How to cycle faster, swim better and conquer pre-race nerves – with advice from Team GB

1 year ago 241

How to tally faster

Keely Hodgkinson, 800m metallic medallist astatine Tokyo 2020There is nary magic mode to get faster astatine moving but determination are a fewer things that beginners tin do. The archetypal is not to deliberation lone astir going farther successful distance, but besides including interval oregon fartlek (literally, “speed play”) sessions, wherever you premix abbreviated periods of faster enactment with slower recoveries. So, accidental you tally a 5km parkrun each Saturday; during the week, you mightiness besides bash a longer run, an easier one, followed by an interval league wherever you spell hard for a infinitesimal past jog oregon locomotion the adjacent two.

The different things I urge are drills, specified arsenic skipping, oregon precocious knees, wherever you tally connected the spot portion lifting your knees towards your chest. I utilized to beryllium an overstrider, but aft 18 months of doing drills similar this, I person fixed it. It’s a agelong process, but if you tin hole the mode you run, you volition spell faster. When it comes to racing, I bash a precise casual 10-minute jog to lukewarm up, and past drills and strides – making definite I occasionally get my bosom complaint up to wherever it volition beryllium successful a race.

Finally, I can’t accent capable the value of allowing your assemblage to retrieve aft a hard workout. One of the biggest things runners neglect to realise is that betterment is conscionable arsenic important arsenic pushing yourself. Get the basics right: 8 hours of slumber and eating good marque a large difference.

How to instrumentality the cleanable changeable astatine goal

Ellen White, Team GB footballer, scored six goals astatine Tokyo 2020

Britain’s Ellen White celebrates scoring her side’s opening   extremity   during a women’s shot    lucifer  against Japan astatine  the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, successful  Sapporo, Japan. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Photograph: Silvia Izquierdo/AP

The champion mode to amended your shooting is to person idiosyncratic – a coach, genitor oregon teammate – repeatedly propulsion a shot successful from the broadside for you to finish. Make definite it comes successful astatine antithetic speeds and heights. In a game, it’s large erstwhile a shot is rolled into your way to smash in, but that seldom happens!

Make definite you practise with some feet, and enactment connected getting into the close assemblage position, whether the shot is astatine hep tallness oregon connected the ground. It doesn’t substance if you miss; you are getting that repetition of question and timing. Limit each league to astir 20 shots, truthful each rep is diligent and the prime is truthful overmuch better. That’s amended than being retired for hours, fatiguing yourself. If you spell distant annoyed, that’s OK – you person thing to enactment connected adjacent time.

How to cycle faster

Chris Hoy, Six golds and 1 metallic betwixt Sydney 2000 and London 2012

Chris Hoy celebrates winning Gold successful  the Mens Team Sprint Final connected  the archetypal  time  of the way   cycling astatine  the Velodrome successful  the Olympic Park, London.
Photograph: David Davies/PA

My apical extremity to amended your cycling is to get your saddle astatine the close height. That volition marque a large quality for some comfortableness and efficiency, and reduces your accidental of injuring your knees oregon back. It volition besides assistance you spell faster.

Start by leaning your motorcycle against a partition oregon a fence. Get the pedals successful the six o’clock presumption and past enactment your heels connected the pedals. Not the shot of your foot, but the bottommost connected the pedal axle. And erstwhile the pedal is astatine the bottommost of the stroke, astatine six o’clock, you should person your limb afloat locked out. That means erstwhile your ft is successful the close presumption for pedalling; that is, erstwhile it’s the shot of your ft there, determination volition beryllium a flimsy flexion successful the knee. Just enough, and not excessively much.

People thin to person their saddle excessively low, and that tin origin each sorts of problems with your knees, arsenic good arsenic meaning you aren’t getting afloat powerfulness from your legs.
When you get the tallness close you debar each that – and besides spell faster.

How to aquatics the cleanable beforehand crawl

Alice Dearing, 19th spot successful the 10km swimming marathon astatine Tokyo 2020

GB Open Water Swimmer Alice Dearing Training during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Anyone tin swim. If you don’t cognize however oregon you privation to improve, don’t beryllium acrophobic to find a coach. Often they volition commencement by getting you to float, look successful the water, and past physique from there. When it comes to swimming fast, method and ratio are key.

When your enarthrosis comes implicit during a stroke, support a precocious elbow and your limb adjacent to your body. A large drill to bash is simply a ripple, wherever you resistance your fingertip done the h2o arsenic your limb comes guardant towards the beforehand of the stroke: this volition assistance you recognize however acute the space successful your elbow should be. Move your limb done and “catch” the h2o astatine the front, past rotate your hips slightly, widen your arms and commencement to pull.

In presumption of caput position, I was taught “waterline connected your hairline”, truthful your chin is tucked successful a little, but that’s rather outdated. Most radical look consecutive down astatine the bottommost of the pool, with their caput successful a neutral position. When you kick, don’t crook astatine the genu – everything should travel from the hips. But it should beryllium a earthy movement. Don’t unit it.

Finally, don’t beryllium acrophobic to instrumentality a measurement backmost to enactment connected your technique. You tin commencement gathering much spot and powerfulness erstwhile you get the changeable right.

How to amended your diving

Jack Laugher, Gold and metallic astatine Rio 2016, bronze astatine Tokyo 2020

Great Britain’s Jack Laugher attends the ‘I Am Team GB’ lawsuit   astatine  the London Stadium successful  the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park successful  London, Britain, 14 August 2021.
Photograph: Vickie Flores/EPA

I ever archer radical to commencement from a one-metre board. It whitethorn dependable strange, but erstwhile you dive from the broadside of the excavation you deed the h2o earlier, and determination is much accidental you volition belly-flop. On the board, you’ve got other height, truthful if you support your presumption you’ll people rotate and spell hands archetypal into the water. When you commencement out, the cardinal happening is to autumn guardant with a 180-degree rotation.

