“There’s a strange feeling about currently, as if things are changing constantly, a new rule, a major change in society each week, just to bring us back to where we were five months ago. What ever the new normal is going to be, we’re almost there. This month I was due to be competing in the 20km race walk at my second Olympic Games, in Tokyo, hopefully bettering my 6th place finish from four years ago in Rio. Instead, I’ve been gardening (still) and have now started a part time job as a site manager at a Premier League football club overseeing the Covid-19 tests for the players and staff.
I’ve pretty much written off competing this year. Instead I’ll target some heat work in preparation for Tokyo. Our heat strategy, to make me capable of working at a higher intensity at extreme heats, has become very amateur. Instead of training in environmental chambers or in hot conditions in South Africa to Australia, I’m going straight from training and jumping into a hot bath at about 42C for about 30minutes every other day.
We are all waiting for gyms to reopen, so I’m still swinging weights around my front room and doing squats in the garden. I’ve no idea what my neighbours think I’m up to!
It’s certainly another mental challenge, as the dates roll by from what would have been the Olympic opening ceremony, to my actual race day and other Olympic highlights. Athletes dedicate their entire life to these single moments, to make years worth of work pay off, or not. I’ve been competing internationally since 2009 so I’m used to motivating myself when things haven’t gone to plan, but I’ve never missed a full season like this. At least everyone is in the same boat and I’m now fit and healthy and training well again.
I know some people have been cautious about venturing out, but we waited a week or so before we visited any restaurants or pubs, but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves when we did. It’s great to see the level most places have gone to, to give us all a safe space to enjoy ourselves. Harry and I went hiking around the beautiful scenery of Yorkshire back in July which was a lovely escape from the recent normality of being limited to home.
I’m starting to look at potential training venues in Europe or perhaps further afield for the autumn, when winter training begins. Travel is slowly becoming more normal again, I look forward to some focused training at altitude or somewhere hot very soon, we’ve certainly missed the sun here in the UK so far this summer.
Now training has resumed to normal and I’m able to train twice a day most days and the heat work has begun, I’ve also been able to see my regular physiotherapist who has helped me return to full fitness, it all makes me feel like a lot is changing quickly – but also just like in society, it’s just to get me back to where I was before. I’ve certainly learned a lot about myself and what is important during this time. I won’t be taking any travel or racing for granted in the future, and the mental and physical rest from competition may well have done me a huge favour going into the Olympic season. Let’s see how the next few weeks go, perhaps I might find a race, but for now I will be enjoying walking fast, keeping fit and preparing for the winter preparation for next years Olympics! Lots of preparing, hopefully it will all be worth it. Feel free to get in touch via social media @TomBosworth or via my website www.tombosworth.com with any questions or topics you’d like me to cover.
For now I’ll wish you a very sunny August, stay safe if you’re braving the travel for a holiday and I’m really excited to bring you the next chapter of this strange year, when hopefully I can say, with less than a year to go until the Olympics, our focus is fully back to Olympic success in 2021.”