THE chance to defend my AAAs title this weekend would have been one of the highlights of the season, so not being able to compete in Birmingham is a serious disappointment for me.
That 800 metres race last year was a memorable part of what became my most successful season to date, so obviously it’s very frustrating to miss out on the meeting.
But now it’s happened, there’s not a lot I can do about it, so my attitude is to take it on the chin and move on. It has taken me several weeks to shake off an ankle injury, but the good news is I’ve now been able to resume running. That means I can put this disappointment behind me, and look forward to racing later in the season, possibly at one or more of the World Challenge meetings.
I know how the injury happened, and I’m sure it won’t happen again. The positive side of my training is that, although my schedule has been disrupted considerably by the injury, I’ve stuck to a rigorous regime. That means I’m in a far better state to get back to race fitness than I would have been if I’d let things go.
Basically, my programme over the last few weeks has been as demanding as it would have been on the track. The key difference is that it has mainly been carried out in the pool at Loughborough or on an exercise bike.
The day usually begins with a session of running in the pool fairly early in the morning, then it’s some physiotherapy and some strength-and-conditioning work. After lunch I might do more physio, have a rest for a couple of hours in the middle of the afternoon, and then around five o’clock either have another pool session or another session on the bike before stopping for dinner.
I’ve resumed running over the past week or so, but on top of that schedule, not in place of it. Gradually over the next few weeks I’ll cut down on my cross-training and replace it with more running.
Although for a time I was unable to do any running on the track, in cardiovascular terms I’m in really good shape. They monitor us constantly here so we know what state we’re in, and that has been one thing that has helped me get over the disappointment of the injury.
Still, as I said, there’s nothing to be gained by dwelling on that disappointment. When you train at high intensity as an athlete, you have to accept that the demands you make on your body mean that in effect you’re walking on a tightrope. Sometimes you fall off. I’m not the only British athlete who had a successful season in 2012 but has had injury problems this year. We all have to deal with our ups and downs, and it’s simply a fact of life that everyone gets injured from time to time. Being in the best position to deal with those injuries, both physically and mentally, is the important thing.
There are positive aspects to every situation, and one of them for me was being able to go to see my sister, Carly, compete at the UK Police Championships recently. She won the 100 metres and the high jump. She’s given me a lot of support in my career, so it was good to be able to support her when she was competing for a change.
One other consolation is the fact that if I had to accept a time to be injured, I’d rather it was this year than last year or next. Winning the AAAs in 2012 was the start of a spell which saw me become European champion and compete at the Olympic Games, and next year I will have that European title to defend as well as hopefully taking part in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The trials are taking place a little over a year before the start of the Games, so they will give everyone an excellent chance to see how Scottish athletics is faring against the rest of Britain. As far as I can see, we have made significant improvements over the past year, but no-one else is standing still either so it will be good to find out how our athletes measure up.
Eilidh Child, for one, is having a superb season, which is fabulous to see. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s lost count of the number of personal bests she has run this year, because every time I hear about her taking part in a meeting it seems she has run another.
Then there are Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir, Chris O’Hare, Kris Gauson and Jake Wightman, who are all enjoying really good seasons. I’ve watched Jake progress for a few years now, and I’ll be particularly interested in finding out how he and the other Scots get on in the GB Under-20 and Under-23 teams at the European Championships.
Compared to several years ago, we now have a really strong group of Scots who are regularly challenging for GB selection, and I hope as many as possible do themselves justice at the weekend and win their events. But above all, I just hope that everyone else can stay in one piece.