John Lane

Several people have been asking Toni whether or not Jess can double up at the Olympics to compete in the hurdles as well as the Heptathlon. I put the question to him,

“Bottom line is that it’s a matter of timing. The Heptathlon eight hundred metres is at eleven fifteen in the evening. That means Jess is looking at six hours sleep at most. Depending on how the Heptathlon finishes the emotional and physical recovery needed to compete will be very difficult.”

“The Heptathlon eight hundred metres is at eleven fifteen in the evening. That means Jess is looking at six hours sleep at most.”

“So you’re saying it’s not an option?”

“Not in my opinion, no. Rest and recuperation are critical to performance”.

Toni and Jess at the track

This prompts a question that has been on my mind for a couple of weeks, “What about you? How do you stay strong during the season?”

“I’ve got my new Garmin. Ten thousand steps everyday”.

I’d forgotten to mention the sight of Toni earlier this week walking, in broad sweeping circles on the back straight of the training centre, all in the name of meeting the target of ten thousand steps. It brought to mind a pacing bear in a zoo. Not necessarily the most positive association,

“I didn’t mean physically as much as intellectually and emotionally. You’re always on it. Even when you’re not. If you know what I mean…”

Toni puts his feet up

Toni Puts His Feet Up

“I’ll wait ‘til after Rio. Then I’ll take a holiday, put my feet up, recharge. Otherwise I prefer to crack on, just focus on the job,” he pauses, something’s obviously on his mind, “It’s like when Jess PPPB’d at Ratingen. I got some flak for not celebrating but I was studying the jump in case we needed to make adjustments for the next jump”.

“So no rest? Just keep working?”

“It suits me. Besides it’s easier now than it used to be. When you’ve been through the cycle several times you don’t get so excited. You know how to manage yourself better. I was checked out just the other day. Apparently I have the blood pressure of a teenager.

Purpose and endeavour. That’s what we all need. The body responds and you keep going”.

“But what about tapering, like an athlete preparing for competition?”

“When I get to a competition my work is pretty much done. I’m just there as a support mechanism. There’s not a lot I can do once the gun goes off”.

Toni laughs, “I don’t need to taper! When I get to a competition my work is pretty much done. I’m just there as a support mechanism. There’s not a lot I can do once the gun goes off”.

“True. I don’t see you nailing the hurdles on Jess’ behalf”.

It would, of course, help with hitting the daily ten thousand. Due to family commitments Toni is not able to be with John at his Decathlon today.

It’s a long way from Rio’s upmarket district of Humaitá to Hexham but that’s the journey John’s endeavouring to take today. Unfortunately the ongoing problem with his foot has meant that he’s simply not been able to put in the performances he’d hoped for.

It’s been a tough season for John. Sport can be unforgiving. I can sense Toni’s disappointment.

John Lane

John’s long jump

“Wasn’t Alicia competing today too?”

“Yes. That’s some good news. She won the English schools finals in 13.67. Job done.”

Want to know what it’s like in elite sport? There you have it, in one day of extremes.