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Jenny Meadows South African Training Camp Diary

Posted on January 20th, 2011

Monday 10th January 2011

Monday dawned a bright and beautiful day with blue skies. Breakfast, and then morning treatment session for Jen (Jenny Meadows) before she headed off on a 65 minute run with me running alongside and Trevor on the bike. It was very hot, but turned out to be a good solid run, albeit it did have some adventures along the way: we ran straight towards a baby cobra which decided to rear itself up at us. Some very quick sidesteps ensured we missed it! And while Trev watched it slide into the bushes Jen and I decided to keep running and not risk meeting its mum! Apparently baby cobras are very poisonous – so pretty happy we didn’t find that out ourselves!

When we got back, we did stretching and swimming in the pool followed by some lunch. A small rest in the afternoon and then 3½ hours in the gym going through specific rehab for gluts, core, shoulder and Jen’s Strength and Conditioning session. Some more maintenance work after the gym which is certainly getting much easier. A quick shower after this, a Skype call home and a meal at our accommodation. All set for a big day tomorrow.

Tuesday 11th January 2011

The day has dawned, nice and bright and sunny again today. A little more wind helping to keep the temperature down, which is welcome news for Jenny as she heads to the track this morning. Breakfast as usual with Trevor at 7.30am. Treatment with Jen from 8am – 9am. Body looking great after our work in the gym yesterday and no real tightness from any of the running sessions.

Jenny then ran down to the track, Trevor and I followed in the car carrying all the gear. Jen’s session was a mix of 120metre and 180metre intervals. We tried out the modified spikes today as well with some good results.

Overall a great session again today for Jen, then a run back to the gym for a 10minute ice bath for Jen and myself, Trev managed a minute(!) and then a well earned lunch. Finished off the day with another treatment session and a tough interval session that I joined in on. Dinner and then off to bed for a good nights sleep.

Wednesday 12th January

Another sunny day. Breakfast, treatment and off for a recovery run – pretty tough in the heat! Massage for Jen – bit of a treat but she’s been working hard and needed it. Lunch and a short rest before treatment and Jen’s strength and conditioning session, before some more rehab. Off for dinner and an early night before tomorrow

We did have a bit of off-time today, so Trev and I joined in a game of touch rugby and showed these South Africans how to play! A Pom and a Kiwi on the same side led to a bit of banter…

Thursday 13th January

What a day today! Hot and sunny, great track session, excellent rehab day – it doesn’t get much better. After our morning treatment session it was off to the track. We returned to the modified spikes for Jen and she looked great throughout her session. We headed straight back to the gym for some Achilles rehab which Jen is doing very well.

Then off to the local mall for lunch before we set off back to the complex to catch up with Sonia Roman, the Slovenian 1500m runner, for some more treatment on her lumbar spine.

She looks much better and has been running well. Then Jen’s turn for some treatment before a great rehab session in the gym. We went through all Jen’s abdominal work, glut work and shoulder rehab. She worked really well and we’re starting to see the benefits of this in her sessions. As soon as we finished up in the gym we raced back for showers and then headed down to Beef Boys to catch up with Dutch and Swedish teams for a nice rare steak and a drop of South African Shiraz (Trev and I, not Jen!). Home for bed after a great day and all set for a rest day tomorrow.

Friday 14th January

A bit cloudy today with a threat of rain and it’s our day off!!! Early morning light run before breakfast and a massage for Jen. Then we all jumped in the car to Sun City, a 2 hour drive north of Potch, for the afternoon.

Sun City is a purpose built resort with hotels, golf courses, restaurants, waterslides and a man-made beach. Unfortunately the waterslides weren’t working so Trev and I had to make do with some body surfing in the wave pool while Jen sat on the beach. There was a bit of rain around but not enough to disrupt the day and apparently it was worse in Potch so we were all pretty glad we got out.

Had some lunch at Sun City and a small flutter in the casino where Trev had all the luck…..but not with his stomach, which wasn’t feeling too flash. We decided to head for Potch with a big day looming tomorrow and managed to roll back into the complex with the car running on petrol fumes thankful that we hadn’t run out of fuel on the way back! Great day out and all rested up to start the new week’s training programme tomorrow.

Saturday 15th January

Hot and sunny today and time to work again. After breakfast and our morning treatment session we ran down to the track for a very tough session! Track was busy with former Olympic Gold Medalist and World Decathlon Champion Roman Sebrle and many others training. I joined in to see how Jen would feel afterwards – and I was knackered!!

