Online Exclusive: Kelly Holmes on Training, Nutrition and Mental Preparation

Previously unpublished material from our December 2011 interview with the Olympic gold medallist

06 February 2012    |    0 Comments

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Image courtesy of: Fighting Fit

In 2004 Kelly Holmes shot to fame when she won the nation two gold medals in the 800m and 1500m races at the Athens Olympics, however the Brit’s record breaking success was the result of years of dedication and overcoming adversity both on and off the track. Kelly may have retired in December 2005, but her accomplishments as a middle-distance runner are still recognised as exceptional around the world.

In 2011 Kelly talked to us about what made her such a successful athlete. Here is more of Kelly’s exclusive interview that was not previously published in the December issue of Fighting Fit.

How much of a role does nutrition play in your training?

It had a big role to play and I probably didn’t get it right all the time. I was a little lax at times but it certainly played a big role in providing the energy I needed to perform and for recovery. I did tend to pay attention to that over my career but I realised in 2004 that every single thing had to be in place and nutrition was something that I hadn’t perfected as well as I had everything else. It became a massive part of my preparation.

What are the physical challenges of middle-distance running?

There were elements to do with the body – the intensity of training, and the different types of training I had to do to run as fast as I can. You’re talking about weight-training, circuit training, hills, long runs, speed work, in the gym, bike stuff, everything to have your body in top form. The injury problems that come with it because of the intensity and the progression you need to become a good athlete were the down-side of that.

Where does mental preparation come into it?

There’s the tactical awareness, the planning and preparation for actual races, looking at your opposition and working out how to be better than them tactically, and equally getting the best out of yourself and going in there focused and ready to go. You could have the best training ever but if you go in there with your head half in it, or with disbelief, you could have the worst race. On the other side, you could have not so great build-up due to injury but your head is so determined to do it that you pull something out of the bag. There are a lot of psychological and emotional effects on performance.

How did being in the Army help your athletics career?

Well, I gave up athletics to join the Army. The skills I learnt as a PTI [Physical Training Instructor] were more about discipline, pushing yourself beyond your boundaries, knowing how to adapt to certain situations. Being a PTI, you’re like a coach, a teacher as well, so you had to get the best out of soldiers and recruits so it taught you other skills around that and of course communication, leadership and everything that comes with it makes you a stronger and more focused person.

Original interview from issue 26, December 2011. To purchase this issue please click here.

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Fighting Fit is published by Newsquest Specialist Media, the world’s leading combat sport publisher. Other titles include Boxing News, The Boxing News Annual and The Boxing News Health & Fitness Series

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