Christmas is over and tomorrow we embark on a new year: 2018. But before we say hello to January, I need to introduce you to December’s TeenRunner Athlete of the Month: Sian Heslop. Sian is an incredible athlete who is currently competing in the under 15 category, running for Macclesfield Harriers AC, Cheshire, and England. And when I say running, I should really say winning, because Sian has been doing a lot of that as of late.
Just this season Sian has placed first in the British Athletics Cross Challenge in Liverpool and in two cross country leagues. Last track season she also won the under 15 England Athletics 1500m Championships in Bedford with a time of 4 minutes 33, and came second in the ESAA English Schools’ Championships 1500m race, and also in the SIAB Schools International (Inc. Home Countries International) she where donned an England vest.
But that’s enough from me, let’s hear from Sian herself.
1.Let’s start from the beginning: how long have you been running for and how did you get into the sport?
I’ve been running for around four years and I started running because I got chosen for the primary school’s cross country.
2. What was your best ‘running’ moment of 2017?
My best running moment of 2017 was coming over that finish line at English schools.
3. I can only imagine the hard work and time that goes into your training. Could you tell us about what your training week usually looks like?
I only train twice a week but the sessions are very intense. I usually do short distance on Tuesdays so about 12×400 and a long/ pyramid session so 400,800,1200,1600,800,400. Also, I do swimming 3 times a week.
4.How does strength training and stretching fit into your schedule?
I had an injury a few weeks before English schools track and my physio gave me strength exercises to do every few days for my legs and I do stretching for about 20 minutes after each training session I do.
5.Competing for England is something that hundreds of runners aspire to. What are your experiences?
My experience was amazing. I was so proud of myself for how much effort I had put in for training specifically for that race and actually in the race, though it was a very tough race.
6.Talking of races, do you have a specific pre-race routine? Are nerves an issue for you?
Nerves are a bit of an issue for me. For many big races I usually feel sick but I always have to eat. But when I actually get there and start to warm up they go and then when I’m on that start line my mind is blank and all that goes through my head is positive thoughts. I always walk the course and do a 6 min jog to warm up, then I do my drills which are usually about 45 minutes.
7.Of course diet is a very important component of performance: do you pay any special attention to this? What are your favourite post workout meals?
I used to not think about my diet. But this year I’ve started eating a lot more healthier and it has improved me. I still eat a little bad snack everyday because I need the calories.After every training session I have a chocolate milk and a banana as it is supposed to help recovery.
8.How has it been balancing training with GCSE homework. Is your school able to provide any help with training?
I do struggle sometimes with it being GCSEs and having tests do stress me out but once I get up to the track it all goes out my head and I just forget about it. Yes they do have a cross country club.
9.Have you ever suffered from injury and did this have any affects on your performance?
I have suffered from injuries and they have affected me. A couple of times it has affected my performance, I find it very hard not to run when I shouldn’t.
10.And finally, what are your plan for the future? Is becoming an elite runner a career path a career that you would like to pursue?
My plan for the future is to be an elite runner. Since I started running I have always hoped that one day I could be in the Olympics.
I would just like to say a huge thank you to Sian for answering these questions. It’s great to be finishing 2017 with such a great feature. If you want to hear more, follow the links below.