7 simple words. Not only is this the title of my latest overly righteous self-help novel (strategically deployed to keep me from quickly getting bored, falling asleep and drowning whilst in the bath), but it’s also a question I try to keep in mind from day to day. The rationale being: where there exists only a short window of opportunity, if something isn’t contributing to helping you reach your goal (in my case: ‘to become the most electrifying man over small fences!’™) then it’s probably either a) using up the time of something that could be OR b) working against you achieving your goal.
Now it’s usually around this time of year that most athletes pander to this theory, reflecting on their previous 12 months, as the deadline for the ‘British athletics transfer window’ looms. Inevitably, one finds themself awkwardly standing in front of a bedroom mirror, prompted to ask:
“What did I do not so well/very well this season?”…“What do I need to do differently/the same to perform better next season?”.
In my own attempt to respond to the above questions, the first light bulb to spark (inside my ironically ‘go-faster’ shaped cranium) hastened to advise that next year it would probably be for the better if I made an effort to GO OVER the first hurdle during races. Instead, of attempting to go through it… whilst trying in vain to pull-off a ‘forward-somersault-one-and-a-half-twist’ as the track surface hurries to greet your face! – if nothing else it’s hoped this might help prevent the recurrence of a rather inconvenient 6 months of REHAB. Oh and missing out on any more minor summer sports tournaments.
Sound advice. I’m sure you’ll agree.
A less obvious but equally useful suggestion, to rack up the Knots, has been to rethink a nomadic weekly commute which has seen me drive/train/bus/tube/sleep-walk between Birmingham, London, Loughborough and my family home in Cambridgeshire, for training sessions etc this past year. Admittedly this was a short-term solution warranted by the enormous, sweet, organic carrot that was ‘London 2012’. However, spending a maximum of 2-3 days per week in each of these locations (so that I could work with chosen coaches/facilities/training partners/medical staff, in the months leading up to the Games) has a Titanic effect on the boat, whatever the justification.
Navigating motorways, dashing down train platforms and being ‘that guy’ – you know, the idiot who gets in everyone’s way, struggling up the stairs at Euston Station as he drags his life contents behind him in an obnoxious tourist-sized wheelie case. (Turns out this is even more annoying when, you, are that idiot). Aside from the physical and mental fatigue, all the above is at odds with aiding recovery from training sessions. Plus, the hours upon hours of travelling/travel planning eats up valuable time that could be spent working a part-time job, or better still, playing FIFA.
So, as rumour has it, I’ve decided to set sail to a single, fixed training base and have dropped my anchor in London – cheap and cheerful I hear you say (!). Not a decision I’ve captained lightly, but if the goal is Gold the motto is: ‘by any means possible’!!! (Disclaimer: minus the Lance Armstrong interpretation of this phrase).
Truth be told, in its current disrepair the boat would be more likely to medal at the next Paralympics, but, as rehab draws to a conclusion over the next few months I am assured that in good time this soon to be super-yacht will be going much faster than you remember!
Thank you for all of your support and well wishes!