For many athletes who competed at Tokyo 2020, the end of an exhausting, unprecedented five-year cycle would have meant a well-earned break from training.
Now, with athletes re-establishing their routines with a packed 2022 schedule on the horizon, how easy – or otherwise – is it to recapture your physical and psychological sharpness straight away?
The BAC’s Athlete Engagement Manager Kristian Thomas, who competed at two Olympic Games, gives his thoughts here.
“I chose to take some time off after both London and Rio, as on both occasions I thought it was important to get away, focus on other things and give myself some time to process the experience of going to a Games.
“I know many summer sport athletes have followed this approach post-Tokyo, which was obviously an even more anticipated and intense experience, given the circumstances leading up to the Games.
“With this in mind, I’d urge athletes returning to training to not hold themselves to their usual, high standards straight away.
“Of course, this is easier said than done when you are at the very top of your game, but it’s key to allow yourself some time to settle back in, be patient, and accept that there will be a degree of inconsistency in your training as you ease yourself back in.
“The beginning of a new cycle is also a blank page that I’d advise all athletes to take advantage of. Now is the time to set your goals and target for the next three years, as we look ahead to Paris.
“Without the immediate pressure of an upcoming Games, take the opportunity to reconnect with your coaches and support staff, using the knowledge and the expertise around you to plan and assess your priorities for the coming months and years.
“When used well, this early point in a cycle can be a really beneficial time.
“However, there is no time limit for processing the events of the last few months. Experiencing a range of emotions post-Games is absolutely normal, and if any athlete is struggling, I would urge them to email firstname.lastname@example.org, to access our confidential, independent support and guidance.”