I had such an inspiring day yesterday. I went over to the Olympic pool to watch Tom Daley, Georgia Ward and Emily Boyd doing their training sessions.
It was so interesting chatting to them about how they train and how different the training and structure is to equestrian sport. This day was set up between their trainer Jane Figueiredo and my fitness trainer Sam Marshall.
We turned up at the London Aquatics Centre up and met with Jane in the first instance. She had the most amazing enthusiastic, positive and fun personality. She showed us around and the facilities were just incredible. After our tour we met Georgia, Tom and Emily they were so much fun! We all went for lunch together and got chatting about their discipline, their diet and what their training is like from a day to day and in turn I talked to them about the world of eventing and the kind of training we do.
We went back to the Olympic Pool and it was time for their training, it was land training to start with where they do gymnastic exercises, followed by some training in the pool diving off the diving boards.
This was absolutely incredible to watch, the power that is executed into each dive was just unbelievable, until you see it up close I don’t think you appreciate what goes into it, but then I suppose the same goes of all sports.
After watching them we all went back to the gym and talked about the kind of gym exercises that would help me with my riding.
As Equestrian Athletes we have to take this seriously if we want to have the edge.
It really made me realise how little strength and conditioning we do as equestrian athletes. Because I have worked previously with Jon Pitts and more latterly with Lisa Sparrowhawk I have been very lucky in having this side instilled into me. But we do not do enough of it and it is not something that Amateur riders going up the ranks have any support in.
At Lisa’s suggestion I started with a personal trainer before Christmas, previously I had done gym work, running and pilates but in a very unstructured way. I am already noticing how much stronger I am when I’m training in the gym and also when I’m riding I am able to maintain my position in all three phases.
Interestingly and a bit different was the suggestion of ballet, we were talking about dressage and how you have to be strong though your core, absorb movement and be graceful and elegant. Tom mentioned that as divers they did this because it teaches you to really extend through the legs to the end of the toes and maintain posture. I thought how good this would be for someone that isn’t so graceful (me) to learn to be elegant, to extend through the upper body to make myself taller and hold my posture.
I left the GB dive team yesterday inspired, I learned so much about how to keep myself stronger by the right exercise and the right nutrition. It was great to meet like-minded people. It made me realise how self motivated and self disciplined you have to be to get to the top but it also made me realise how much we as equestrian athletes have to do on our own and how much is up to us to structure not only ourselves but our horses day to day. When I talked about how much we do on our own, I think that took the Dive team by surprise a little. Their set up and support is incredible.
Thank you Jane, Tom, Emily, Georgia and Sam for making this day happen, we all got on so well have all vowed to keep in touch and they want to come to an event so watch this space!