Leadership & Culture, Performance | Apr 8, 2021
The British sprinter reflects on her decision to forego warm weather training, her interests away from the track and the importance of working with a psychologist.

Asha Philip has won Olympic, World and European medals competing for Great Britain. As a 16-year-old, she became the first British woman to win a global 100m title with her triumph in the 100m at the 2007 World Youth Championships.

Having won bronze in the 4x100m in Rio, Philip’s ambition is to make another Olympic final this summer at the delayed Tokyo Games.

In the months ahead, Philip will keep a performance diary that tracks her progress and, in this second instalment, she reflects on her decision to forego warm weather training, her interests away from the track and the importance of working with a psychologist.

Check out last month here.

By Asha Philip

We’re into April and everything is shaping up as I want it to.

At this time of year, I’d usually be doing more indoor meets but I’ve only done one in 2021 so far at Karlsruhe in Germany in January, which is a slightly different approach. Last month I picked up a slight niggle – when I say ‘niggle’ I mean my body was overworked from training and I think I needed to rest.

My team – my physio, osteo, nutritionist, S&C coaches and the big man himself, my coach Steve Fudge – came together. We hadn’t been talking as much, the groupchat had fallen quiet, and it kind of knocked everyone back into shape. With that little niggle it was like ‘OK Asha, we really need to be on it’ and it makes me feel good that everybody is working together, my body feels so great now and it’s ready to roll. The rest has done my body some good.

Usually, we’d be looking to go away to a warm weather camp in the first part of the year but we decided to stay at home because, firstly, the world is still crazy, and, secondly, I just want to have my team and retain that access. You don’t know what’s guaranteed on the other side when it comes to racing; so we thought ‘let’s stay at home, get the body right, get the body ready to rumble’ because it is Olympic year and we need to perform well, so if we want to stay at home we’ll stay at home.

In terms of recovery, I try to dedicate an hour to recovery when I’m at home. If it’s been a particularly big day I’ll put my recovery boots; I’ve also got my recovery pump, my Theragun, cupping or rollers. I also love yin and restorative yoga.

Beyond modalities, I have a big family and they keep me entertained. I spend a lot of time with them and I am in love with my nieces and nephews, even if one is currently at that ‘terrible twos’ stage. That’s how I entertain myself. I do need that downtime, so I watch a lot of Netflix to switch off or educate myself with different things; reading is another interest of mine too.

I also have a weekly conversation with a psychologist. I believe that an athlete should have one and I wish I had one earlier in my career. When I injured my knee at 17, and did not compete for a few years, I wish I’d had someone to speak to then.

Even though my family are qualified psychologists or counsellors, they can only do so much as they are family. You need someone external. I work with someone, she’s really great. We talk about different things and I ask her to challenge me in ways of how to get my mind right, how do I feel when I’m in certain situations, how do I train; lots of mindfulness stuff. That’s once a week. Also, we do talk about general life because you need to get it off your chest; she’s the best person to talk to, but it is mainly sports-based with a hint of normality. When my mind is off the track, I do try to get a lot of downtime because I can’t be ‘track, track, track’ or I’d overload.

I just want to healthy and then fit and ready to race. My expectation is to run a couple of 100m races before the British Olympic trials on 25 June. I will talk to my coach and I may start racing in mid-May. I hope to qualify for the Olympic Games and then race a few times before the Games. I’ll probably do the London Diamond League in July. There will be all sorts and enough to make sure we get in enough meets before the Games. Obviously we’d want more time but it will be enough for me, as in me and my coach are good enough to always work out a plan and execute it well. So that’s our focus.

The main thing now in April is to get myself ready and run as fast as I can.

To read Asha Philip’s diary entry for March click here.

Philip and her coach, Steve Fudge, delved deeper into her training and preparations for Tokyo in this Leaders Performance Institute article.

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