Next, effort a pike fall. Make a pike signifier by bending implicit astatine the hips, putting your hands successful beforehand of you and letting yourself autumn into the water. Then adhd a tiny jump. You whitethorn over-rotate a spot astatine first, due to the fact that you’re adding tallness and speed, but you volition soon get the bent of it.

After that, it’s clip to determination to the three-metre board. You’ve got 2 much metres of autumn to woody with, and much clip to over-rotate, truthful it’s truly important to support your caput up erstwhile you dive. Pick a spot wherever you’re hoping to participate the water, support your eyes connected it each the way, but guarantee your caput stays successful a neutral presumption – determination your eyes, not your head.

It is earthy to beryllium nervous, truthful trusting yourself is important. Try to little your bosom complaint by taking heavy breaths, closing your eyes and visualising the dive beforehand.

How to woody with pre-race nerves

Jonny Brownlee, Triathlete, bronze astatine London 2012, metallic astatine Rio 2016 and golden astatine Tokyo 2020

 Jonathan Brownlee of Great Britain aft  aquatics  conception  during World Triathlon Cup Arzachena 2021 connected  May 29, 2021 successful  Arzachena, Italy. (Photo by Emanuele Perrone/Getty Images)
Photograph: Emanuele Perrone/Getty Images

Having nerves earlier a contention is perfectly normal. In fact, they are beneficial, arsenic they get the adrenaline flowing and archer your assemblage this is simply a race, not a grooming session. Most athletes besides get antagonistic voices successful their head: that’s normal, too. It’s astir having strategies successful spot to guarantee they don’t halt you performing.

Every clip I get a antagonistic thought, I reply it with a affirmative one. So if it’s truly hot, similar it was successful Tokyo, and the antagonistic dependable says, “No, you don’t execute good successful heat,” past I retrieve each the vigor mentation I did beforehand.

I americium a precise process-oriented person, truthful I woody with nerves by penning down a docket for everything – erstwhile I’m going to permission the hotel, erstwhile I devour – and pursuing that. Triathlon tin beryllium a nightmare athletics due to the fact that truthful galore things tin spell wrong: you tin get a puncture, person a crash. But I effort not to interest astir the things I can’t control.

Nerves besides make a level playing field, immoderate your level. Even present I tin beryllium astatine the start, thinking, “Why americium I doing this to myself erstwhile I could beryllium connected a bully motorcycle thrust to a cafe successful Yorkshire?” But you person to punctual yourself that this is what you person worked truthful hard for, and effort to bask it.

How to larn to sail

Giles Scott, Gold astatine Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020

Giles Scott of Team Great Britain competes successful  the Men’s Finn people  connected  time  9  of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games astatine  Enoshima Yacht Harbour connected  August 01, 2021 successful  Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

When you look astatine sailing from a racing constituent of view, it’s similar sporting chess. But astatine a basal level, it’s simple. If you are logical, you’ll instrumentality to it beauteous well, due to the fact that determination is simply a acceptable of rules that use to being capable to get a vessel astir the water. And portion astatine an Olympic level there’s evidently an unthinkable magnitude of physicality, astatine its core, it’s a reasoning person’s sport.

The large happening that radical often don’t realise is that sailing happens each implicit the country, connected the oversea but besides inland – I learned to sail connected a reservoir successful Cambridgeshire. Every sailing nine volition person beginner’s courses. The champion spot to commencement looking is the Royal Yachting Association website ( They connection escaped taster sessions for adults and kids.

Sailing has travel a agelong mode successful the past 20 years, truthful wealth is nary longer a obstruction to having a go. The governing assemblage works truly hard to marque it accessible done funding, and providing dinghy and yacht clubs with boats for beginners to get a flavour.

Another misconception is that you request to beryllium a beardown swimmer. Every clip you spell sailing you spell retired with flotation, truthful adjacent if you autumn in, you can’t sink.

Once you get into the sailing world, you realise however small you know. Every time is simply a schoolhouse day, but nary 2 days are the same. I deliberation that’s wherefore radical get hooked for life.

How to skip properly

Galal Yafai, Boxer, golden at Tokyo 2020

Galal Yafai of Team Great Britain connected  time  15  of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games astatine  Kokugikan Arena connected  August 07, 2021 successful  Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Photograph: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

I archetypal started skipping astatine 15, and similar astir radical I was unspeakable erstwhile I started. But with a spot of signifier you tin prime it up, and it’s large for giving you spot successful your legs, amended stamina and a spot of rhythm, too. The different vantage is you tin bash it astir anywhere.

Quick Guide

Saturday mag


This nonfiction comes from Saturday, the caller people mag from the Guardian which combines the champion features, culture, manner and question penning successful 1 beauteous package. Available present successful the UK and ROI.

Photograph: GNM

The cardinal happening is to marque definite that your hands are astir the aforesaid region isolated from the centre of your body, and that your elbows and shoulders don’t determination excessively much. It’s the wrists that make the motion. But, astir of all, it is astir repetition.

When you spot a boxer skip, it’s similar they are bouncing connected 1 ft and past the other. The mode I thatch this is that arsenic soon arsenic your toed connected 1 ft touches the floor, the different ft is already up. It sounds complicated, but truthful does driving a car. Once you prime it up, it feels arsenic earthy arsenic anything.

One different thing: bargain a thin, airy integrative rope. It’s acold easier to usage due to the fact that it goes astir a batch quicker than a heavy oregon dense one.