Katarina Johnson-Thompson Q&A

We chatted to the Team GB Heptathlete on last year's Games and her hopes for the next few years.



by Annie Rice

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What have you been up to since last year’s games?

It’s been a big year for me. I started the season in May and got injured at Walsbourgh International, I tore a ligament in my ankle doing a high jump so from there it’s been a bit of a catch-up. I had five weeks out and then I had to try to regain fitness, it took me five weeks so then I started the season in June in the 23’s. Since then I’ve had a couple of competitions: the under 23 European championships in Finland, so I was there with no preparation but that went well, and then the anniversary games and Moscow (but I’m going on holiday to Mexico tomorrow!).

How did you get over the injury?

I just kept going to physio and they gave me a lot of exercises to work on. I didn’t do any cross training because it was at an angle, so it affected the technical events. I could probably run but nothing like hurdles or high jump, shot-put and javelin. I did it in the high jump in a competition taking off and then the ankle twisted both ways.

What were your highlights from The Games last year?

The highlight was just walking out onto the track - that was the biggest moment for me because I’d never competed under circumstances like that before; having a home Olympic Games and walking on and seeing how big the crowd was with all those people .

Do you think having this crowd and the support had a big impact on you?

I think so because before this I’d only competed in a crowd of about 8,000 people and that was the trials as well, so this was the biggest thing I’ve ever done.

How did you get into heptathlon?

It was through my club. My club did these competitions for young athletes and they just put me in all these different events: the high jump, the hurdles, etc, then my mum found an event where you could do all the events together and have a proper break so I did it and enjoyed it and then I came back the next year and broke the indoor British record, so I stuck with it.

When did you realise you had a talent for athletics?

During primary school it was the thing that I’d most look forward to, I had a couple of hobbies before that but athletics I had always enjoyed so it just sort of stuck. 

What’s your favourite disciple?

It’s between the high jump and long jump and they are probably also my strongest.

What do you least look forward to?

Probably the shot-put, so I have to put extra training in.

Can you talk us through your average training schedule?

In the lead up you don’t do that much, it’s just about refining techniques, so I do every event but it’s not heavy training.  

A heavy training week would be training five days a week but also doing the gym and you feel like you’re not recovered in the next session. So you’re starting each session wrecked, this is from October up till Christmas, then it gets lighter but the sessions are about technique and more intense running sessions. The winter is the horrible time.

What’s your toughest running session?

The toughest session I have is probably hill runs in Liverpool. We build it up throughout the season, so I’ve gone up to 12 reps over different hills. I enjoy it after it’s done but I get nervous before, when you know that you’re going to be in pain.

How do you recover when you’re doing back-to-back sessions like that?

There’s nothing you can really do. I try to have regular physio and I’ll try to change that this year and have more physio and recovery and eat the right things too.

What is your nutrition plan like?

It’s not strict but it’s sensible. I eat the right things but I wouldn’t say I’m strict with the food I eat.

What’s an average day like for you?

I’ll wake up then have egg on toast, then maybe a wrap for lunch, then just rice and salmon or something like that for dinner.

Do you take recovery products or sports performance shakes?

I drink Maxi Muscle drinks and their recovery bars as well. Straight after most training sessions I’ll have a Maxi Milk or bar.

What do you think about to motivate you if you really don’t want to train or to get you through a tough session?

Probably about what it’s for. If I’m doing hill running and it's really tough then I just think this is going to help me.

What’s on the schedule for the next few years?

Next year is the Commonwealth games and the Europeans, but also the world indoors so I’m looking at all three of them. Maybe the Europeans for a single event or Heptathlon, but I’m not sure at the moment because Europeans and the Commonwealth are only two weeks apart. I have to discuss that with my coach. Rio has always been the big aim for me though. I will just take it year by year in the lead up.

What do you do when you’re not training?

I just relax – have some downtime, watch a box set, I just like to chill out really.

Are there any other sports you’d like to cross over into?

Not sports but events, so if I didn’t do Heptathlon maybe I’d like to do triple jump or hurdles but I’ll stay in athletics.

Have you thought about any distance running in the future?

No way – I’m not a distance runner. The longest I run in training is about 600 metres. 

Katarina Johnson-Thompson is an ambassador for Nissan, official car supplier to Team GB and ParalympicsGB. Visit www.nissan.co.uk


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She is destined to be one of the stars of Rio without a doubt, as long as she can stay healthy. And maybe even the world record. 


Posted: 07/10/2013 at 08:39

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