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Interview in The Hot Tub … Dame Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly Homes knows all about the grit and determination it takes to win an Olympic gold medal (or two), and through her own initiative - On Camp With Kelly has been guiding team GB’s London 2012 hopefuls … but alongside proving her superstar status on and off the track, she is still partial to the odd facial as well … 

Would you consider yourself a natural runner?

Yes, from an early age I was clearly born to run.  It’s like riding a bike, even if I didn’t do it for a while I would still get straight back into it.

What was your training routine like when you were competing in the Olympics?

I used to train twice a day, six days a week and then have a rest day, which is as important as the training.  In the winter it was longer runs, hill runs, weight training and circuit training, and then I would increase the intensity with track work.  I also used the pool and the gym, especially when I was injured and did a lot of aqua jogging.  I only had three weeks off a year.

You used to be in the army - do you think that influenced your training?

I think the army had an impact in terms of discipline.  Forget running, it’s that determination to push yourself.  When I came back to athletics after the army (Holmes originally left athletics for the forces) I had no fear of anyone, I just ran, I didn’t think about the opposition.  I started getting injured when I was out of the army - when it’s completely about athletics it’s about performance all the time whereas in the army you are just physically very fit - which includes muscles that are not used for running but are supportive.

What’s your proudest moment so far in your sporting career?

Of course it has to be the 2004 Olympics, but I was proud that I was capable of sticking to that journey for over twenty years, when other people would have given up; I was proud when I went into the army because it was a dream I had since I was fourteen; and I am proud of the work I do now with On Camp With Kelly, giving junior female athletes of promise that platform to progress.

What has been your lowest moment?

The worst has to be the bloomin’ injuries and the emotional and psychological aspects that go with them.

You mention your injuries - how did you deal with them?  It must have been frustrating?

Being injured as an athlete is frustrating, but I learned I had to keep my body fit and focused so I needed to take my body into an environment where it could do that.  I did a lot of aqua running, but you have to do it properly to the point of being exhausted.  The benefit of it is that you can do back-to-back sessions because there isn’t any impact on the joints.  If you do a really tough track session on a Monday, you wouldn’t generally do it again on a Tuesday, but you can with aqua running because the only impact is cardiovascular.  The stepper became my best friend, even though I hated it, I loved it as well.  In 2000 I was injured with a calf tear in January, and I was training in the pool and on the cross trainer.  I only had six weeks of track work before the Olympics and I came back with a bronze medal - I was fit as anything, it was only my head that stopped me from getting the gold.

Do you think mind over matter is very important then?

A lot of it’s psychological, yes.

You are obviously very competitive - is that the same in every area of your life?

Huh! Yes, I am!  That wasn’t something I learned, I hate losing!  My family will tell you I am a terrible loser!

Do you ever take time out to relax?

My brain doesn’t stop, but essentially that makes me who I am.  I do take time out with friends and talk nonsense and watch movies, but I always want to learn more even if I am not winning medals, I want to achieve the best I can - at the moment I am working in health and wellbeing on a club/ national level, I want to get to the point where it’s international!

Do you think spas play an important part in your health?

Absolutely - having the wellbeing side of health is very important.  Lots of people need time out to stay motivated and I think spas are one of those things that really help.

Do you have a favourite treatment?

I do like having a facial - I think doing sport all the time you can feel a bit clogged up.  I like having my nails done as well - being pampered!

You are doing a lot of mentoring at the moment through On Camp With Kelly - what does that involve?

All the athletes have their own coaches, I help advise on the mentality of the athlete, and provide that confidence.  I also work on rehabilitation programmes based on my own experience, and bring them together in groups - providing that support structure; you only need to be a rival on the track - I think what we have created is a network of people who understand what each other is going through.

Silly question - are you looking forward to the Olympics this year?

Yes!  I think having competed at three and watched one; I know the impact it has on people - everyone involved - the spectators, the organisers, the fans - it has such a massive impact.  I don’t think people know what to expect - they are really something special.

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