New goals: a break from competitive sport

Competitive sport at any level is very goal driven. There are short term goals for every training session and local race, which may well be part of three years of long term preparation for a single significant event.

I have taken a break from flatwater kayaking, but it is still my sport. I still have an ultimate dream: to represent Great Britain at the World Championships. This is now a very long term aim, no longer something achievable at this year.

This break allows my body to recover from five years of very intense training, and many niggly injuries. To make the most of this time, I still need short term goals.

new goals after a sudden change in plans

You don’t immediately become less driven after competitive sport. Olympic sprint cyclist Victoria Pendleton is an amazing example of this. After retiring she took up horse riding, and within a year of first sitting on a horse achieved fifth place at Cheltenham 2016!

Likewise, I need new goals to keep me happy and motivated, even on a break from kayaking. My six main aims this year are:

  • Allow my body to recover. This means no more intense training twice a day, and a full rest day once a week. In this goal I am including a proper diet: healthy without calorie restriction and lots of fear foods.


  • Daily stretching. A running and kayaking background has landed me with extremely tight hip flexors and (self diagnosed) anterior pelvic tilt. I want to fix my posture as much for my confidence as for my physical health.


  • A walk a day. I am really enjoying more low impact activity and prioritising health over achieveing certain targets. Even a 20 minute stroll in my lunch break lifts my mood.


  • A 10 second handstand. I don’t want to be a cliche, but after being snobbish about yoga for years i’ve finally tried it for myself and i’ve fallen in love. Inversions look so cool and a handstand is something ive always wanted to be good at.


  • A 19.30 parkrun. I’m a naturally competitve person, I need some targets that seem impossible! This Christmas I ran a sub 20 minute 5k for the first time in three years. A break from kayaking gives me a chance to give other sports a try.


  • A yes person. I’m used to saying no in order to prioritise kayaking. Now i’m saying yes. Yes to seeing friends whenever, yes to trying new things and yes to travel!!!


You don’t have to be a sports person on a break to find yourself needing new goals. Perhaps you’ve just quit your job to focus on a side hustle. Perhaps you were made redundant.

I believe that if I choose to return to be kayaking, I will be stronger for the break. However I know I need goals to make the most of this time off.

Favourite inspirational quote incoming: 

The trouble with not having a goal is that you can send your life running up and down the field and never score – Bill Copeland.

I really hope you enjoyed this post!!! If it interested you, why not read on about my experience with high level amateur sport?

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Fed up of my own lack of self confidence holding me back. This is me trying new things, pushing myself outside my comfort zone and sharing my love for sustainable fitness.