Jen looked great running and her times were good. A recovery jog back and a 10 minute ice bath helped the legs feel a little better before lunch. Spent the afternoon with Honore Hoedt (National Middle Distance Coach for Dutch Athletics) and a couple of his Dutch athletes looking at some long standing Achilles Tendon injuries that they have been struggling with.

One of the athletes, Dennis, who is a steeplechaser, told us he had cycled up Alpe d’Huez last summer for the first time in an impressive 49mins!! Rob was most impressed when I told him. Afternoon treatment session for Jen, recovery run and then a great rehab session in the gym – shoulder, core, gluts. Quick Skype call home before dinner (including a pretty good piece of carrot cake!) and then bed time.

Trev still struggling with a dodgy stomach, hopefully he’ll be back on form tomorrow (although he can’t believe Man City have gone top of the Premiership overnight!) Can’t believe how quickly the days are going – Jen and Trev are both working hard and we’re getting through loads of work. Great fun!

Sunday 16th January

A little more cloud around today but happy for that as I joined Jen for her tempo run this morning after her treatment session. Checked out some rehab and mobility work that Jen and Trev have been doing and after watching the session we made a decision to take the session out as Jen is getting what she needs from the rest of her rehab.

Great run followed by some stretching in front of the England V Australia ODI from the MCG – close loss for England but great innings from Shane Watson. A spot of lunch and a phone call from home to say that Maya has just said Dada for the first time – maybe she’s missing me!!

A chance to catch up on my diary before treatment, a light run and more rehab. Jen doing really well with rehab. Trev feeling better and happy for Man Utd going top of the Premiership again. Another great day of treatment, training and rehab – all set for tomorrow.

Monday 17th January

A little cloudy this morning – although that’s not a bad thing with a long run looming. Breakfast with Trevor, who is back on deck now, before morning treatment. Jen is really responding well to the regular thoracic mobilisations and general work through lumbar spine, gluts and calfs. She’s looking really free and fresh and running with a nice tall posture – which is more than can be said for me! My legs are starting to tire and I’m starting to appreciate the training that Jen puts in.

Some light drizzle during the run was welcome as it kept the temperature down and we didn’t run into any snakes this time. We wandered up the road for some lunch to refuel before heading to the gym for a 2 and ½ hour strength & conditioning session and some rehab.

Jen is doing really well with her gym work and has really embraced all of her rehab as well.

I’m sure it helps that she can see the benefits of all the work we are doing with her posture and mechanics and it’s very rewarding for all concerned. The complex has suddenly got a lot busier with all the University students arriving for the start of their year and the various sports teams preparing for competition. Great to see so many athletes out training everyday. Evening treatment session for Jen and then I had to rope Trev into massaging my tight calfs – gee that was sore!

We were invited to a barbeque (or Braai, as the Afrikaans call it) tonight at the home of a couple of Trev and Jen’s friends. Both are athletes who have run for South Africa. A great braai at their beautiful home and then back to the hotel to rest up for tomorrow. Hopefully the rain will ease up so that Jen can get her session done on the grass track in the morning.

Tuesday 18th January

I’m sure everyone back home will be pleased to hear that it’s raining today! We were also unable to use the tartan track as it was booked out by some local schools. However, they were the only let downs today – it was in all other respects fantastic.

After our morning treatment session Jen had an excellent speed session on the grass track in her modified spikes. Then came the recovery ice bath followed by some lunch at the complex and then a short rest and some time to catch up on emails and phone calls.

The evening treatment session showed up a little left calf and gluteal tightness which we worked out. We also had some company in the form of Anita, a local physio who has worked on Jen previously when she has been in Potch. Thankfully the rain had eased by the time we had finished treating, just in time for the evening running session.

Although my foot and calf were a little tight I decided to join Jen for this session – a lot of intervals with not much rest. Jen ran brilliantly, especially considering the quality of her morning session. We then headed to the gym for a quick rehab session to really work the left glut hard and get through the shoulder rehab. We felt quite righteous at the end of this having been last off the field and last out of the gym.

We also felt like we’d earned our dinner at Cape Town Fish Market. Unfortunately I couldn’t talk Jen and Trev into trying any of my sushi! Back home and Trev gave my calf good bashing while we watched the end of the South Africa v India ODI – India sneaking home to take a 2-1 series lead. Great feeling to have seen Jen power through a tough day and looking forward to tomorrow morning’s run where we will try and spot some wildlife.

