Jo has her sights set on Olympics

The Galloway News - - MOTORS -

STU­ART GILLE­SPIE This is set to be a big year for Jo Muir.

The pen­tath­lete from Haugh of Urr is be­gin­ning the qual­i­fi­ca­tion process for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and is also gear­ing up for the Eu­ro­pean Cham­pi­onships in Bath.

And she has al­ready en­joyed suc­cess, hav­ing won the Bu­dapest Indoor In­ter­na­tional in Jan­u­ary.

Each month, she’ll be up­dat­ing News read­ers on her progress and of­fer­ing an in­sight into her jour­ney.

Jo said: “Com­pe­ti­tion sea­son is fast ap­proach­ing and this week sees the start of my 2019 World Cup cam­paign.

“I will be head­ing to Sofia, Bul­garia, for the se­cond World Cup of the year where I’ll be try­ing to get as many points as pos­si­ble with the aim of qual­i­fy­ing for the world cup fi­nal in Tokyo which will also be the test event for next year’s Olympic Games. I’ve got a quick turn­around, just enough time to wash some sweaty kit and repack, as I’m just home from a fenc­ing train­ing camp.

“For the past week I’ve been at Mill­field School where the GB team were joined by other na­tions in­clud­ing some ath­letes from Ger­many, Ja­pan, Ire­land and the Czech Repub­lic.

“Fenc­ing is my weak­est dis­ci­pline so any op­por­tu­nity I get to prac­tice against dif­fer­ent op­po­nents is invaluable to my pro­gres­sion as an ath­lete.

“As well as some top class fenc­ing, we were for­tu­nate to be able to train in the other dis­ci­plines at some in­cred­i­ble fa­cil­i­ties.

“Mill­field School is one of the best pri­vate schools in the coun­try and hosts an Olympic­sized swim­ming pool, run­ning track, high per­for­mance gym and brand new eques­trian cen­tre.

“Due to the na­ture of pen­tathlon it’s im­por­tant to get the bal­ance be­tween sports just right. De­pend­ing on the time of the sea­son, train­ing camps and com­pe­ti­tions the fo­cus changes. As last week the em­pha­sis was on fenc­ing the other sports had to take a step back.

“This co­in­cided well with the start of the ta­per phase. Dur­ing the ta­per, train­ing vol­ume is sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced from about one week to 10 days out of com­pe­ti­tion. This is vi­tal to al­low the body to re­cover prop­erly from the strains of train­ing so come com­pe­ti­tion day you’re re­freshed, ready and rar­ing to go.

“Another key in­gre­di­ent to suc­cess is nu­tri­tion. Not only is this es­sen­tial all year round but pre-com­pe­ti­tion it be­comes imperative.

“Be­ing an ath­lete, my immune sys­tem is weaker than most and pick­ing up an ill­ness right be­fore a ma­jor event could be cat­a­strophic to per­for­mance.

“Add this to travel and chang­ing time zones and the risk is in­creased.

“There’s ob­vi­ously no way to com­pletely avoid this but with good nu­tri­tion I can arm my body and hope­fully travel to com­pe­ti­tions with con­fi­dence.

“Cor­rect nu­tri­tion is not just an im­por­tant weapon against ill­ness, but it also helps the body to re­cover.

“As well as eat­ing a well­bal­anced diet, I must make sure I’m get­ting enough food to fuel my body.

“Pre-com­pe­ti­tion I in­crease my car­bo­hy­drate in­take and the night be­fore I will al­ways fin­ish the day with a hit of pro­tein, ei­ther from a shake or a whole milk smoothie to help switch on re­cov­ery.

“Dur­ing com­pe­ti­tion I strug­gle mas­sively to eat, prob­a­bly a com­bi­na­tion of nerves and adrenaline, which is why good nu­tri­tion in the build up is so cru­cial.

“With all the train­ing com­plete I am look­ing for­ward to get­ting out there and competing again.”

On tar­get Jo in ac­tion

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