Updated: Jul 15
Trust the process, the results will take care of themselves
In July 2004 I broke the World record for the 800m and subsequently then went on to take the gold medal at the Athens 2004 Paralympics, Not saying that was a long time ago but the races were recorded VHS tapes, Nothing better than having your moment of glory recorded on a format that no longer exists.
But what did that very short period of 3 months mean and ultimately teach me for my future career.
I could say it was the world record that really launched 2014, but it actually started 11 months before. Sports people understand better than most that we are only ever as good as our last performance. I finished the 2003 season world indoor champion and European outdoor champion over 800m. But that alone would not carry me onto success in 2004, I was the man to beat. My rivals would be out training harder than ever, doing everything in their power to knock me off the top spot. My coaches view was simple, last year was just history, Ayo was very good at keeping us focused on the future, rather than living off of past achievements. So in September 2003 the hard work began. Firstly we needed to lay the foundation, my base fitness. Long endurance sessions to give me the strength and resilience to get through the summer track season. Although we did not constantly focus on the upcoming Paralympics, it was always in our thoughts, and formed the basis of my training programme and race planning. As the winter passed and the track season approached in late April I knew I was in the best shape of my career and I found my thoughts started to turn to the prospect of breaking the World Record. I knew it was well within my grasp, I had been smashing the times I would needed to run in training. Every time I stood on the start line I knew that if I went through the bell in 56 seconds I was in with a chance, and every race I either executed the first lap but couldn’t get home in a World Record, or went out to fast and paid the price in the home straight. I was so focused on the end result I was forgetting all the fundamentals of running my perfect 800m race.
As the season progressed and still no record it was time for the British championships that would also double up as the 2004 Olympic trails. These were held in Manchester, and yes you guessed it, July in Manchester could mean only one thing, cold, wet and windy. No chance of a World Record, only one thing left to do? Concentrate on all the aspects of the race and try and get a good finish.
I went into the race relaxed, the gun went I ran the first bend hard to get up to speed, I settled into position on the back straight, worked the second bend, held my speed down the home straight to take the bell. Now I had to work into 3rd bend to maintain my speed, down the back straight for the second and last time was about getting into a good position, making sure I didn’t get boxed in, as I hit the last bend it was time to start winding up the pace, not sprinting, just gradually picking it up, now in to the home straight, it may feel like you are sprinting at this stage, but the legs are burning as the lactic acid is pumping through your body, all your focus is on holding your form, that is the only way to maintain the pace. I crossed the finish line and waited for the results. All I was interested in was my position rather than the time, had I scraped through to the final? Lets face it, a wet and windy day in Manchester was not a day for breaking a World record that had stood for 6 years. Then the results finally came up on the screen 1:53.27 a new World Record. I hadn’t beaten it, I had smashed it by over a second.
So how did I run the fastest race of my career on a cold, wet and windy day in Manchester, something I would never do again in my career. It was simple I resorted back to everything I had learnt and practiced in training over the past 6 years.
The reason we train is to instil good practice and learn new skills, but when the pressure is on old habits and traits will soon find their way back. This is why athletes never take it for granted that good practice will prevail in a race situation. Every warm up and training session is designed to enable us to perform on the biggest stages.
How often do we prepare for high pressure situations in business, or do we just hope that our previous experience will get us through because we are to busy to invest time into being better prepared.
1404 Performance will show that by using our 6 module process you can create a high performing team to give your business a competitive advantage and outperform others.
Do you want your business to become history or a high performing record breaker??