When you're a serious athlete you live a life of no half measures. Every training session is flat out (until you're tapering down for competition), there is no challenge, no pain or suffering that has not been addressed by the time the big day comes.
That was my life for a while, and it was appropriate for then. But that kind of approach is not sustainable when you start to live life as an ordinary mortal. I still train pretty hard..and more often than is strictly normal, but different.
And I think that difference is all about cadence and rhythm. Proper athletes build up a terrifying momentum, day in, day out, giving it all. It really hurts at first, and then you hit a groove. The pain doesn't go away, but it becomes manageable, joyful in many ways. The momentum is there, you're on your way, and once the cadence is there, on you go. That's why injury is such a problem, it's not just missing on precious training time, it's having to find your rhythm again.
There's a different rhythm to training for ordinary mortals. At least for me - I can't work to utter exhaustion day in-day out anymore. If that happens, it's so much harder the next day. What seems to work is still working extremely hard, joy in effort, in pain...all that. But now I keep something back. There's an art in going very far, but not too far. That little bit left is kept in reserve for next time, and then the time after that and so on. And a new rhythm emerges.
I think there is something in this for all sorts of things. Especially working in an agency. Let's face it, while it's not coal mining or nursing, it's not the easiest of jobs. We work long hours and we work hard. You find your own way of navigating this - mine tends to be coming in extremely early and leaving relatively reasonably. But on top that, working flat out just leaves you with burnout, and doing bad work.
So once again, push yourself, don't be happy with alright or good enough, enjoy the late night pitch buzz. We're all this because we like ideas, we like the colour, we enjoy a bit if stress. But every day, just try and leave a little bit in reserve. Build up your rhythm, know each night when you leave you have just a little bit left. It puts you in good stead when you have to pull one of those all nighters and, in the end, you'll be better at your job.