Imani Lansiquot on Tokyo Olympics, bread-making and Zoom calls

Making bread, wrapping up her studies, finding new ways to be faster and re-learning how to be motivated.

“It has been a tumultuous year to say the least,” British sprinter Imani Lansiquot says.

The Sky Sports Scholar reveals her battles on and off the track and her hopes for the next 12 months…..

“It’s been a strange period of time filled with online dance challenges, lots of bread-baking and Zoom calls!

On a more serious note, this year has been an opportunity for so many of us to really take the time to focus on self-reflection and self-motivation outside of our normal environments and routines.

It has been a period where, for once, we were forced to unplug ourselves from the intensity of our individual bubbles and brought together to collectively fight and support one another through what has been a traumatic year.

Personally, it has been a year of many ups and downs. The postponement of the Olympic Games was a bitter pill to swallow, as Tokyo 2020 had been an event etched into my mind from when I first watched Super Saturday at London 2012.

I always imagined myself being ready for 2020 and instead, I was presented with the challenge of staying ready, whilst everything felt out of my control. On the other hand, there have been some huge successes.

I finally saw the end of my Psychology degree at Kings College London and I won my first British title over 100m in September.

Here are my top three things that this unique year has taught me, hoping it might inspire or relate to someone reading this who is also trying to figure out what they can take away from 2020!

One thing I’ve been terrible at in my life is organisation. Call me a classic university student or maybe a stereotypical sprinter, but before 2020 I was terrible at organising myself around training.

I struggled with organising my university deadlines, getting mentally prepared for sessions or even keeping on top of the small things that make a huge difference, such as stretching, nutrition and sleep.

Having the luxury of my indoor training facility taken away, alongside my gym facilities, medical support team and university peers, I really felt I was doing everything on my own. In that moment, I had two choices – crumble under the chaos or take control over my own routine and make sure I was achieving my clear goals for the day.

I began to write a shortlist of daily objectives before sleeping, and this was a great habit that helped me stay motivated towards my process without relying on other people to push or help me along the way.

Routine not only helped me tick off my training and studying goals, but was also great at providing peace of mind whilst everything in the world felt so uncertain and scary. It’s quite a simple thing to do but was extremely effective and is something I’ve continued to do.

After speaking to so many colleagues and friends, something many of us struggled with during 2020 was packing our days with random tasks and activities, to avoid feeling like we had failed in achieving something with our day.

After about two weeks of running out of random tasks, I realised I was at risk of burnout. One thing 2020 taught me was that rest is just as important as work. Sometimes, doing things that aren’t necessarily in pursuit of an achievement or end-goal also hold value.

Don’t feel like you are taking a step back by not being productive, because sometimes that pause button is what you need to function optimally. I vividly remember days where physically, I felt I was on the brink of burnout without my usual physiotherapy schedule.

Alternatively, there were days where I felt overwhelmed watching the latest Covid updates. I would take the time to ‘unplug’ myself and do something of zero importance to feel like myself again. Having a break ensures you are keeping your cup full.

A post shared by Imani-Lara Lansiquot (@imanilara)

My training schedule often follows a similar format during the entire year, with the changes around the program mainly focused around speeds, racing and fitness levels.

Due to its repetitive nature, there were days where I would boss a session, and then weeks later, where perhaps my fatigue levels were higher, I would struggle to get through the day.

This was especially highlighted when my training sessions were transferred to the grass where I was slipping and sliding and feeling even more tired than usual!

One thing that really helped me to attain consistency was focusing on making sure I gave 100 per cent. Whether the output of the day was outstanding, or a 3/10, I was going to make sure that it was the absolute best I could do.

This consistency in my efforts slowly elevated the overall success of those ‘not so good’ days, and I found myself getting better across the board every day. Even if it’s going to be 3/10 day, try to make it the best 3/10 you can possibly achieve!

Overall, 2020 was a huge learning curve – sporting-wise and personally. The lessons it has taught me will especially feed into what will *fingers-crossed* be another stab at making my first ever Olympic team in 2021.

Although it has been extremely challenging, it gave me opportunities to mature and grow as an athlete. Let’s all hope for a safer, saner (and hopefully faster) 2021!

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