No Pain, No Gain

I can barely believe an entire month has passed since my last post… time has flown! – although not because I’ve been having fun, that I can assure you. The week beginning the 3rd October marked the first week of ‘Winter Training’ and each week since then has been a steady progression of pain, soreness, breathlessness, disgorge (- who knew there was a posh word for vomit?), oh and did I mention pain!… In fact I’m pretty sure my coaches could go to prison for some of the sessions they’ve set me… Anyway enough of my wining this is completely normal for Track & Field athletes at this time of year (or so my coach tells me!). Basically the general plan is to put in 12 solid weeks of hard graft, literally breaking myself down to build myself back up stronger, faster and more technically proficient; before beginning preparations after Christmas for the upcoming Indoor Competition Season (Jan to March). The plan = so far so good, this is my first ever Winters Training where athletics has been my primary focus (rather than academics: GCSE to A-Level to Law Degree, and then last year my graduate job as an elected Sabbatical Officer) and I’m absolutely loving it!!! It’s so good not to have to rush through a gym session in order to dash off to a Tax Law lecture or have to cut short a track session so I can dart off for a Trustee Board meeting.

The area where my training has perhaps benefited most is the time not spent training – I’m always keen to receive advice and wisdom from those more experienced than myself as I’m a firm believer that if possible it’s always better to learn from the mistakes of others or those witnessed by others than to falter yourself – and on countless occasions I’ve been told by ex-athletes, coaches and elders that rest and recovery from training is as important as the training itself. So the new found ability to implement recovery strategies for after these near-death experiences (also known as training sessions) has been priceless; afternoon naps, DVD marathons, strategised replenishment and a lot less stress than I’m used to, has kept me fresher and better able to  survive quality sessions back to back! 

So I’ve just about settled into a tunnel-visioned routine of 6-day a week training with 1 day of rest and I’ve also added some finishing touches to a team that is behind me all the way. In the sense that whilst athletics is largely an individual sport it’s most certainly a team effort every time I run a personal best time or win a medal. ‘Team Julz’ (as it’s narcissistically known) comprises of my Lead Coach and Taskmaster Eli ‘The Boss-lady’ Binks who’s nurtured me since I was first spotted in 2004, my family, a Sprints Coach, an S+C coach and 2 S+C assistants, my Physiotherapist and 3 support Physios, an Osteopath, a Biomechanist, a Sports Therapist, a Sports Psychologist, a number of associates and my Sponsors [YOUR NAME HERE] ; ) It’s been great to add Tony Jarrett to this list this winter, a Hurdles coach and living legend in the sport of athletics (one of the faster hurdlers of all time, his accolades speaks for themselves). It’s a privilege to learn from someone who has been there and done it all in my very discipline, he has a talented group of young and hungry hurdlers who are brilliant training partners and to benefit from a true athlete perspective in ones coaching and approach to competition is something few athletes are fortunate enough to have.   

 

Aside from running myself ragged around a track and paying people to lie me on a physio bed and inflict pain *cough* Poora Sohal *cough*, this month I’ve also continued to work with a whole range of projects based around giving back to sport and providing inspiration and motivation for young people through the intrinsic values of sport. I really enjoy working with young people in this way, sharing with them my experiences as someone who has hugely benefited from sport through education; I did a presentation on behalf of my sponsors Blue Mountain Water to the Midland Bursars Group a couple of weeks ago on this very topic, much aligned with the beliefs of ‘Right To Play’ a fantastic charity I collaborated with during my job last year . At the start of the month I went to a national training day in Loughborough for Sport England’s ‘Sporting Champions’ scheme which was a real learning curve, aside from continued professional development it was also a lot of fun for a ‘big kid’ like me and a rare opportunity to hang out with accomplished athletes from other sports; such as Olympic Cycling medallist Bryan Steel, GB Sailing’s Sam Breary, England Rugby International Rachael Burford and Olympic High Jumper Brendan Reilly. More recently I was invited to the BUPA Birmingham Great Run (half-marathon) to launch ‘Sportmakers’  (see photo below) on behalf of the Birmingham Sports Partnership with ex-England footballer Geoff Thomas and the Lord Mayor – who I found out to be a bit of twitter don – needless to say no way in hell was I taking part in the run itself but it was a great occasion, congratulations to all participants! …That’s all for now folks…

Happy Halloween!

~ Julz ~

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About JA

professional athlete
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