Natasha Harrison is a 400 and 200m runner currently studying at Loughborough University. As a previous Junior European Champion and English Schools record holder she had high hopes for the BUCS Indoor Athletics Championships (British University Championships) this February. She came away as double champion in the 400m individual and 200m relay with Loughborough. The championships were held in Sheffield on the indoor 200m track. We asked her about her preparations and how it feels to be a BUCS champion:
How did you prepare for the competition?
“In the days before a competition I like to focus on getting into a good sleep routine and having naps after sessions to ensure that my body is recovering well. I will generally sleep for around 10 hours in the days leading up to a race. I generally like to follow a good sleep routine anyway to recover from sessions, but during race periods I like to ensure that I make more of an effort to nap and prioritise resting more.
In the week leading up to the race, training changes to become lighter and more race orientated with taper sessions and a focus on modelling the race. This helps me to visualise what I will do in the actual race. I also like to visualise the race to help me prepare for different types of races. Before a race I will also prepare for the day by noting what times I will need to roll and stretch, warm up, go to the call room, what time the race is etc.”
What was your preparation like, did it go to plan? Did you do anything differently than previous competitions?
“Despite an injury early on where I had to cross train for a short period, my preparations for the indoor season went really well and I was in really good shape. This is the first season I have monitored my blood levels, which showed my ferritin levels were low. Discovering this and making the required changes with my team have allowed me to increase my iron intake and allowed me to train to a better quality.”
Were there any key sessions that you feel helped you win?
“At BUCS I had a heat on the Saturday, then a semi, final and relay on the Sunday. My endurance focused and lactic tolerance sessions definitely helped me have the strength to get faster with every round and have confidence that my strength was there. One of my favourite but most painful sessions which really helped me prepare for this is 5x300m.”
How does it feel to be Double British University Champion?
“It was great to become double BUCS champion. I was really happy to win the individual and then go on to contribute to the success of the team running the last leg of the relay.”
How did Forth Edge help you to prepare?
“Through Forth Edge analysis I have been able to monitor a number of biomarkers and keep on top of my iron levels which have been low in the past. Through the use of blood testing I have been able to see improvements in my biomarkers which have allowed my team and I to progress my training.”
And finally, what is next on your calendar?
“Now the indoor season is over, my focus shifts to getting ready for an outdoor season. My first race of the outdoor season is BUCS outdoors, followed by some 400s at meets in Europe.”
Good luck Natasha, we look forward to following your outdoor season in 2022!
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