Training has been going extremely well. Every practice in the pit feels better than the last which is really encouraging. I am managing to take something away from every training session and really build on it. My training has also been much different than ever before because I am reluctantly taking a ‘less is more’ approach.
A lot of people already know this but along with being a jumper in high school, I was also a distance runner. I ran a 2:21 800m in grade 9 and also had a couple top 50 finishes at OFSAA cross-country (the glory days). I think that weird phase of my life (talk about an identity crisis.. what was I thinking!) instilled a belief in me that the more I do in training, the better the athlete I will be. Distance running helped me develop a killer work ethic – I always want to go above and beyond and do more than what was asked of me. I knew what absolute physical exhaustion felt like (can we talk about the OFSAA 2009 cross-country course at Boyd? That hill still haunts me), so I was always willing to work myself to that point in practice because I didn’t fear it. In fact, I liked the feeling of physical exhaustion. It felt good to have literally nothing left in the tank at the end of a workout.
Well, that might work for distance runners but jumpers.. not so much! Up until this year, I have continued to do more than what was asked of me. More weight when lifting, faster speeds when tempo running, more reps when jumping – whatever it is, I want to do more. Even aside from training, I believed the more the better. When I’m not at the track, I’m thinking about track, or talking about track, or watching videos about track. In a way, I’ve prided myself on this. I thought my extra efforts in practice and my ‘all track all the time’ mentality was me going the extra mile, and I thought that one day these extra efforts would pay off. Well, my extra efforts paid off alright, but it has been in the form of injury and near mental burn-out this past indoor season. This is no one’s fault but my own. Luckily, it was a very eye-opening experience for me, and I have finally learned my lesson.
So what was the lesson? I work TOO hard. I try TOO hard. I want it TOO much. This is a really hard thing for me to accept – really, REALLY hard. Every time someone used to tell me I wanted it too bad I would have to hold back the tears of frustration. How can you work too hard? How can you want something TOO much – or more puzzling, how do you try to want it any less? I am discovering that for me, it’s all about smart work rather than hard work (but don’t get me wrong, I’m still working hard!). I don’t need to be going above and beyond, I just need to do what I am being asked to do and do it WELL – quality, not quantity. This seems so obvious now that I’m typing it and I can only imagine how obvious it sounds to you while reading it, BUT, I really do think that distance running as a kid just brainwashed me. Yeah, I’ll just blame the running.
So now for the more difficult question, how do I not want it so bad? Well, I am trying to find hobbies and interests outside of sport so that I can expand on my identity. To be completely honest, a part of why I invest so much into this sport is because I really don’t know myself in any way other than ‘Caro the athlete’. I have already nailed down an awesome volunteer position at a really amazing organization for the summer and I have also been looking around for a part-time job. If anyone has any other suggestions to help keep me busy and prevent me from another track and field overdose, let me know!
Main message: for some people, less is more! Hard work isn’t necessarily about quantity. Everyone is different, you just need to learn what works for you!
-My name is CARO, and I am a recovering trackoholic.
PS. I SALUTE YOU, DISTANCE RUNNERS! KEEP DOIN’ YO’ THANG!