Have a break, Have a Kitkat!
With the racing season drawing to a close for many track athletes the time comes to have a well deserved break. For me that means two weeks without running, two weeks when I wake up and have no training commitments.
My break is always welcomed with open arms. I relish the chance to take a breather and allow my body to recover and more than anything else allow my mind to escape. I love running, I love racing, and really love being a professional athlete but at times you just need a little time away. To try all the things you just don’t get to do when you are in hard training and racing.
So you may wonder what an elite athlete does on their break. I can’t speak for everyone but I (and a lot of my friends I race with) love the chance to eat WHATEVER we want. So rice crispies for breakfast, a tube of pringles in one sitting and as much cake as I can get my hands on is just the beginning. I like totally relaxing when it comes to diet. During the year I don’t follow any strict diets or unusual fads, I prefer to ensure I have a healthy balanced diet. That means I don’t completely avoid a biscuit after my dinner but I do eat pretty healthily all year. So my two weeks off I just eat whatever my heart desires… this also serves to sicken me by the time the break finishes and make me not want to eat junk food for a long time!
The food is just one part, I love sport and being active. When you train twice a day every day you don’t really have the opportunity to do an extra cycle or go rock climbing or hiking. I make sure I make the most of no running by filling that time with the fun things I don’t usually get to do. All those activities that I have to avoid in order to rest. At the end of every track season Team NB Europe meet up and have an funfilled weekend. The team surpass all my expectations year after year. Our weekend this year kicked off with canyoning down a roaring river in the middle of Wales, followed by scaling a shear cliff face and abseiling down. Then a “gentle” stroll up Snowden to top off the weekend. Not to mention the nights of craic around the camp fire. Such a chance to let your hair down and meet the NB Team mates in a more relaxed enviroment is fantastic and the activities get the adrenaline pumping.
So I’ve ticked eating cake, fun activities that my coach would usually frown at, the final piece that makes up my break in spending time with those closest to me. I spend a lot of my year on the go. The racing season see’s me travel on and off for months and training means my time is usually spent running or resting. That means I get home very little, so a trip back to Portaferry is always on the cards. A quick message to all the siblings to co-ordinate plans for us all to make the journey home gets me more excited than a child at Christmas. Growing up I never thought that having our whole family of six in the house at one time would bring me so much joy. So the break is topped off with some much needed family time then I’ll ease back into the miles with a refueling store of motivation and energy.
For me my break is just as important as any other part of my year. It’s a chance to step back and evaluate the year that passed. To recharge the batteries, and to rekindle that fire for the seasons ahead. I feel it’s important for everyone, no matter what level you run at, or what career you pursue to give yourself some me time. Life has a way of always keeping us busy, so every now and then take yourself off the grid, and allow yourself to have those guilty pleasures and tick something off the bucket list. You’ll not only feel happier for it, but it will amaze you the results a simple break can have on your progress in the future.