When I started training this time last year, I had no race experience, no expectations and no idea what to expect. This year it's a little bit different. After a small break I am now back into a full time training regime, but this time as a world champion.
Getting back into training has been much harder than I thought it would be. During my break from training, all I could think about was getting back into my regime and starting to work towards my next championship. During my break, I got used to having the extra time to see my friends and family and to concentrate on building my business, but now I am training again, I don't have that free time. It is a reality of training that I had forgotten about, but I love my sport and I love training for it, so I have accepted this reality and am dedicating my time to training.
The other issue with training is that I now have something to compare it to and with that comes the pressure. How much training was I doing this time last year? What splits was I running? How many hours did I spend on the bike? What if this season isn't as good as last season? What if I fail? Endless questions going round and round in the back on my mind. The biggest question of all though, is why? Why am I doing this to myself? Questioning myself and the constant self-doubt will not help me, I know this, and yet every morning of my new training block, I would wake up unable to shake that cloud of doubt in the back of my mind. So many people have told me how 'mentally tough' I am to be able to block out the pain when I'm training, so miss out on seeing friends and family, to put training first etc., but if that's the case, why am I experiencing this doubt.
Success is brilliant, but it is a double edged sword. For me, the joy of success comes with the fear of failure. The key is how you use that fear. I can't be afraid to try; I have to use the fear to push me forwards, to motivate me.
I am now at the end of my second training block, and also the end of the year, and am feeling a lot better and much more positive. New Year's Eve is a time for reflection, a time to look back on the past year, and for those as critical as I am, a time to assess and analyse the ups and downs of the last 12 months.
With reflection out of the way, it is now time to look forward to the year ahead. With my first competitive duathlon 6 weeks away, it's time to up the intensity of my training, block out my demons of self-doubt and worry and battle the elements to build some speed!!
Last year was incredible, better than I could have ever imagined. I achieved my goal, surpassed it even! 2015 taught me that anything is possible and that if you work hard enough, you can achieve your dreams. 2016 is a new year and with that comes new dreams, new ambitions and new challenges.
All I can do is try. Train hard, work hard, stay focused and committed. If 2016 isn't as successful as 2015, it really doesn't matter, because I know I will have done my best, and that really is all that matters.