Following injury, what inspired you to get back to fitness and improve your PB? What advice would you give to athletes recovering from serious injuries or life set backs?
Resilience. That’s the buzz word, right?
I’ll answer these questions in 2 separate posts because this will otherwise make for a long read!
What inspired me to get back to fitness was partly for the exact reason you mentioned in your question – to improve my PB. I knew there was more in the tank. I still know and believe that. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t put my body (and mind) through all of this again. By this, I mean the highs and lows of training and competition. Some days you win (jumping 6.60m a European Champs standard in Marseille in my first year & 3rd competition back after retirement), some days you lose (finishing 5th at the UK Champs and European Trials when I truly believed I’d be competing in Berlin at the Euros!).
Internal Motivations: Living with Purpose & Developing Mental-Emotional Fortitude
The sport is harsh. It’s a numbers game. But it’s also politics. So, for me the motivation needs to be more than money and accolades. It needs to be an internal drive to succeed. I have my own metrics that I want to hit. Big ones are PBs and making an Olympic final. “Small”, everyday ones are turning up to the track feeling flat and tired, but still getting a good session in. Those are my victories. And they motivate me to keep going. Because I know there’s a cross-over. Here’s my thought process: if I can bounce back from a rubbish day and still jump within a distance metric for a certain number of strides, e.g. 5.90m from 11 stride approach, then what else can I do?
What’s stopping me from being excellent in my relationships when I’m feeling in a foul mood?
What’s stopping me from building an extraordinary business that creates jobs in Manchester, across the UK, Europe…the world?
What’s stopping me from smiling when bad things happen?
Bouncing back has a lot to do with the belief that I have unfinished business. That’s the physical aspect.
Mentally, bouncing back challenges me to believe that what I first assumed impossible may actually be possible. And then it dares me to apply that mindset to other areas of my life.
Emotionally, bouncing back means learning how to manage my emotions so that I can perform well whether I’m happy or sad.
People often say, ‘I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m happy because these experiences have made me who I am.‘ etc. Honestly, I’m not. Yes, I appreciate them. But I’d totally change them.
Spiritual Growth: Drawing Near to God
Spiritually, bouncing back helps me to live trusting God more and more each day. It isn’t about me and my dreams, per se. It’s about what God has called me to do – a purpose to live an inspired life that drives me forward each day. To keep living. My relationship with God, my Christianity, whatever label we want to put on it, has deepened because of the horrible journey of failure, injury pain, heartbreak and setbacks that I’ve been on. People often say, ‘I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m happy because these experiences have made me who I am.’ etc. Honestly, I’m not. Yes, I appreciate them. But I’d totally change them. I’d love to already have been to the 2012 Home Olympic Games and the 2016 Rio Games. And everything in between. But I didn’t. And I believe that again draws me closer to God because I can never comprehend the why behind the what in life. But I can trust that God is in control.
So I keep going because even if 2020, the journey there and beyond it, doesn’t go as I’ve personally planned and hoped for, there’s power in the journey. And I’ll be a better person because of it. And I’m doing what I love. And I’m giving it my everything. (I truly am.) And I’m unashamed of that now. I can admit I really want what I’m going for – the medals and the distances and the Games. I probably couldn’t do that before.
Ultimately, my mantra that ‘the best is yet to come’ is keeping me going to stay fit and improve my PB.
Part 2: #AskAbs – How do I bounce back from big injuries & setbacks?
So my advice would be to ask yourself a few questions if you’re recovering from a big injury/life setback… (Part 2 coming soon)
Thanks for reading!
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