How to balance studying and your sport...
Last year was a year of huge changes for me - I moved away from home, started studying veterinary medicine and was also selected for the Scottish canoe slalom performance team!
It’s been difficult to adapt to all these changes but I have learnt a lot from it.
My main issue was that there weren’t enough hours in the day for all the things that I was trying to fit in. My training stepped up massively to 13 sessions a week plus travelling to training camps all over the UK at weekends. All the people who told me “Vet? That’s a lot of work isn’t it?” turned out to be entirely correct. I’d also underestimated how much time shopping, cooking, washing etc would take. Trying to make friends in a new place was important to me and I had to make time for that too. So, all in all, a bit stressful!
In the first few months, I tried to do too much and ended up burning out. This meant I cut down on the nights out and concentrated on what I really wanted (and needed) to do. Planning is also essential too because at the beginning of every week I make a plan of what I need to do each day and make sure I can fit everything in.
I think planning food is really important. As an athlete nutrition plays a big part in performance and I try to eat healthily. What works best for me is cooking a couple of big batches once a week then freezing portions and this saves me money as I take food to uni with me. Uni can also be incredibly stressful, with deadlines and insane amounts of work, and planning ahead can avoid a lot of unnecessary stress!
When I’m busy it’s far too easy for things like food and sleep to slip down the priority list. I did this in the first term and the quality of my training and the amount of work I could do reduced drastically. I also think it's important to take time off so I try to have some downtime each week. I really enjoy watching a film or having a meal with friends and this gives my body and my brain a much-needed break.
The most important thing is to take care of yourself and then hopefully everything else will fit into place!