World Champs: Preparing for the biggest competition of your life
This month I am ecstatic to announce that I have been officially selected to race in the GB U23 Lightweight Women’s Quad at the World Rowing U23 Championships in August 2016. Selection time is fantastic yet terrifying; we spend all year training relentlessly towards this moment and when it arrives it is clear that the real challenge has only just begun… to race against the best in the World.
This year, the World Rowing U23 Championships are held in Rotterdam, Netherlands and are combined with the Junior & Non-Olympic Senior World Champs. Therefore making it the biggest event I will have ever competed in. I am currently on a training camp with my crew, coaches and the rest of the GB squad, 1 week out from the championships. We are putting in a lot of miles and tough training to ensure we are in the best position possible to stand on the podium and bring home the medals.
How do you make sure that you peak at the right time? How do you prepare your body to be in the best shape possible? How do you mentally prepare to race at the highest level you have ever experienced? These are all questions which I’m sure are relatable to any athlete heading into a big competition. I am very fortunate to be part of a great setup run by the GB Rowing Team with amazing support and facilities available to us all, but here’s a list of a few things I find important in the preparation:
This is a weekly plan of what training you will complete each day at specific intensities (often written by your coach) to best prepare your body physiologically for the competition. Whether it be low intensity aerobic sessions or higher intensity threshold or anaerobic pieces. This personally allows me to visually and mentally break up the training block before a competition and means that I complete all the right sessions so that when I sit on the start line I can trust that I have a solid training base under my belt.
This is something I am very passionate about. Food is the fuel that allows you to complete your training and in order to ensure you are in the best shape possible it is a must to get this aspect right! Eating well and nourishing your body with plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein and the right carbohydrates can not only reduce your susceptibility to illness (especially when training so regularly) but it can be the difference between a podium position and not. Meal planning and prepping allows me to easily replenish the energy spent during training so that I can recover fully and repeat the same level of training day after day. During competition, recovery is key to keep your performance at its best and so being organised with appropriate fuel can aid this!
I am very sure that a huge part of being an elite athlete is not only to be physically strong but to be mentally switched on too. Training up to 3 times a day is draining and
when your body is telling you it can’t push any harder, your head has to override this and push on. I find that approaching every session with a
positive and rational mental attitude allows me to be productive and get the most out of every session, especially when working with others. At times it is grueling but it’s much easier when you’re smiling! Knowing that you have pushed yourself and given your best effort each day in the run up to a major competition can fill you with an unbelievable amount of confidence which speaks volumes in a racing atmosphere.
I will be writing for KYMIRA while I am at the World Champs so be sure to read my blog afterwards to see how my crew and I get on!