On the 30th of January I was invited to the Plymouth Herald Sports Awards by the University of Plymouth Sporting Excellence department. The awards are held annually and recognise those who are competing, volunteering and coaching elite and grass roots sport in the southwest. This year I was on a table with fellow sporting scholars and university staff. There were notable appearances from impressive sporting individuals such as Tom Daley. It was very humbling to celebrate other people’s achievements and recognise the efforts that people working behind the scenes put in to help athletes achieve their goals.
For the last two weeks I have been training in Cadiz with the British sailing team as part of our winter training programme. I’m really lucky that I get to travel the world doing stuff I love, but there are always draw backs to being away a lot. Missing friends and catching up on university work is the biggest drain on me at the moment. Its always hard at the end of a long day of double gym sessions and a sailing session, followed by long meetings and debriefs to sit down and get into “university mode” for two hours each evening. I wouldn’t change my lifestyle for the world though, when it gets really hard I have to take a bit of time out and just relax to help refocus. Running is currently my saviour for this. It allows me to gain time for myself, where it is just me and the elements and no other stimulus that I have to deal with. There’s nothing like running and exploring beaches, coast roads, ports and cities. It’s a great way to see diverse culture and a good way to stay fit.
In Plymouth there’s quite a few nice runs that I like to do. From where I live, a good route is to run up to the hoe, down through the barbican, over to Queen Ann’s Battery, then across the bridge over towards mount batten. This is quite a lengthy run so make sure you back yourself! If you’re looking for something a little shorter, over at Saltram house there is a quick 5km-running route, which is really nice. It’s out of the city, so Ideal as Plymouth can feel a little small at times (where everyone knows everyone at uni).
If you are away travelling a lot, it’s really important to eat properly. When I’m away competing I always try to cook from fresh or go to restaurants where I know the food will be fresh and packed full of healthy vegetables. Airplanes are the perfect place to catch an illness, so make sure you pack the berocca and stock up on multivit. It’s massive for me if I get ill competing, as it can completely ruin an event. I always try to make sure that I have a number for a trusted doctor, whichever country I’m going to (this is pretty unnecessary if you’re just going away on holiday). However if you’re looking to compete at international events at an elite level, there’s so many ‘controllables’ that you can sort pre event to ensure that you’re always at your best!