After a 7 year training cycle, Jessica Ennis has won Gold in the Heptathlon at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She beat her competition in a remarkable fashion, setting 3 PBs in 6 events.
From the UK Daily Mail (August 11, 2012):
“Ennis trains twice a day at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, for 30 hours a week. She does a combination of strength-building exercises, running, weightlifting and specific practice work for each sport.
It is a finely tuned programme which has seen a continuing rise in her performance since a triple stress fracture in her right foot wrecked her hopes of competing at the Beijing Olympics in 2008…
Training is essentially a destructive method. ‘You’re breaking down muscle fibre in order to ensure it grows back stronger. That is the main principle,’ says Minichiello (Jessica’s Coach).
Jess’s training varies according to the time of year. In winter we do lots of repetition, including running and strength and conditioning such as weight training, and other types of work that builds the muscles.
A good example would be squats: full squats, half squats, single-leg squats . . . When you think about running, it’s vital that each single limb has the ability to support the whole body, so she’ll do sets of squats and up to 12 repetitions. In the summer we balance that with short, sharp, more explosive work.
…Ennis withstood an astounding weight of expectation as the Golden Girl of 2012 before she had even stepped on the track.
To deliver with such calm authority in those circumstances was a sign of iron-tough mental strength.
As a psychology graduate from Sheffield University, she had the theory already and occasionally she consults with a UK Athletics sport psychologist but it was her confidence born of years of consistent performances that gave her the edge in competition.
‘Training is tougher than competing,’ says Minichiello. ‘Jess has the confidence of knowing that when the training is in the bank she can be consistent on the track. That’s good for you mentally.
‘Nothing comes without hard work but when the work is done, you can stand on the start line and know – without fail – that you’re ready.’
TIP FROM TEAM JENNIS:
Much of training is down to the mind. It’s important to keep yourself motivated by setting clear but simple goals. This will give you something to focus on. Each small goal you achieve gives you the confidence to set a new, tougher goal the next week.
The key is to not overdo it. A common mistake is for people to set extremely difficult targets at the start, which usually end in failure and demoralisation.
Congratulate yourself on the small things and the big achievements will follow. Another tip: If you don’t feel like exercising, go to the gym, get changed and if you still don’t want to do it, go home. But the chances are, you will.