Jenny Meadows – Life From The Track Part 2Posted on August 12th, 2016
Following on from last week’s first instalment of Jenny Meadow’s interview, we continue today with part two; starting with the importance of a good physio.
Do you think there should be an overarching body, or a governing body to say ‘it is this, it is that’ rather than having to go to different people and get different opinions?
Jenny: Yeah I guess it’s very hard for people to give that diagnosis, it is just that quality of physio. The whole broad term of a physio, obviously it’s fantastic but I think it’s the knowledge of the physio and the experience.
Trevor: And the compassion as well, if they don’t really care about you, then they’re just going to go half-heartedly through it. But if they’ve got that connection and they’re motivated to help you, [Jenny: prepared to go that extra mile] then you’ll get the most out of people.
Jenny: That’s why I’ve always enjoyed working with Rob, because he knows Trevor and I, and he knows how much we’re putting in to it and if he knows, you know you’ve made the journey over here, you’re taking this really seriously, you’ve got two training sessions today, so he gives us his full attention and his full commitment as well.
Whatever effort you put in, he’ll put in as well.
Jenny: Exactly, it’s worked so well.
Trevor: I think Rob and Jeff are great like that, because if I’m giving an athlete a training program and they’ve only done half of it, I know they’ve only done half of it. I’d be like ‘Well, your endurance should be better, this should be better.’ And Rob and Jeff are the same, they give you: ‘Right to fix this now, you’ve got to do these rehab exercises and away you go.’ I know when I was an athlete, I didn’t quite have that drive to do them, you know, I’d do them every now and again, whereas Jenny would do them, three times a day, every day.
So you’re meticulous?
Trevor: Meticulous. She’ll come back the next session and they’ll be like ‘Yep, great’.
Jenny: Obviously Jeff has come in to the fold. You know it was Rob at first that was the initial connection and then Jeff and the whole host of the team over the years. But I think they probably thought, it’s worth them investing in their time, and going that extra mile, because I’m very thorough and diligent as well, you know. Everything they say, I completely soak it up and absorb it, because I know it’s the best information I can possibly get from anywhere. So I obviously want to go away and do exactly what they say, so that when I go back, they think ‘well it’s worth investing in [me].’ Because you know if I’d only done half the job, as Trevor would do, you know, then they’ll think I’ll only do half the job. Then you’re obviously never going to get there.
So both teams will strive for the best?
Jenny: It has become a team, which is unbelievable.
Rob & Jeff have accompanied you to training camps all over the world, did you feel their support on these camps was integral to your training and why?
Trevor: That year that they came to the training camps with us in 2011, it was no surprise that that was Jenny’s best year. She went on to win the Diamond League, that year. The only thing stopping her from getting a medal in the World Championships, was there were quite a few drugs cheats and Jenny missed out on the final because there were some cheats. We had an opportunity stolen from us there. But back to the training camps, where Rob and Jeff accompanied us, it was … we thought we were professional and diligent, but then when they came with us, they raised us another level.
Jenny: They made us aware of it.
Trevor: ‘No you need to be looking at this and that’. So it enhanced my coaching standard as well, because I was looking at things differently, and they taught me techniques that I needed to do with Jen, so her body was in a better state. Technically, Jen was coming across and they’d fix problems and go away and a week later, they’d fix problems again. Whereas, they taught me manipulations and things I could be doing in-between, so that when we came back a week later, she was nowhere near as bad and so that they got a performance value out of it. So rather than coming here and being fixed, we were actually raising Jenny’s performance levels.
Jenny: And it was amazing, because the indoor season starts at the end of January and the outdoor season finishes at the end of September, so it’s a lengthy year if you’re going to do nine months. And that year [it was] the Diamond League series, basically that means you’re the most consistent performer in the world and I won that award. I think it is due to Rob and Jeff’s steady treatment.
The Diamond League series have 28 events per year, so 28 awards are presented each year, and over the 7 years that’s 196 awards and only four British people have won one!
Trevor: Across all the events.
