Jo has her sights set on Olympics
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