All Access

Hey folks. As per usual let me take the time to apologise for how long it’s been since the last post. It turns out the final year of a University degree is actually very difficult in more ways than one. It’s taken a full two weeks to get round to properly composing this post after the original idea came into my head. Anyway, lets get to it.

Here’s a photo I posted on Instagram a few days ago (@jl1297 on the very slight off-chance that anyone is interested). I decided to take the gravel bike on a mini-adventure. No time limits, no training plan and no Garmin to look at. It was one of the most enjoyable rides I’ve had in a while, despite a few very dicey bridleways. Being of my generation I of course felt obliged to put it out on social media. My news feed on various platforms is full of photos of a similar ilk. People riding in exotic places, showing off new bikes, winning races, shredding trails, etc etc.

That gravel ride was in actual fact the sole high point of the week for me. What went on during the rest of it? I had a horrendous head cold for the first few days which made it next to impossible to get any Uni work done. The remainder of the week was therefore spent madly trying to catch up on everything I’d missed, not forgetting the three important deadlines approaching. That, coupled with some slightly tricky personal circumstances which I won’t go into on here made for a fairly torrid week.

At the moment the real picture stands in stark contrast to that glossy photo. You know what – it’s been bloody hard. Difficult to try and fit in any training at all around the pile of work I have building up. Tough being single when most of my friends are in happy relationships. Next to impossible to get enough sleep and eat healthily if I also want to have a social life. To be 100% honest with you all, I’ve just about had enough of this term.

My goal of qualifying for next year’s National 10 is starting to look less and less realistic. Finding the time and motivation to ride is becoming increasingly difficult. There’s no point whatsoever in trying to come up with a structured training program at the moment, the best I can do is fit in whatever I can on the rare days when it’s decent weather and I can afford to give myself a break from studying. At a stretch I’m doing just about enough to maintain my fitness; two or three rides a week plus a couple of gym sessions and the odd run. Not bad in the grand scheme of things but nowhere near what it would take to start the process of taking my performance to the next level.

In short it’s not exactly been enjoyable recently. I’ve spoken on here before about some of the past struggles I’ve had with Mental Health. Depression is one of those conditions that can creep up on you and sometimes make it very difficult to get on with the life you’re trying to live. Truth be told it’s well and truly started to rear it’s ugly head over the last couple of weeks. If it wasn’t for the medication I’m taking it would be hard enough to get out of bed in the morning let alone train or study. When this semester ends in three weeks I’m going to have to take some time to focus on my wellbeing in order to get back on track again.

So there we have it folks. Probably not the most cheerful thing you’ll read today. Nonetheless I hope that it helps to drive a point home. It’s incredibly easy to paint a rose-tinted picture and pretend to the outside world that everything is fine when in actual fact it can be a very different story behind the scenes. Mistakes, failures and setbacks are an inevitability in Sport and in any other aspect of life. If times are tough take heart from the fact that there’s no way you’re the only one. Oh, and it’s also completely okay to talk about it.

Thanks for reading.

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