So…you know how I started out from the age of 10/11, and now I’ll tell you about how I transformed into a javelin thrower from a cross country runner. Chocolate. That’s what 😉 No no, it wasn’t that. Or…it wasn’t just that haha!
Most people in the athletics world at a young age start out in cross country – training is easily done anywhere and there are always lots of competitions going on. I remember coming seventh in Yorkshire at a certain cross country event that had a hill that was just vertical as can be. I remember it well because I had a horrible asthma attack afterwards. That was enough to make me say to myself: NEVER AGAIN. I just wish my legs were longer – people managed to accelerate so quickly…flippin’ hec. I am glad those days of being splattered with mud are over.
It was one fine summer season at about 12/13 when I began to try the other events such as long jump, high jump, shot put, discus, hurdles and 800m. I stayed away from the longer runs and polevault for sure! I couldn’t even get onto the blue matt never mind vaulting over a flippin’ bar! I loved the variety of events and especially the technical side of things. I trained sometimes at Doncaster and sometimes at Sheffield with a few different coaches for the different events. To name a few, Bernard, Bruce, Alex and Helen coached me and put in a lot of hours for discus, high jump, multi events and sprinting respectively. I loved training in a group – it reminded me of team sports I used to play like netball and hockey.
Up til the age of 15, I competed in pentathlons and represented South Yorkshire. Completing five events in one day was absolutely exhausting, psyching yourself up for each event and remembering all the little technical details. I loved it, especially long jump. I still remember the amazing feeling when I jumped 4.76m…I honestly felt like i had wings and the ground just didn’t come quick enough. I was so gutted javelin wasn’t included in the pentathlon, but I thought that when I was allowed to do heptathlons at 16 in the under 17 age group it would be my time to shine. Each year there would be English Schools which is where you represent your county in one event; each year it was always javelin for me, yet I still trained for all the other events for enjoyment too. My javelin coach to begin with, Dave Long brought me into the javelin world and also, Brian Parkes took me to the next level up til the age of 17.
At 15, I realized I would rather specialize at one event instead of devoting training to six different events and spread myself thinly. This was such a hard decision at the time; I knew I would miss the variety so much but I knew it would be better for the long term. I even approached Toni Minichello (Jess Ennis’s coach) at one point and something that he said that I always remembered was ‘you need to look at what you actually want out of this’. I never got to do a heptathlon which still annoys me to this day, but, the past is past and I have loved maturing into a specialised athlete. During 2009 and 2010 I still did the other throws, discus and shot put, however I really only trained for javelin. I felt a lot less stressed as I only had one event to really knuckle down on. I began to love the one-to-one sessions as I got so much more detail out of each session. I felt I was becoming more aware of myself and my progression in each session instead of thinking about so many different points.
If you are interested, this is my athlete profile that tracks and logs all my performances at each event I’ve ever been to http://www.thepowerof10.info/athletes/profile.aspx?athleteid=29512 I do miss multi events, but training for so many events does come at a cost with injury for a lot of athletes. I will continue to write in my next written blog about my last two years with my current coach, David Parker and the training that was so different to before! I must admit, I do like my reminiscing time – ‘the good ol’ days’ as they say! 😀