Natalie Seymour is a British triathlete and former field hockey player. She competed for England in the women's hockey tournament at the 2010 Commonwealth Games where she won a bronze medal. After being a reserve team member in the hockey tournament at the 2012 Summer Olympics she decided to take an 18 month hiatus from the sport, and in 2014 she switched to competing in triathlon.
What do you do? What is your profession?
I am a clinical psychologist
How long have you been a triathlete?
I have been doing triathlon since 2013.
Do you think your education or your career has helped to prepare you mentally for racing?
I think there are many important factors in preparing for the psychological sides of racing. Of course, being a psychologist has given me an excellent foundation for understanding different techniques, but I practice these and work with my coach to develop strategies for race day. I also think that belief in training and my experiences as an elite hockey player have prepared me for racing and performing to the best of my ability.
Have you been an athlete all your life or did you have some sort of epiphany that got you into it?
I have done sport for as long as I can remember and think that it will always be a huge part of my life. I love training, improving and being outdoors working hard or enjoying the scenery. I am lucky to have made many lifelong friends and visited amazing countries as an athlete and this inspires me to continue.
What do you do when you're not training or racing?
At the moment I am working full time and have just finished studying for a doctorate, so I would have to say work! But, I also enjoy time with my family and friends, reading and drinking coffee!
What’s been your worst moment in a race?
My worst race moment is probably from the first race I did and panicking during the open water swim start. The whole way around I wanted to stop and was not able to relax at all.
How did you overcome this?
I overcame this experience by spending a lot more time in open water and making sure I swim with others around me. I also prepare better for the start and try to relax and visualise coming out the other end of the chaos and swimming well.
Tell us the main differences you see between physical and mental strength.
I think that physical and mental strength are totally connected and contribute to each other. I think your physical strength only truly shines through if you are mentally strong. Both aspects need training and can be improved upon. It is often said that 'your mind will give in sooner than your body'.... It is about making sure you tell yourself that your body is not done yet to let the physical strength shine through.
When you feel you can’t go any further, when you want to give up, what goes through your mind? What does your body tell you and what does your mind come back with?
When I feel like I can't go any further I try to relax and remember all the hard sessions I have done in training. I also look around and try to soak in the atmosphere that is often there on race day. I tell myself that it will not last and sometimes think that if you can get through a rough patch in a race, you can come out the other end faster and stronger.
How do you normally feel before the start of a race?
Excited, nervous and focused.
In triathlon is it necessary to have inner strength? Be made of iron maybe?
I think everyone has Inner strength and it can come in many forms. I think triathlon is a great sport to realise that inner strength and show yourself what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. I always think that it is the day to day consistency that requires as much inner strength as race day.... "Courage doesn't always roar, sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying I will try again tomorrow."
- Natalie Seymour
- United Kingdom
Went to the 2012 Olympic Games with the English Hockey team