Injury may have clouded his Daegu campaign, Mitchell Watt writes in his first IAAF Online Diary, but a silver lining affords the long jumper the opportunity to minimise risk in the lead-up to London 2012.
“Welcome to my 2012 diary, an Olympic year diary.
“I achieved a lot in 2011, however it did not end the way I had hoped. I was the Samsung Diamond League Trophy winner, set a new Australian Record and Personal Best of 8.54m in Stockholm, but I was left wondering what might have been after an Achilles injury plagued me in the weeks leading into Daegu. I was left in the strange position of being disappointed with a World Championships silver medal.
“On the bright side, under Australia’s selection policy that means I am pre-selected for the Olympic team. That takes quite a bit of pressure off the domestic season and means I’ve been able to focus on the longer term.
“I haven’t competed at all in the current Australian season. I’m sure the other Aussie jumpers would like the extra competition, and the fans would like to see us out there as well. But I’ve got to look at the big picture and I’m sure athletics in Australia will get a lot more out of seeing me do well in London than in going out and jumping in Sydney and Melbourne.
“When I got back from Europe last year I was beat-up from competing and pretty sore. I had about a month off, maintained my regular physio and massage routine throughout my break, and started training in October.
“The Achilles still wasn’t feeling that great, so we went back into another 3-4 weeks rehab phase and started again. I was getting a bit frustrated by it all. However, I wanted to begin my preparation for London feeling 100% healthy.
“But training since middle of November, while not every session has been perfect, I’ve been getting a good volume of work done. That includes pretty well every session I usually do, but just not quite the intensity I’d normally have this time of year.
“For example, I’m still running in my flats for a lot of sessions instead of getting into spikes.
“Obviously I would love to be jumping and competing again, but with the delay post-Daegu, my coach and my team all feel I would benefit far more from staying in a tough training block, rather than traveling around the country and trying to compete. We’re trying to minimise risks this year.
“I’m sure some people would think that me not competing means things are not going that well, but I’m quite happy with the way things are going at the moment and so is my coach, Gary Bourne.
“Strangely, I’m not finding it frustrating, rather enjoying my time away from the runway, and primarily focusing on my running, rehab, and gym work. Right now, I know this is the best thing for me, so to miss a couple of competition isn’t bothering me at all.
“My goal is to keep the consistency in my training from now until the end of May, getting better week-by-week. I won’t go to Asia like I did last year. The plan at the moment is to open up in the Samsung Diamond League in New York on 9 June and then go on to Europe.
“It is a shorter season with a lot less jumps than last year, but last year I was coming off injury in 2010 when I didn’t jump at all beyond World Indoors, so I felt like I needed those extra jumps in 2011.
“I know I’m coming off the back of a really good season in 2011 and that I jumped really well early in that season. That comes fairly naturally to me. Most athletes need to work their way into the season, with half a dozen competitions. I’ll still be doing that, just a bit later in the year than normal.
“There are a few things that can take the place of competing at the moment. For one, I’m going to be studying at university part-time this semester on my law degree, so that’s a good distraction.
“I know by missing these domestic competitions I will be extremely excited and ready to go in June. The best thing for me now is to keep training, and keep conditioning my body to the point where I am ready to jump.
“Until next time,”