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Win4Youth – Blog Post #3: Progress Is Progress – Big or Small!

Sophie Barnacle talks about her progress and overcoming a few injuries in her latest Win4Youth blog post!

Blog #3: Progres is Progress – Big or Small!

Here’s a fun fact for you. Last year, I started competing in fitness competitions as a way to keep me motivated and engaged at the gym. It provided me with an end goal, a focus and has allowed me to learn what I am capable of and how to keep improving.

Before my application for W4Y, I had a schedule of competitions booked and a training regime, mostly weight training and some cardio too – but a very different focus to the 3 disciplines in a triathlon.

The W4Y training coaches have been amazing at understanding my commitments outside of the triathlon and tailoring a training regime that allows me to continue to be on top form for my competitions, as well as on track with all my swimming, cycling and running.

And then arrives my birthday, on the May long weekend. I have a jam-packed few days of relaxing at a spa, dinner but mainly, honestly, training. It’s time-consuming and you have to be disciplined to make sure you can fit it all into any day. But it’s fun for me!

So after 3 days spending 2 hours in the gym, going for a birthday hike with friends, and then finishing the weekend off with an endurance bike ride of 2.5 hours, I was exhausted.

Bertie bike

I charged into the week ahead at 100 mph between work, gym, swimming pool, running track and cycling. And then on Thursday I couldn’t walk. I had done something to my back (which admittedly had started as a small twinge) and was in severe pain with muscle spasms.

An emergency session with my physiotherapist confirmed that I either had a sprained lower back or a bulged disc. Either way, the diagnosis was rest, ice, and pain relief. Absolutely NO training for 5 days at least.

I was diligent with following instructions, but it took everything in me to remember I had to give it time and be patient. I had a competition in less than two weeks, and a triathlon in 4 months that I had to get better for. As frustrating as it was to not be able to train, you don’t mess around with a back injury.

Little by little, my mobility came back and the pain was subsiding. My physiotherapist advised me to try swimming or cross-training to reduce stiffness to aid recovery further.

Really? You are recommending I spend time swimming – the thing I have been struggling with the most! But taking pleasure in small mercies, at least I could get back to some form of training.

Sometimes you can turn a negative into a positive; this was one of those moments.

I was so restricted in what I could do so swimming became my go-to workout. As they say, practice makes perfect. I spent time on my breast stroke, as this caused the least amount of aggravation to my lower back, and became more comfortable with my breathing technique too. In turn, this has helped with my front crawl as well!

After only a week and a half, the back injury became an almost distant memory. I am still not back to a full training schedule, but I continue to improve every day. And the silver lining is I have actually swum 1500 m, which I never thought would be possible.

Injuries can completely stop you in your tracks; you have to listen to your body including the small twinges.

But the most important lesson for me is that progress is progress, whether big or small. Sometimes you get thrown a curve ball, but that doesn’t have to stop you from moving forward!


Sophie Barnacle




Sophie Barnacle 

#lovewhatyoudo #Win4youth #Win4youthNA

About Win4Youth

As part of the international Adecco Group, Adecco Canada participates every year in Win4Youth, a global sports initiative organized by Adecco to raise money for youth foundations around the world. This initiative sees Adecco colleagues, associates, and clients from around the world working together to raise kilometres in order to meet (or exceed) the annual target set by Adecco S.A. If the target is met, the Adecco Group donates money to a select number of foundations chosen for that year. Since the program began in 2010, it has become an important part of our corporate culture because it fosters two of our core values, responsibility and team spirit, while at the same time promoting an active lifestyle.

‪#‎Win4Youth – what does it mean to our 82 ambassadors? Watch the video here:

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