It took me a while to get to sleep last night. I was getting a bit excited about being allowed to warm up with the team playing Canada today!
Now for those of you who know me you'll know my feelings on warm ups! I really believe that what you do in your mind to be ready is the most important before a game, physiologically there is clearly a need but it doesn't mean I enjoy it. I often wonder how many warm ups I've done in my lifetime: in the last week I've done 12, which is quite typical, so that multiplied by the number of training weeks and years I’ve been playing it must be getting close to tens of thousands. This surely makes my feelings on warm ups more understandable, today’s warm up though was a special one.
One thing I’ve not mentioned up until now is the role of nutrition on my recovery. This is something I’m extremely conscious of anyway as over the years I’ve learnt to appreciate the impact it can have on performance. The last two weeks have been particularly crucial; due to the increase in training my susceptibility to illness has also increased, and getting ill was something I couldn’t afford to happen. Supplements have played their part: fish oils, vitamin C, creatine, beetroot juice, cherry active are all things I wouldn’t normally take but my nutritionist wanted to not leave any stone unturned.
|Daily supplements which have massively helped my recovery|
I know I won’t get any sympathy for this comment but one of the hardest challenges for me has been to get enough calories in! I’ve been getting up early to make smoothies, and eating snacks left, right and centre to get the right amount of carbohydrates and protein. I’m a really slow eater though and sometimes there just isn’t enough time for me to eat enough food. It did at one point take me back to my U21 England days, when the coach would force me to stay at breakfast and eat toast against my will. I’d sit there for ages, chewing away, trying to get it down me and I hated it.
I definitely feel better and very strong for all the calories. A few test results have shown that my legs have grown in size by two to three centimetres in diameter and I’m more powerful because I can jump higher. Even though I know it will be tough, this is really encouraging for when I return to hockey this week.
I’m obviously looking forward to returning to the group and joining in training for the first time since February. It will be weird to be back as my identity for the last eight weeks has been as a rehab athlete, where I’ve been in control of my own training, working with a small group of professionals who have all done all they can to help me and I’ve become comfortable within that environment. Now I need to change to being a hockey player again, getting my astro shoes on, checking I’ve got my stick, shin pads and gum shield. I’ve worked incredibly hard to be here at this point in time and this is the time to not let up and keep pushing on.