Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Training Begins

In order to focus on my training I have recently moved back to Leeds to commence on a new training regime, leaving Nottingham City Council’s Adventure Team and the National Water Sports Centre which is now closed for renovations. With the GB freestyle team selections in March and the World Championships less than a year away, I am back in training, using the winter season to work on fitness, nutrition and fundamental skills and techniques.

Once again I am very fortunate to have a number of people helping me with my training without whom I would not have been able to reach the level I am at now. To all of you who have helped me along the way I would like to say a massive thank you for all your support so far and I look forward to continuing working with you in 2009.

Over the last few weeks I have been working closely with a team of specialists from Carnegie Great Outdoors at Leeds Met University. Leeds Met University have supported me over the last few years and provided key services in helping me reach my potential in time for major events. Training in the University Sport swimming pool, with the help of Andy Bedford and the Leeds Met University Learning Support Team I have had access to a top of the range video analysis programme, Dart Fish, which I have been using to improve my flat water squirt boating techniques and to learn new moves.

This year I am competing in a new boat, a Downtime Asylum, which means much of my training at the moment, is focused on adapting my style to re-learn a number of moves in the new boat. Using the Dart Fish programme I am able to do instant feedback on the pool side allowing me to quickly review and develop my techniques. I am also able to cross analyse old and new video to see what differences occur as well as checking angles to make sure the moves I am learning are accurate in meeting the descriptions in the rules.

Off the water I have been working on my fitness and flexibility with the help of Giovanni Fenu, Personal Trainer and Physiotherapist, and the Village Hotels Health and Fitness Club, Leeds. Training at the Village, under the guidance of Gio, I have begun to work on an intense training programme with a focus on core strength and conditioning, fitness and flexibility. Gio has undertaken the mammoth job of becoming my personal fitness trainer and getting me fit in time for selections in March and ultimately the World Championships in September 2009. Experienced in personal fitness training and a specialist in core work, Gio has already started me on a gruelling training regime, a far cry from the very sport specific training I’m used to.

In addition to my physical training I am also receiving nutritional support. Louise Sutton and Debbie Fearnley, Performance Nutritionists at the Carnegie Centre for Sports Performance and Wellbeing at Leeds Met University, have conducted a Diet Analysis and have put together a Nutritional Plan which they will be working on with me up to the World Championships in September 2009. With their help I hope that I should be able to manage my food and drink intake correctly to create a balance, where my energy levels complement my training, enabling me to reach maximum performance during training and competition times.

I am also in discussions with Leeds Met University Sports Psychologists who are going to provide me with support and training in the vital preparation stages in the lead up to the competitions in 2009.

In addition to these areas I am also going to be embarking on a number of trips to complement my Leeds based training. Last week I was out in Bavaria with Carnegie Great Outdoors and My Peak Potential at the Alpine Rose and during my visit I was able to discuss plans for a Nordic Ski cross-training visit early in 2009. I also have plans for a 2 week river running trip to Scotland over New Year, a week’s snowboarding trip to France in January and a mystery move squirt boating trip with Downtime Kayaks to the Chesserzac Gorge in France, early next year.

Hopefully, this varied approach to training will allow me to be physically and mentally prepared for the competitions ahead. This is only the beginning of what is set to be another challenging yet very enjoyable year.

So with chlorine stung eyes and burning abs, I am going to go back to analysing today’s pool session videos with my glass of water and lettuce leaf salad snack before my 9pm athlete curfew and bed!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Robin Hood Watersport Dry Suit Tested Winter 2008

Based in Leeds Robinhood Watersports have supported me over the last few years.

The New Custom Kayak Drysuit they made me for the Worlds last year has been put through to test this winter and has kept me safe and warm.

A fantastic piece of kit, strong, durable and dry, every boater should get one.