Q&A with Michael Rimmer (800m/ European Silver Medallist)
Is goal setting important to you. If so, how do you use it?
Yes, very important. I have overall goals and then I try and set myself what is called foundation stones which are like my everyday short term goals. So, obviously my one major goal is the London Olympics so in aiming towards this I have broken down 6 areas of my life which are tactics, equipment, nutrition, psychology, lifestyle and fitness as my foundation stones. Then I break down these areas further to identify what I need to do to either improve or perfect. They are all a combination of marginal gains that I need to improve as a whole – so they may even be really simple such as remembering to pack the right kit or get enough hours sleep.
I have these set out on a simple chart on my fridge and every day I give myself a mark against each one in terms of how I feel I have done. Obviously you are looking to mark yourself the highest you can. This should steer you towards improvement and you can take confidence in knowing you have done everything you possibly can. It can be time consuming getting the initial plan down but once it’s done it’s really easy to continue.
With so many areas to think about, how do you keep motivated?
Obviously it can be difficult at times... I am not superhuman. I have a normal life away from the track and enjoy having a social life. But giving myself a routine and breaking things down means I am seeing the bigger picture and I know that falling down on certain things will have a knock on effect.
I am a huge Liverpool FC fan and would love to go every week and you’d think that it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But when you break it all down, after a hard Saturday morning session, probably the most intense of the week, going to a football match is quite significant. I am expending energy, sat in an uncomfortable seat, I may not get chance to eat properly and all this is in a period where recovery is massively important. I am not sure Steven Gerrard would sacrifice his recovery for me in the same way! So there are lots of different types of motivation.
What role does self belief play in what you do as an athlete?
Again self belief is hugely important. There is always a little voice in your subconscious telling you to fear or worry but it’s trying to take a step back and think about things logically and honestly.
How do you handle failure?
Not as good as I should do. I try to go into a race knowing it could go a number of ways. I can’t guarantee I am going to win but I try to go in there knowing I haven’t left anything to chance so I can only do my best. However I am still quite hot headed and don’t react well initially if I haven’t done well. But I go away and calm down, then I will start to reflect on the race and where I need to improve.
We'd like to thank Amy at The Wells Sports Foundation for making this interview happen. You can find out about them here