Injury or Opportunity?

I’ve not exactly tried to hide it, the last couple of weeks I’ve struggled with an injury. It’s something I’ve known has been coming for a while, but been a bit too lazy to sort. Though in part I should cut myself some slack, with gyms shut it wasn’t as easy to do thorough strength & conditioning!

452A2303It’s not your classic injury: overtraining, lack of rest or an unfortunate accident. Instead it’s more an imbalance and a shift in my body, that’s causing discomfort on the bike. 

There’s no real issue, nothing me or anyone around me are worried about. But a lack of gym work over the last few months has uncovered a past demon that I’ve not been vigilant in correcting.

So what does that mean? Well, a bit less cycling, a bit more gym work and a change in focus. Working on other areas. My run, swim & some exciting business prospects.

A couple of weeks ago I tied up a 100km running week, we’ll 98km if you’re counting… something which I’d have been close to anyway, but a fun milestone none the less. An extra 8km I ran Saturday shut the gap further – into marathon training we go! 90km, 80km, 90km, just clocking up miles Monday to Saturday, then going all in on a key marathon session Sunday mornings.

452A2267At the moment there’s an overriding sense of calm. Unusual for an athlete that can’t train fully due to injury?

It all fell into place for me a couple of weeks. I was heading to Kettering for a bike fit. A 2.5 hour drive each way, followed by some work in the afternoon to make up lost time. 

I had a 75 minute run to do with some hard hilly tempo. 

All the usual questions, how am I going to fit it in? Could I swap days? Will I manage it? What if I did if there? How tired will I be in the evening? What will I eat before it?

452A3594In the end it was a fairly simple solution. A 3:40am alarm. 

A slow breakfast, followed by an hour of work while my stomach settled, into a 5:30 start, and a big hit. An hour of work already ticked off, I was ready to dance.

It was probably about 6:05am when the penny dropped.

I was rattling across the roads half way up Bosley cloud, a fairly big hill just out the back of our town. Not a person around. I’d completed an hour of work, watched the sun come up and I was now hammering my way through 20 minutes of hard running in the hills, squeezing out everything I had. 

My lungs were burning, legs were tired, heart racing. 80% of me wished I was still in bed. But I felt so alive. I was getting faster, and you were still asleep… (probably). 

It takes a different breed to wake up at 3:40 in the morning. Well really, that’s the middle of the night. And it just reminded me of a younger, more naive version of myself. We used to be on the river to row at 5:30am, 4 days a week. We never questioned it really.

Now, nearly 7 years on, I was back at it. We never trained for races, medals or kudos. Not to impress others, brag about times or achievements. But pushing to the limit and testing the motives. Bringing out the best version of myself, regardless of anything else in the world.

452A2806It was there, in that moment that I remembered just how lucky I am, and how much I love everything that sport gives me. How there’s nothing that’ll hold me back from applying 100% of myself to the task at hand – getting faster. Day in, day out. All 366 of them this year towards the same goal. 

Since then it came full circle. A week dragging myself out of bed, hauling myself out the door and battling through each session. Nothing feeling quite right, never ticking over nicely, never the effortless spring in my step that the great sessions bring.

A never ending work load hanging over me, limited sleep and too much on outside of training. But still, day in day out, I’ve been ticking the boxes and working towards the goal. Some days you roll out of bed at 3:40 ready to knock it for 6. Other days I’m up at 10, breakfast, hydration, coffee, , tv, work, phone calls, another nap, and it’s 2pm before I’m ready to go.

I never let myself make excuses, I never cut myself the slack, I’ll never be the athlete that “just” missed one session. I’ll never give my competitors the satisfaction of knowing I was having a forced day off while they were out there crushing it. Because when it comes to crunch time, these are the times that’ll pay.

When you know the why, the how is pretty simple. 

So a small injury and no bike? No worries. I’ll still be hard at it, and I’ve got other opportunities to be working on. 

1 reply
  1. Gillian Lightfoot
    Gillian Lightfoot says:

    I love the paragraph where you talk about training and pushing the boundaries’ not to impress but to bring out the best version of yourself. I agree it has defined you and someone very close to me. Work hard not for praise but your own selfworth.


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