World silver medallist Jarrion Lawson is among the world’s best long jumpers. The 8.58m jumper says his biggest challenge is the ongoing task of keeping his body intact.
Maintaining peak form
“The greatest challenge for me is to stay healthy. If I manage to do this, I know everything else – like the power and the speed – will come easily to me. I just need to take care of my body. Staying on top of everything to allow me to produce my best is why it is such a challenge.
“I first realised the importance of looking after my body during my time at college. I struggled with patellar tendinitis for a couple of years. It was something I had to keep an eye on and not let slip. I was in pain for two years. It was uncomfortable and it restricted me in all areas of training.
“To help overcome that, I’d go the trainer room every day and I’d do everything the trainer would ask of me. I can’t remember the specific details, but I know I had to do a number of muscle-strengthening exercises around the knee. It was quite tedious having to get up every morning to carry out the exercises, but over time I got used to it.
“It was only when I jumped 8.34m for silver at the 2015 NCAA Championships that I finally believed I was over the knee issues. It was a very exciting moment for me.
“Keeping my body healthy is still a challenge I face today. I try to have regular massages and physio and I carry out exercises every day in the training room to stay on top of any injury niggles.
“This year I’ve had to cope with a gluteus muscle injury and I’ve had to work hard to conquer that. Only by doing this has it allowed me to compete and perform consistently. I have to constantly keep working on it.
“If you want to keep your body 100% healthy, you can’t let your standards slip.”
Steve Landells for the IAAF