handle extreme training and bounce back quickly because of the testosterone and growth hormones that accompany puberty. It’s basically natural doping. But there are many examples of elite high school runners who tried to maintain that after high school and their bodies broke down. Testosterone production can be increased through drugs, but there are also natural methods. 20-40 min. of strength training is the sweet spot for runners. The goal should be building mobility and general strength. Pair this with no alcohol and plenty of sleep.


Music can be work or it can be restorative. How the two should be balanced depends on the students. Some will want intense musical training, and you can offer this in balance with play. Others may be burned out from other classes or life outside of school and may be seeking restorative musical experiences. Most of all, be cognizant of the ways in which you drain and restore their wells, and the ways in which these are unique for each student.


Magness, S., Marcus, J. (Hosts). 2020, June 1. The fine line between serious and obsessive (No. 109) [Audio podcast episode]. In Magness & Marcus on Coaching.

Further Reading

The Growth Equation Podcast

Greg Lemond’s Complete Book of Bicycling, chapter 6: Training and fitness for the serious cyclist

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