The One Thing I have in Common With Olly Freeman

Sat – Restttt…

So, I have been stalking Olly Freeman on He’s got a great blog going on there, and it’s really great to see an elite athlete keeping up a pretty regular bloggy habit.

Anyway, I noticed this and it made me chuckle:
” I’ve also hit a couple of PBs in the pool, for 25m and 50m, though both of them came about as a result of my fragile ego being threatened by a 14 year-old Harry Potter look alike (come on J.P. you know it’s true! “ACCIO GOGGLES!”) who was getting within sniffing distance of me on the respective swims. So much to Glenn’s (my coach) amusement and dismay, I suddenly found an extra 0.7secs per 25m. Pathetic isn’t it! I’m just saying it how it is!”

This is not true for the elite only – it is SO true for, well, all of us, is it not?Sometimes you just get that one person that you fix your eyes upon, and for some reason, you cannot help but feel an incessant need to prove yourself to them. Now, of course, i’m generally fixing my eyes ahead of me, and trying to keep up – whilst our friend Olly here was probably kicking ass the whole time. Regardless, it’s good to feel less alone in the slightly vindictive, a teensy bit ego tinted world of unnecessary competition.

That is not to say that competitive, ego fuelling ass kicking is always the way forward in training. There are times in the pool, on the track, when I see someone who is quite clearly in a league far removed – far ahead – of my own. In these cases, I use the alien intruder who appears to be infringing upon my training space as inspiration. This happened last time I was on the cycle track, as I watched a muscle laden speed freak whizz past me and Connie the mountain bike (named that, literally two seconds ago, because I couldn’t just leave her nameless – she’s a Scott Contessa, Contessa being pretty priggish… Connie will do..). All I could do was watch, smile, and nod appreciation. We both stayed there for some time, and I lapped him a couple of times on what were evidently his ‘recovery laps’. In this case, failing to meet the mark was inspiration, other times, knowing you’ve got the edge is enough to achieve a new PB.

When it comes down to it, it seems the answer is that training with others (even if they’re not 100% aware you’re using them as a training mate…) is a fantastic way to improve. Through inspirational pedestal-ing, through persperational self proving, through communal pain. Bring on the race.

Checking out the gym near my parents home tomorrow for the time i’m back… feeling quite excited to try somewhere new 🙂

Published by michellearthurs

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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