Wednesday 19th January

The day dawned bright and sunny and after breakfast and our morning treatment session we jumped in the car and headed off for our morning run along a trail about 15 minutes from Potch where you can see some of the local wildlife…. Just our luck though that as we arrived it started raining, and proceeded to pour down during the run.

We weren’t disappointed on the wildlife front though, seeing zebras and giraffes up close – certainly makes a change from the scenery back in the UK!

We jumped back in the car after the run and headed straight back to our accommodation for a hot shower and some lunch. Trev’s been struggling with a sore back for a couple of days so to pay him back for all the pain he’s caused me with my calf I returned the favour with some treatment for his back.

Then it was off to the gym for Jen’s Strength and Conditioning session and rehab. She looked great during this session and the glut is really coming on now. By the time we left the gym the weather had cleared and it had turned into a beautiful night. For dinner we headed to a great spot down by the dam – The River Cafe. Great food, slick service and home for bed.

Thursday 20th January

Beautiful morning. After breakfast we got Trev doing some treatment to get him used to the routine we want once he and Jen are back in the UK.

Jen was looking and feeling fresh post treatment (my legs were feeling pretty heavy and my calf was just about hanging in there). We did a morning run and then had a stretch by the pool before heading up the road for lunch and an opportunity to put Jen’s training and rehab plan together leading into the European Indoor Championships in Paris – taking place on the first weekend of March.

It’s great for all of us to have a programme in place to work with and we can reassess it post indoor season.

We also took the opportunity to meet up with the conditioner of the Potchefstroom University rugby team as they prepare for their University Cup season.

A relaxing afternoon followed with a chance to catch up on some emails while Jen had a newspaper interview.

The evening treatment session saw Trev in the hot seat again and doing a great job before we headed to the Track for the evening session. Unfortunately we had to do this session in the evening as one of the local schools was using the track during the day.

They were still going when we arrived at the track but had finished by 6pm in time for Jen to do her session. Unfortunately my foot and calf were not quite up to some 200’s and 400’s but luckily Jen was and she pulled out a great session with her mechanics looking spot on.

From the track we headed back to the gym for some Achilles tendon and Calf rehab followed by an ice bath. We were last out of the gym again today by which time the rain had started to fall and the sky was being lit up by a massive electrical storm.

We enjoyed our meal so much last night that we decided to head back to the River Cafe again tonight. Great food again (and a glass of Pinotage for Trev and I) and a grandstand view of the storm. Back to our accommodation with an easier day to look forward to tomorrow.

Friday 21st January

Rest day today with the day dawning bright and sunny only to cloud over as we were out on our rest day recovery run pre breakfast. After refuelling at breakfast I gave Jen a well earned massage after her efforts this week.

Then it was off to the gym for some core, shoulder and glut rehab before we headed to the mall for lunch and a spot of shopping.

Back to our accommodation at the sports village for a rest as the weather hadn’t improved at all. Jen and Trev had managed to secure us an invite to another Braai – this time with John and Alta, who organise all the arrangements for the athletes when they come to Potch. Fantastic barbeque and hospitality! We went home with full bellies and stories of local snakes ringing in our ears.

Saturday 22nd January

My final day – nice and sunny. Breakfast and treatment (which Trev took charge of) and then out for our easy morning run as Jen is heading to the track tonight for a session.

A good run in the heat and then straight to the gym for some core and shoulder rehab. Jen had just felt a little tight in her right calf during the run so I gave her a final treatment session before lunch.

Back to my room to pack my bags and then on to the bus to Johannesburg Airport with a send off from Jen and Trev. I had the French jumping squad and some of the Swedish endurance team for company.

Nice slick check in and security clearance and a chance to have a brief wander around the airport shops before boarding my British Airways flight to Heathrow. Just before boarding though I received a text from Trev to tell me how well Jen’s track session had gone tonight. Chuffed to hear that, and as I relaxed into my seat an opportunity to look back on the past two weeks and reflect on the progress that Jen has made.

It’s been a fantastic experience and hopefully the structures that we have put in place will enable Jen and Trev to have a great season indoors and build on this into the outdoor season.

Both Jen and Trev have been a delight to work with and somehow never tired of my company! They are in Potch until Tuesday and arrive back in the UK on Wednesday – but their dog Harvey won’t see much of them as on Friday they head to Glasgow for the Indoor season opener as they build towards the European Indoor Championships in Paris in March.

It’s live on the BBC so tune in on Saturday and cheer Jen home. Good luck Jen and Trev from everyone at Harris & Ross – we’re right behind you all the way.

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