Lionel Sanders: I Am Not Addicted To Triathlon Anymore

Lionel Sanders says he is still the same person who was addicted to drugs and alcohol, but he has learned how to avoid being hooked on triathlon.

Sanders was speaking on the latest episode of Face-to-Face for the Super League Triathlon podcast. As well as covering off topics such as his rivalry with Jan Frodeno, the future of the sport and whether he can still win Kona, he also revealed a lot about his psyche and accusations that he is now just addicted to triathlon.

He refutes the claim and says over time he has learned how to keep things in perspective.

He said: “I think your core doesn’t change too much. What caused me to abuse drugs and alcohol to that level is the same underlying thing that allows me to be all in on triathlon and it’s just learning your natural tendencies.

“What I learned when I started to focus on triathlon was to change a negative addiction for a positive addiction, but of course there can be problems with any form of addiction so over the next ten years I tried to figure out how to not be addicted to it such that if I ever lose the capacity to do triathlon or exercise I would continue to live a sound life and have sound mental health.

“You can never answer if you have achieved that because I would like to exercise until the day I die, but I am in a pretty good place and I don’t feel like I am addicted to this any more, but when you have a bad race you start to question it a little bit.

“I have learned so much about myself from this sport and there is still a lot to learn.”

Addiction in endurance sports can be incredibly unhealthy and is a topic that has been much more discussed in recent years.

For his part, Sanders said: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being addicted to something. I am addicted to food. I am addicted to water. I never went a day without either of them. There’s a lot of things that we need and exercise we truly need, and I need to function at my best capacity.

Arena Games Triathlon Montreal 2023 Mens Fiinal

“You can go down the wrong pathways when it’s the outcome that you are looking for, maybe winning, and if your sense of self is all wrapped up in winning or whatever. First and foremost this is good for me and I like exercising and I have the privilege to make money from exercising. I would do this for free. I would do exactly the same if I didn’t have to work.

“I have had to tease apart the good things and the bad things. But only one guy gets to win, so if the whole sense of worth is on winning then that’s horrible. If you have the privilege of winning that’s great, but it’s the daily grind and the lessons you learn.”

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