Monday, 20 January 2014

That familiar feeling

This past weekend saw me compete for the first time this season at the Southern England Championships at Lee Valley. I’d picked up a minor injury a week before the big day, but after a good physio session I was feeling much better, and had a really positive final training session two days before the event. The two weeks leading up to the day were quite intense, with some really difficult sessions focussing on very specific mechanical issues with my running. I try as hard as I can not to get frustrated when things aren’t going as I’d like, but am often my own harshest critic, and was close to letting this frustration get the better of me on a couple of occasions. I lost just over 4kg in those two weeks through a combination of training and stringently adhering to a diet high in protein and green vegetables and low in carbs. It quickly becomes very boring, but the discipline of it helps with the focus that’s necessary across the other factors that have a role in maximising my performance. I ultimately finished 5th in my race at the Southern Championships, and looking back I feel quite disappointed with my overall performance. I’d had sufficient rest, eaten well, and was relaxed when it came to competing. However, I felt my performance lacked the explosiveness that I craved, and that it wasn’t a performance which was a reflection of the hard work and dedication that had gone into my preparation. I’m moving much better than I was last season, and now feel as though I exert less effort to move more quickly and more efficiently. However, when I came to racing, whilst I was making the right movements, I never truly hit top gear, and it had the sensation of being more like a training run rather than potentially the biggest indoor competition of the season. Having been timed as being quicker in trainers in training than I was in spikes in competition, I know that there is enormous room for improvement. The top three from the final in the 60m are now all ranked in the top 20 in the world, so I at least know that the standard was sufficiently high to be a genuine barometer of my progress and a stark indication of how far I still need to go. My pursuit for some financial support for everything through sponsorship has lead me to a couple of potential leads, but nothing really concrete yet. I’m optimistic that I can get something sorted this season to allow me to be more professional in my approach, chiefly around physiotherapy and massages to aid my recovery. Whilst I’m much improved in this area compared to this point a year ago, I’m still a long way away from the level achieved by the really elite athletes. I’ll continue to learn from those around me as much as I can, and draw upon their greater experience to aid my own progress. As my training partner says: “training is the opposite of hoping”; I won’t hope for greater progress, but dedicate myself more fully to the certainty that I can achieve anything if I totally commit myself to my ambition.

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