Training and Racing in Europe

Hi guys! Thought now would be a good time to update you on my progress so far over here in Europe.

I've been here for 3 weeks now and have done two 400m races in the last 2 weeks and had some really solid sessions with some of the other Aussie athletes whilst in Cologne.

I settled into Cologne quickly, we had a good set up as our apartment was in between the track/gym and the physio which was only a 5min tram in either direction. I unfortunately came down with a head cold after getting off the plane which wasn't ideal but luckily it passed quickly and just in time for my first race too.

My first 400m race was in a small town called Oordegem in Belgium. It was a good field with athletes at a similar pace to me and not too far from Cologne so we could just drive there. I came second in 53.22. I wasn't overly happy with the time but considering the circumstances surrounding it, it was a pretty solid effort and I gained a lot of insight into where I was at and things I needed to change in my training.

The next week was a pretty big week of training and I was on the track a lot! I also managed to sneak in a sight seeing session around Cologne with a few of the girls. It is a beautiful city and a very active city. Everyone rides bikes everywhere!

My next race was in Kortrijk in Belgium, it is a tiny town but very fancy and beautiful. Lots of 5 star restaurants and hotels, but of course also very pricey! The race itself was a bit funny as it was a 6 lane track, but they had entered 7 athletes. So unfortunately they had to split the race into two, and the fastest heat which I was in only had 3 girls! I ended up running a similar time to the week before and finished 3rd (out of 3!).

On our second last night in Cologne, the soccer World Cup was on and as it happened - Germany was in the final! We went out to dinner in town to soak up the atmosphere and watch the match. It was absolutely a memorable night. Germany ended up winning and everybody took to the streets to celebrate. And by celebrate I mean riot. It was amazing to be there and see Europeans going crazy for soccer!

Just yesterday I left Cologne and have moved into the Australian Athletics Team Holding Camp in Gateshead, England. It is a relief to finally be here and to be really gearing up towards the Commonwealth Games now. We received our uniforms yesterday which is really exciting!! They aren't as bad as the media made it out to be...just the kermit the frog jacket (see below) but I really like our competition kit and am so proud to be able to compete in the green and gold again. The team atmosphere here now is building and I think everyone can't wait to actually move into the village in Glasgow and start competing!

The weather has been kind to us so far, patchy sun and not much rain. It is a bit colder than I expected though but I think that's just because when I think of summer, I think of warmth...

Anyway moving forward I have my last race on Saturday in Loughborough, England where I will be running in a 200m. We move into the athletes village in Glasgow on the Monday and then it is only 6 days until my first race!!

Enjoy the pictures below of training, races and a few Cologne snaps.

Lots of love to everyone and a big thanks for your continuous messages of support!!

A. xx

Quick Core Workout

Happy Monday!

Today I thought I'd give you a core/abs workout that is super effective for runners.

It is great for core strength and stability which is a must if you want to have a long career with as little injuries as possible!

1. 60-90 sec plank: Hold your body in a straight "plank" like position on your elbows and toes - try not to arch your back and strain your neck, and remember to take deep breathes! If you want to advance this, you can raise the opposite arm and leg slightly (but as long as you maintain a strong position through your hips/back)

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2. 20-30 x Exercise Ball Pikes: See below Picture. Hold your upper body strong with your hands and roll the Fit Ball back and forward on your toes by raising your hips towards the roof and bringing them back down to a plank position.

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3. 20 Leg Lowers (free weight or with a dumbbell) Flatten your back against the ground and lower your legs and arms down the ground as far as you can without arching your back. You can do this single leg/bent knees to begin with and work your way to double/straight legs with added weight in your hands. Image

4. 30-60sec Side Plank (with hip adduction) With one elbow, hold your torso in a straight line and lift your hip off the ground and as high as you can go. Maintain strong core without bending at the hips. If you want to advance this and add in a bit of work for your glutes - keeping your legs as straight as possible, raise your top leg to 45 degrees and lower back down.

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5. 50 Medicine Ball Russian Twists Holding your legs up in the air in front of you and keeping strong through your core, rotate your torso with the medicine ball at chest height. Don't let the ball touch the ground just hover it above and then change sides. If you want to advance this one, try with straight legs in front of you (as long as it doesn't strain your back!) Image

Repeat this whole circuit 2-3 times, a couple of times a week and you'll feel a big difference in no time! Make sure you are doing it with the proper technique before you advance and remember to keep breathing throughout each exercise - makes it harder for your abs and keeps you alive ;)

Let me know how you find it! And until next time...

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And start doing today!!

A. xx