It’s all just a balancing act. Being a full-time student, aspiring to be an inter-national athlete, having a social life, getting enough sleep, and having to do my own cooking, shopping, and washing, I bet you’re wondering how I manage it?! It’s all about getting a balance and figuring out what is most important. Yes, there are lots of people out there studying a degree whilst playing a sport. But I am pretty certain they are not training daily, and frequently, twice a day. If you want to pursue a sport properly you have to dedicate your time to it. Whether you be at Uni or at work, or simply at home.
A blessing that comes with being a motivated athlete is my tendency to stick to and follow time schedules. I am not someone who can go into a day with no plan of what I want to achieve, or get done. I need to know as soon as I wake up what I am doing that day and when it is being done. I know, if this is done, I will be able to fit everything in. It does mean there is little time for pondering or flexibility, because if something has to change, something else has to give. Some people may not work well when up against time constraints and deadlines, but luckily, I do. I know if I have 4 hours to work before training, then those 4 hours have to be spent doing work. There is little time to be dismissing and postponing work, as training also has to be done. I would never consider missing a training session because I had too much work, therefore, in order to stay on top of it, I have to do my university work in the given time I have free. This year I am very lucky as I don’t have many contact hours, therefore I am able to plan my day of training and working myself, and manage my time to my advantage.
Balancing training and university can mean there is little time to sit around and watch the TV, but I don’t mind that. TV can be watched over lunch or dinner, the rest of the time I spend doing work. Being an athlete and a full-time student does come with what some people may call, sacrifices. Personally, they do not seem like sacrifices to me, as I don’t enjoy them anyway, but to a lot of people, I sacrifice the ‘university life’, but to me it's a choice I choose. If you are serious about your running, or sport, there is not much time for a social life. If you enjoy going out clubbing twice a week, balancing training and uni work may become a struggle, and they don't exactly work hand in hand together. Fortunately, I couldn’t think of anything worse than going out until three in the morning twice a week, when I could be tucked up in bed, recovering for a day of training and working the next day. You don’t have to sacrifice every ounce of a social life, I do stretch myself and go out clubbing once a year, you can go more than that if you wish!! I still go out for dinner with my friends on occasion, and have movie nights with my housemates, I just have to be wary of managing my time around training and university work, and ensuring I'm not tired.
I have found running whilst at university extremely positive. It has allowed me to focus on running and give my all to the sport I love. University is the perfect time to see how far you can go. I have also found it a perfect way to meet like-minded people with similar interests. I have met so many amazing friends through the university running club, it’s even how I met my boyfriend! ;).
However, once I decided running was something I wanted to take seriously, I realised all the extra activities I did had to go. No more netball, no more hockey, it’s all about focusing on running. When I decided running was something I wanted to take to a higher level, I had to reduce the other extra activities I did.
If you are an athlete considering going to university, but slightly sceptical about balancing the work alongside your training, do not worry. University is the ideal place to focus on the sport you love and pursue it to where you can take it.
Take a look at the final video I did for Mizuno...gives an insight into how dedicated I am, and how much I love this sport.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!