Back in the Bubble

This is where it gets testing.

We’ve definitely got our work cut out for these upcoming five weeks.

It’s the second half of the second term. Exams cannot take priority just yet, as there are still three essays, and three presentations which must be completed by 20th March. This will definitely be the most demanding part of the year, likely to exceed the imminent revision scramble.

So what do you do when facing a daunting onslaught of deadlines?

Make a plan, be flexible with it, and prepare for it to go completely wrong. Only that way can it go right, as I discovered during the previous five weeks.

In accordance with this spring’s goals, every week of work is being balanced with training for a marathon, and if that goes wrong, then the physical setbacks are accompanied with psychological setbacks. Productivity can henceforth be lost very quickly.

It’s important to thus ensure small targets are met. Dive in too ambitious, and something will get strained, and that’s a consequence I’ve become all too familiar with.

I’ve therefore decided to take work on a day-by-day basis in my plan ahead of these next five weeks, and fittingly titled it “The Final Freeze”.

We’re in a period where winter shall very soon turn to spring, and the term time tension will soon be relieved. There will be two weeks to perfect three presentations, and the remaining three weeks will be time used to write three essays no longer than 2,500 words.

It’s quite the task, but it’s important to remember that it cannot get any more difficult after this.

Life gets better when we see off the long winter, the most draining season. It begins when the year is about to end, when everyone is already tired and worn out. We then go through an entirely different period of festivities and celebrations before having to once again return to work and start over again, all in the space of one month. Even when the season draws to an end, our work is only really just getting started, and when looking back, the short days actually feel like they’ve lasted an age.

If you’re like me, then spring begins as soon as March rolls around. That’s when the transition from winter to summer truly begins. Seeing as March begins as early as next week, there’s reason for optimism, and that whatever trials we’re facing now will soon become very much worthwhile.

When thinking about what I want to accomplish, and what I have to do to achieve each goal, it becomes evident the extent of how many ‘trials’ I and many others are facing.

In a way, I’m kind of glad I’m starting these five weeks on the back foot, or rather, with my leg elevated and my knee in a support brace.

There’s an irony in my current running situation in that it’s been counter-productive to my overall endeavours. Right now, work is taking my mind off running.

I tried to run today, to take it gently and see if I could gradually return to training, but alas it was evident from the beginning that more time is needed to recover. The damage in my medial knee ligament requires at least another week- maybe more to return to form. It’s an awful feeling. I sat down on a bench in Russell Square Gardens watching other runners go like gazelles while I flexed my knee in discomfort.

Injury has been a serious issue, and something has to change.

And it is exactly these kind of revelations which these problems exist to give. I’ve got to consider what’s going wrong, make adjustments, and improve.

I will be on the sidelines for longer than I wish to tolerate, and I have had to cross off the rest of my scheduled runs for this month. If we want to be dramatic, you could say I won’t run again this winter.

But when I do return I will be ready to approach this training wiser, and with the chance of failure significantly lowered. I’m in the process of creating a three week schedule, in which one week contains three runs while the other two weeks consist of only two. These enables mileage to not jump too high, and the spacing consistently allows two days rest between each run. The runs themselves shall be more mixed, to prevent muscles from straining due to repetitive overuse. I plan to run more on grass, and integrate a very exciting new aspect to my training.

On Tuesday during an economics lecture, Adam introduced me to a gym that was literally around the back of SOAS. When I went for a quick look yesterday, I was genuinely gob-smacked that I had not discovered it earlier. Student Central- the place was an actual haven, with a cafe, gym, swimming pool, and a pretty nifty shop with University of London merchandise. I was excited just by looking around, and with the prices the best looking in all of London, I shall be signing up very soon.

On the face of it, my training looks to have fallen to pieces, but rather, breakdowns lead to breakthroughs, and this can only make me better prepared for what’s still to come. This week has set a standard which I hope to smash four times over right until the end. I’m injured, the freezer is broken in my flat, and I got whacked by customs on one of my orders, yet I know that by next week I’ll have two presentations sorted and the first draft of an essay written.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I can do everything I’ve set out to achieve. The last five weeks got more testing as they went on, yet there are 500 revision flashcards on my desk. I will only stop if it means I can go further in the future, i.e. sorting out this injury. In two weeks time is the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon, and today the race instructions came through in the post. It’s close on the calendar, but a long way off in terms of what I have to do to be ready. I’m looking at these small targets in the context of the long-term goal.

I can do it, and I will do it.

With that in mind, we move forward.


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