Verteda’s Sponsored Athlete, Abi Fitzpatrick, Gives Us a 2018 Racing Update
We caught up with Abi Fitzpatrick, a 400m hurdler from Warrington who is sponsored by Verteda. She gave us some insights into her training and race results this year.
Over to you Abi…
Starting the year off strong
In December and January, I took part in a number of indoor races (without hurdles). Although my sport of choice is not pure running, it’s a way of keeping up the practice of competing in races, rather than just training for half of the year. Hurdling is a summer sport, and you can’t practice inside because of the layout of the track, so if I didn’t compete in normal running events I would lose out on the opportunity to get race-fit.
Sport, as we all know, is as much about getting the mind in order as it is about training the body. Without regular races, and all the anxiety and adrenaline that comes with them, you don’t always push yourself hard enough in the winter months, or get the same preparation for when you come to compete in hurdle events over the summer.
If I just trained for eight months that would mean eight months of worrying about a race, whereas competing in indoor running events gives me the chance to get comfortable again with the race set-up; the call room, the competitors, the audience and the adrenaline.
New training regimen
I’ve been training with new training partners recently. Instead of running alone, I have training partners who run ahead of me to keep me motivated to continue pushing on. Having someone there who you are ‘competing’ against makes you train harder and run faster – again, it’s a psychological trick to keep you in the zone.
It also helps to make training more social, after all, I’m not going into an office five days a week socialising with co-workers – I’m out there on the track training. It can be a lonely place, so having training partners to motivate you and socialise with really makes all the difference.
I’ve been training six times a week – and two of the training days have a double session; morning and night. I usually hit the track in the morning and spend time at the gym in the afternoon.
Warm weather training
Because hurdling is a summer event, and all of my races are abroad, it doesn’t make sense to do all my training in a cold, damp climate, so I try to fit in some warm weather training in the run-up to competition time.
This year, I spent two weeks in Madeira. The difference in being able to run without wearing bulky winter training gear feels amazing, and it gets me acclimatised to the temperatures I’ll be competing in when I’m racing in Europe.
It’s also important for knowing how to hydrate and recover as a few degrees temperature difference can have a big impact.
Racing over Summer
Despite a slow start to the summer season, I managed to win the North of England championships and I retained my title of North of England Champion. That was a great achievement as some of my closest competitors were also racing, so to be able to keep focused and get the win was great. It was a very close race and my strength came through in the last 50 metres which is what I worked a lot on during the previous winter’s training, so it’s great to see that paying off.
After a steady start to the season, I started to get into better shape and my times were coming down each week, but a week before the British championships (which is where I was due to peak and look for great results) I tore my right hamstring in training. I have since spent alot of time with physios and my coach doing injury prevention work to avoid the same issue occurring in the future.
Looking to the future
I will be racing in December, January & February. Despite my event not being an indoor event (they can't do hurdles due to the track being on an incline), I will still race indoors. It’s great practice both physically and mentally and proves whether your training has been working.
I'm really looking forward to these races and looking to step it up for some big results to make up for some of the issues over the summer season.
I am hoping that a great indoor season will really bode well for the outdoor season and put me in a fantastic position for next year.
I am also North of England Indoor Champion so I will be looking to defend that title in order to remain a double Indoor and Outdoor Champion 3 years running.
by Abi Fitzpatrick