Ice packs, aqua-jogging and Dr Diagnosis
Long-haul economy flights on a hangover; the music of Damien Rice; interminable chats with your partner about where your relationship is heading while you are in the pub trying to watch the Lions in a crucial Test match.
To the list of things that combine boredom and dismay in equal measure can be added a new one: aqua-jogging your way to a one-hour decathlon.
It wasn't meant to be like this. The slope was already steep enough as it was - learning nine new events from scratch in just over three months, bolting a 1500m on the end and trying to do it all in the sort of time that Terry Griffiths used to take sizing up a single safety shot.
That was before last week's hamstring horror while training with Dean Macey. Unsurprisingly, if there's one thing that makes decathlon training even harder than normal, it's having an injury that prevents you from running, jumping and throwing. Trouble.
I'd been due to head up to Loughborough to do some pole vault training with British number one Steve Lewis. I'd been looking forward to it immensely. Steve is a man who loves his event so much that he talks to his poles. If a little bit of that happy madness could rub off on me, I'd reasoned, my chances on 30 August could only be improved.
So much for best-laid plans. Instead of leaping with Lewis, it's on the couch with Craig - otherwise known as Dr Ranson, physio for UK Athletics and the exactly the sort of nerve-calming expert a panicking man needs in these circumstances.
My decathlon dream hangs on Craig's diagnosis. If it's a grade three tear, I'm finished, at least for the next three months. I don't think it is - I can walk, even if it hurts, and there was no popping sound when I felt it go on the Canvey Island track a week before - but I'm no medical expert. Equally it feels worse than a grade one (10 days of recovery, back to it). Grade two? Even within that classification, there are a whole range of smaller categories. A bad grade two and there'll be no hurdling until August. There'll certainly be no sprinting, and that means no long jumping, no squat-thrusts, no return to the Dean and Daley Show until the competition is within touching distance.
There is prodding. There is poking. There are movement tests and strength assessments, grimaces at the stiffness of key muscles and shakes of the head at a laughable lack of flexibility in others.
First the bad news. "It's a grade two," says Craig. "Your hamstrings are ridiculously tight - you can't get your leg past 60 degrees, while Dwain Chambers can put his foot past his ears - your hip flexors are a mess, and your IT band is standing out like a fence-post."
Then the good. "It's a low-end grade two. Depending on your rehab, we're looking at around 22 days."
I limp down to the indoor track and watch Steve and training partner Kate Dennison in action as I do the sums in my head. 22 days - let's call it three weeks. Add in the time already spent out of action, and I'll have missed just under a month of training. It's not ideal - I've only done two sessions in each of the technical disciplines, and I'll be losing at last eight more now, let alone losing the conditioning and general fitness so necessary for the event - but it's certainly not disastrous.
I can still compete. I can still make it.
I'll be as undercooked as gazpacho, certainly, but then I was always going to be. Gazpacho Fordyce - wasn't he an idealistic forebear who went off to fight in the Spanish Civil War?
There is much at be learned from Loughborough. Watching Lewis and Dennison leap to new PBs from a vantage point just a few feet from the uprights teaches me more about vaulting than any number of articles on the internet ever could, particularly with national coach Steve Rippon talking through everything that's going on.
The role of UKA's high performance centres becomes patently obvious - the best athletes in each event pushing each other on, coaches always on hand, with perfect all-weather facilities at their disposal and expert physio back-up just a shot put away in the same building.
Then there's the perspective on my own injury problems. I know what's happened is almost meaningless outside the narrow confines of a personal challenge, but it's brought home by the sight of Goldie Sayers wandering through the indoor training area without a javelin anywhere near her.
Sayers is out for six weeks with a partial stress fracture of her lower back. She's hoping to be back in time for the World Championships in Berlin, but it's going to be tight. And painful. And probably need some big injections with some very long needles.
Javelin isn't just a three-month experiment for Sayers. It's her life. She's been the best in Britain for six years, missed an Olympic medal by just 38cm and was targeting Berlin as her first global podium.
Despite all that, she's resolutely upbeat. There's no whingeing and no feeling sorry for herself, just an offer of a throwing lesson when my own comparatively minor injury has healed up.
The example has been set. No moaning, no what-ifs.
For bedtime reading, a snappy little article from the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy called 'Comparison of Two Rehabilitation Programs in the Treatment of Acute Hamstring Strains'. For the battered body, hardcore deep-tissue massage.
It's enough to make the aqua-jogging seem positively pleasurable.