Jenny: Yeah so it’s pretty amazing. I watch it now, you see the world’s best competitors going for that. And I look and think ‘Oh I’ve got one of those in my living room!’ It’s pretty cool, but it’s no wonder that was my best year, because we really had more of Rob and Jeff’s time that year and it made a big difference.
Since they were with you on the camp, do you think with Rob and Jeff seeing the kind of environment you were training in, it helped to adapt their treatment?
Trevor: Definitely. Their understanding of our requirements were just solidified.
Jenny: So that they know now, ‘Well on Wednesday, I know you do this session and your body probably needs this before it and this after it, so if you think of a Formula One car, it was like I was in the garage getting all these amazing things.
Just like at the pit stop
Jenny: Yeah, a full tank of petrol, tyres were inflated constantly. Against somebody who doesn’t have the opportunity to have that.
Trevor: It gave us a streamlined plan. So Rob would look at it and say ‘Right, well some days you’ve got hills. So after that, your hamstrings are going to be quite iffy and we need to make sure this is right…’ And then we’d have a whole routine of things to do after the session and so on.
Jenny: And I think as an athlete, you have to have the talent, you have to have the hard work, you have to have a good training plan, but then the next thing is your team and I have got all of the first three, but I really believe…I don’t believe I’m the most talented person in the world, but I’ve got some good talent.
Trevor: You work hard.
Jenny: I definitely work hard, I think I’ve got a good training plan, but I think the thing that set me against the rest, was this team. The support network, you know Harris & Ross working together, everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet and I’ve just benefitted as an athlete because of that.
Trevor: Rob and Jeff, both coming from a sporting background themselves, they had a good understanding [of how the body works]. A lot of physios and doctors you go to see them with a problem, they say ‘Oh, take a week off’ or ‘don’t run for a week’. But Rob and Jeff know actually, you need to be running. Psychologically and physiologically, you need to keep that running going, so they work in a slightly different way to others.
It’s that angle, isn’t it?
Jenny: They find a way, for you to do it.
Because they can understand the pressure, people put themselves under, so whether they say ‘Right chill out, calm down’ that’s probably the right thing to do. If they say ‘Keep it steady, just maintain the momentum…
Trevor: We were speaking with Olga [Harris & Ross Podiatrist, who has since moved on] about it and she made some insoles for Jen and she tried them on and it just wasn’t right. But Olga was arguing, you know theoretically they were perfect, it puts Jenny in line, and everything works great and so on and so on. And me and Rob, are thinking differently, we’re thinking from the performance side and we’re like ‘It’s all well and good being good, but if you can’t run quickly, it’s pointless’. Rob literally said that ‘Look, she can wear the orthotics in her shoes and run the race and she’ll get through the race healthily, but she won’t make the final and ultimately she has to make the final to be able to win medals’.
Jenny: Sometimes it was a compromise.
Trevor: Yeah there was a compromise made then.
So did you stick with those orthotics?
Trevor: No, no they went! She [Olga] bought in to what we were saying, because she was from a clinical side, whereas she’s not a sports person, so she couldn’t grasp that ‘Well we need to run quick, that’s the goal.’
Jenny: It was just a combination of the two.
Trevor: So it was great having Rob backing what I was saying and valued it from an athlete’s point of view.
So with Olga’s view then, it was beneficial for you to keep you healthy and give you some orthotics, I’m guessing from Rob’s point of view…
Trevor: For a performance side of things we need a bit of that, yeah, if it’s detracting from the performance, there’s no point in having them.
Jenny: So we kind of went 50/50, you know we went with an orthotic, but not the full technical version. Which was great, because Olga got me my pressure points through my feet and landing 50% on the left and 50% on the right, which was absolutely amazing, it was unbelievable that she’s managed to do that. But it didn’t make me run particularly fast, but it’d be great for walking, so we modified them slightly so I could actually run quickly, as well as having some for performance games.
Trevor: But that’s the value of having a sports physiotherapists that understands the performance aspect.
Keep an eye on our social media for the next part of Jenny’s and Trevor’s interview.