Monday, 28 February 2011

Recovery - Too Much Of A Good Thing?

There is a lot of literature on various forms of recovery, and a great number of different modalities that can be used to recover. Perhaps most well known are the dreaded ice-baths, where athletes submerge themselves in very cold water (usually about 5 degrees Celsius) for a certain time period, in order to dampen inflammation post-training. Then there are also the new compression garments, which are supposed to help recovery. Recovery nutrition is also a big field, with the discussion of antioxidants (substances which “mop-up” free-radicals, preventing muscle damage) playing a large role.

I am very interested in recovery. But some emerging research has got me thinking. Can we be too recovered? Adaptation to training requires the body to put under a great deal of stress – how the body deals with this stress then causes adaptation. By prematurely removing or reducing this stress, do we alter the adaptation response? Recently, I have been encouraged by my support staff to avoid antioxidants around training, and to reduce the number of ice baths that I have during a heavy training cycle, in order to hopefully increase adaptation.

Don’t get me wrong; there is a time and a place for maximal recovery. During the competition, and pre-competition period, I will have a great number of post-training ice baths, increase my antioxidant consumption, and wear compression garments. But in general training, I am taking a step away from this. What are your thoughts on this, and what are your optimal recovery tips?

Monday, 21 February 2011

End Of The Indoors

So, its all over. In the end I was 0.01 seconds away from making the European Indoor team. The concept of that is difficult - 0.01 seconds is such a minute period of time! But there you go, sometimes things don't always go as planned!

There are plenty of positives to take from the indoors - my technique held up under the pressure of big races. Now I just have to add more speed onto that technique. I also feel like I got some of my killer instinct back, which was missing in 2010 - I feel much more race confident. I also feel like my top speed was very, very good.

I feel like I need to work on 0-30m, which again I guess is a positive, because without doing the indoor season, I wouldn't have known that.

Overall, I feel pretty good. On the face of it, it may seem silly that after my slowest 60m season for 5 years I should feel happy, but I feel like my top speed is better than ever, and 100m is about who has the best top speed, not who gets to top speed first (which the 60m is). So if I have to be 0.1 seconds to 60m to be 0.1 seconds quicker to 100m, I am happy to do that!

Monday, 14 February 2011


Had the National Championships and European Selection Trials this weekend. It was a pretty mixed bag for me. I came 3rd in 6.67, which I am not sure if I am happy with or not! On the one hand, I finished in the top-3, but on the other, I missed the qualifying time of 6.65 again. I have one final chance this weekend at the Birmingham Grand Prix.

One thing I am pleased with is that the "old" me is back when it comes to racing - I am highly motivated, and fighting for the results. Ok, I am running slower, but I have made big changes this winter, and I am learning a whole new running technique. I feel I have mastered the technique, its just a case of adding speed to it now. One thing is for sure, if I am beating people over 60m, I will be beating them over 100m too!

Monday, 7 February 2011


So I began my competitive season with a fairly poor run a couple of weeks a go at the London games, running 6.74, which is actually my equal slowest opener since I was 18! But, to be fair, I had just come back from training in South Africa, and so I was clearly a bit rusty.

I more than made up for it the weekend just gone though, where I had a competition in Germany. I ran 6.67 in the heats, and 6.66 in the final for fourth place, beating the current European 100m Champion in the process. Whilst I am still quite a way off my PB over the 60m, my new coach believes I am setting up the race better, so I might actually run faster over 100m.

Big race this weekend with the UK Championships in Sheffield. My aim is run the European Qualifying time (6.65) and finish in the top-2. Fingers crossed!