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Pacing the Olympic Season - BAC Blog Series - Anna Watkins MBE

Pacing the Olympic Season

What a year we have ahead, those of us in summer Olympic sports. For most sports, our major 2015 competitions are over and we are at that time of year where we take a short break before gearing up for what may be the biggest opportunity of our lives.

For me, it’s a little different. I’ve had three years out, and two children, so instead of following the usual rhythms of the year, with fitness allowed to be coming up and down, I am in the middle of a non-stop 15 month charge to Rio. There’s no room for a break for me, I have too much of a mountain to climb. That doesn’t change the fact that there’s a full 10 months ahead of training, trials, selection, racing and more training to negotiate before I can even think about packing my bags for Brazil.

So how do you approach the months ahead? If I am successful in my comeback this will be my third games, so I do have a bit of experience as to how it all works. Here are my top tips.

  1. Look at the whole year, not just the next hurdle. Don’t picture the year as a series of trials, because the training is the top priority and the trials are only feedback as to how that’s going. It’s the training not the trials that will get medals.

  2. Allow yourself to switch off sometimes. You can’t live the whole year at full throttle so practising switching between being ‘on duty’ and ‘off duty’ where you are allowed to think about anything but sport. It’s a really useful skill.

  3. It’s not a good year to get injured. Listen very carefully to your body or you won’t get to the start line.

  4. Be clear about goal setting. Set ‘smart’ goals- look it up!

  5. Don’t read about yourself in the papers. Your mum will be making a scrapbook anyway and you can catch up any time.

  6. With twitter etc. have a plan so that you don’t have to tweet when you’re busy. Use a scheduling service or get someone else to take over.

  7. Stay in the moment. If you find yourself getting anxious, force yourself to concentrate on only what you are doing right now and just do that well- it’s all you can ever do!

  8.  Enjoy the good bits (Selection day! Kitting Out Day) and remember what an awesome privilege this is even when it’s stressful.

It’s pretty simple stuff but the basics really do work. Good luck with your year ahead and remember the BAC is always here for impartial and confidential advice and assistance.


Anna Watkins MBE

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