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Olympian Steph Twell Joins Forces with Onetrack

Onetrack catches up with Steph Twell, the three-time Olympian, on working with Head Coach, Anthony Fletcher, on her build up to the Tokyo Olympic Marathon, along with her inspiring message for young females and what it takes to represent your country on an international level.

Years Running: Since a Junior U20

800m time: 2:02

5km time: Pre ankle break 14:45, post 14:59

10km time: 31:08 non carbon shoes!

HM time: 68:55

Marathon time: 2:26.41

Coach: Self coached

How did you become a professional athlete?

Becoming a professional athlete came about from my consistency and quality of performances. Surprisingly, this wasn’t down to raw talent but the ability to consistently train, recover quickly, adapt well under pressure, enjoy competing as well as the tough bits of training. I had many stepping stones in my junior career before attending my first Olympic Games over 1500m in Beijing (2008) at the age of 19. Regular testing exposure meant I became the World Junior Champion and multiple Euro XC Champion to develop my endurance.

What was it like to be on the start line for your first Olympic Games?

It blew my mind that a girl from Hampshire was now rubbing shoulders with the best in the world. It showed me that my training and pathway from home had developed me internationally as well as inspiring and impacting others locally. It felt wonderful to give my best shot at representing GB in the Olympic uniform, in front of a roaring crowd and under the Olympic flame.

What message do you have for young females?

Never, ever give up on yourself. Everyone's pathway and rate of development is different. Focus on yours, what your strengths are and always keep it fun and interesting. Athletics has so much to offer you in terms of personal physical and mental development. So remember, stay patient and trust the process.

Why have you decided to work with Onetrack?

I have long outsourced many professional practitioners to help improve my running ability: working with practitioners from physios, physiologists, strength and conditioning coaches to nutritionists and psychologists. However, having recently returned from plantar fasciitis issues, I knew my biomechanics and running form was something I would also need to re-train. Finding Onetrack so local to me meant I could discuss my biomechanics with Fletch and put in place good practices to support my posture before I ran. We identified focus areas I would need to work on to activate and optimise my chain, which we are continuing to develop now.

What is the role and importance of biomechanics (the screening and exercises) in your training?

Biomechanics is so important to any runner, but particularly so when looking to maximise your performance. Better biomechanics can help you reduce injury and increase energy efficiency by helping your muscles use less energy cost than required. In turn these percentages can help you perform better even in a training session as well as a race.

Why is this part of your solid foundation — what else?

Running as much as I do, I can lose quality to my movement mechanics. Especially when training for a marathon and when the training fatigue sets in. Resetting and activating the quality of my mechanics will enhance my quality of movement, thus accessing my full range and strength in my running posture.

What role does mobility play?

A certain amount of mobility can help you feel more fluid in your running style. It’s useful before sessions to help access the range of length your muscles can optimise but also particularly useful after sessions to regain range of mobility once your muscles have fatigued.

Why are you using the treadmill?

I’m using Onetrack’s treadmill because throughout my whole running career, I feel the treadmill can make your training accountable. On days I know my steady running can dip by running solo or because I feel tired from a session, jumping on the treadmill will guarantee a sensible pace I can hold for my designated time. I used to run on a treadmill in an altitude chamber but now I have also learnt my intuitive lactate turn points from the paces I am running. This in turn means it also promotes my psychological ability to dial into pacing whilst improving concentration or jamming to tunes to make the run fun!

Could more people benefit from this approach (i.e. having more biomechanical and physiological data and knowledge of their own bodies to avoid injury and excel?)

Absolutely!Working at Onetrack’s studio means one day a week I can have a body reset and remember what it feels like for my body to run rhythmically and smoothly on the treadmill. The pre-activation exercises set my movement mechanics up well and then jumping on a consistent surface means I can reinforce this movement fluidity. I would definitely recommend giving this combo a trial and implementing this into your week!

Watch the video below to find out more about Steph's training journey!

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