Friday, 27 October 2017 15:05

Emma Coburn :Top tip for surviving the athletics circuit

Emma Coburn’s had a fairytale 2017, winning the world 3000m steeplechase title and tying the knot with fiancé Joe Bosshard. The US record-holder talks competition, training and spare time.

Championship tip

I always try to keep everything as light as possible and to keep the nerves and pressure at bay, I like to binge on crap TV. I always try to bring a live streaming device and plug it into the hotel TV or laptop. I like to watch comedies and I’ve just re-watched The Office [US version] for the tenth time. I’m also a big fan of The Great British Bake Off.

Watching TV helps me emotionally while physically I try to take lots of rest – regular naps and good sleep. However, it is important not to isolate yourself too much. To stay holed up in a hotel room five days before a big race also does not help reduce the emotional stress.

Psychological tip

Every athlete copes differently with the stress of competition and I find what motivates me is to have a really solid plan going into each race. I race better when I have to execute and hit certain splits at certain points in the race.

Many athletes thrive on just going out and racing, but for me I like to control and visualise what is happening. To make a detailed plan makes the race less nerve-wracking.

Technical tip

It is often chaos in a high-level steeplechase race, so to get over each barrier without an accident I try to remain calm and relaxed. This works for me.

I have to say, so far, I have never had any major accidents during a race, although in my final workout before the London Olympics, just as I was going over the water jump I noticed two geese in the water. I had to change my flight plan to avoid hitting them, so although I’ve never personally fallen, I once nearly killed two geese!

Coaching tip

My coach [and husband] Joe Bosshard often tells me “it’s just running, babe”. He tells me this to calm me down if I’m over-thinking a race or over-thinking a workout. It helps remind me that running is just running and not the most important thing in the world.

Top tip for surviving the athletics circuit

I like to travel with a NormaTec, and whether it has a placebo effect or not, I do feel it helps my legs when I arrive at destinations after flying.

I also have a pre-hab stretching routine, which I always try to do every day. I have carried out this routine in hotel lobbies and hotel corridors in the past, particularly if I’ve landed late to a destination. I find it useful in helping my body recover.
Top parental tip

It is not so much a tip, but I just appreciate their general support. They travel to many of my international meets and I love having them there because it is a peaceful reminder of home. Their presence is always something I look forward to. They never ask anything from me. They are just there to support me.

Cooking tip

I’ve found gelatin is very good for tendon health. I have had problems with my Achilles tendon in the past, so I’ll make Red Bull gummy bears – which are not only nice but also good for my tendons!

Fashion tip

I really like traveling in cotton dresses. I think you not only look cute, but wearing them is as comfortable as wearing pyjamas, which I find very helpful on long overnight flights.

Driving tip

I am not a great city driver. I grew up in the mountains and I am far more comfortable driving over a snowy mountain pass. It is not necessarily a driving tip, but I find on a long journey listening to a podcast definitely helps pass the time.

Vacation tip

We are very lucky as athletes to visit many beautiful cities, but we rarely get the chance to visit them and hang out in our bathing suit. That’s why at the end of the season I like beach vacations, sitting on my butt and doing nothing!

My favourite place is Hawaii. I have been there five or six times before and it is where I am getting married this year. [The wedding took place just last weekend.]

Social media tip

The world of running is so universal, if I post a picture of running in a different city the amount of responses I receive from people saying they’ve run that trail is overwhelming. I find social media is a great way of connecting with people and sharing the universal love of running.

Dating tip

In terms of date nights, we really like to go to for early happy hours and get 50 percent off food offers. I like it because it means we are often done by 8pm and it allows me to get to bed early as an athlete. Plus I also love a good bargain!

by SPIKES