Ian Thorpe offers City2Surf training tips
Ian Thorpe is Australia’s greatest swimmer and has won more Olympic gold than any other Australian athlete, but he readily admits his sporting prowess doesn’t extend to running.
“I’m like most swimmers, I don’t run. If I run I run on sand, not bitumen. I tend to get shin splints.” Thorpe said. “I’ve run up hills but I’ve never done Heartbreak Hill or City2 Surf.”
Thorpe, 33, who has won five Olympic gold medals, offered some words of wisdom to about 100 participants of a City2Surf training run on Monday night as they embark on the final two weeks of training before the country’s biggest fun run.
“People doing it are at all different levels. For some people, achievement is just to get through and I’m all for that,” said Thorpe.
The long-distance swimmer understands how to draw on your reserves as you start to tire in a race.
“When I’ve had to find something else, I’ve reminded myself of how much I’ve done to get to this point,” Thorpe said. “I remind myself that my goal was this.
“When you need that little bit more, sometimes it’s just getting to that next lamp post, and then the next one.”
As well as playing mind games to get you through each stage, Thorpe says self-talk plays an important role.
“I’d go ‘you’re nearly at the end’ or think about technique when I was starting to feel tired – I’d try to make my stroke longer, even though it was getting shorter,” he said.
“We all have that self-talk and it has such a strong influence on our performance, in a positive or a negative way.”
The swimmer will be in India at the time of the 14-kilometre race to broadcast for the Olympics.
He said he will feel nervous watching his fellow Australians compete.
“When I’m watching, I squirm a little bit, especially if I know them,” Thorpe said, adding it’s natural for people competing to also feel unsettled.
“Competing comes with anxiety and nerves – it’s the risk of being an athlete – and can weigh you down but it can actually lift you up. Usually it’s a good thing.
“I think our team is going to do very well – they’re a nice group and I think it will be a nice turnaround from London.”
While Thorpe will not be in Australia for City2Surf, ambassador for the run, Sylvia Jeffreys, will be competing.
Jeffreys, who is hosting a free public yoga class in Westfield Sydney Pitt Street Mall at midday on Tuesday August 2, will be joining other high profile participants including Tai Hara, Wippa, Tessa Myles, Shannon Ponton and the Veronicas, who will be playing at the start line.
Both 2015 winners, Cassie Fien and Brad Milosevic, are returning to defend their titles. Milosevic will have stiff competition from Harry Summers, who has placed 4th and 2nd in previous City2Surf races and who won the NSW Cross Country Championships in June, beating Milosevic.
Liked this? Read these!
Got something to say? Get it off your chest here
The Juice Daily is a Fairfax Media owned website