Do you think your education or your career has helped to prepare you mentally for racing?
I studied as a physiotherapist so that has definitely helped me to have an understanding of my body and how to use it most effeciently for training and strength and conditioning work. It also taught me good time management to work my studies around a demanding training schedule.
Have you been an athlete all your life or did you have some sort of epiphany that got you into it?
I have always loved sport and been competitive but I made the move from a running career to triathlon when a serious knee injury and surgery prevented me from being able to train as much as i wanted to.
What do you do when you're not training or racing?
I am a coach so I like to keep up to date with the latest studies, I write my athlete’s programmes and i like to be outside in the sun with friends and making good playlists for my training sessions!
Do you behave differently in your life compared to during a race?
I would like to say yes but i think my friends and family would say no! I am competitive in everything and not very good at sitting down and relaxing!
How do you normally feel before the start of a race?
Before a race i normally feel quite relaxed if training has gone well and look forward to racing if i know i have done the hard work and if I’m ready. If something has happened that isn’t an ideal lead up then I still get excited about lining up and seeing how hard i can push my body, whatever happens its all about getting to the line having given it your all and I know I can control that so I normally feel quite excited about racing, and totally over the tapering!
What's the most rewarding feeling you have ever had on a race?
I think probably when things haven’t gone well in the lead up and i have still salvaged a result. It’s all about pushing through the boundaries in the lead up and in the race, never giving up when things don’t go your way and then I think that is the best feeling!
What's been your worst moment in a race? How did you overcome this?
Probably in my first ever 70.3 in Brazil when I didnt eat or drink enough in the race and was in the lead by 10mins with 1km left to go when I fainted. I had a long time with medical by the road but never stepped off the road and in the end walked the last 1km to the finish and still came 5th becuase I didnt want a DNF in my first long distance race, I was proud of that.
What does concentration mean for you? What role does it play when you train or compete?
Concentration is so important, for me its about being focused on a single goal and i think its important in your lifestyle as well as training becuase then it means you will give yourself every opportunity to achieve what you want. For me giving 100% to one thing is so much more rewarding than spreading concentration on different things and you need to do this to be the best, you have to be willing to be more focused than anyone else.
What structure does a race have in terms of the level of sensations? What do you start with, what do you end with, and what do you experience along the way?
The swim is the hardest for me so I’m always relieved when I’m out the water, then on the bike I just focus on all the things we have drawn from training and then onto the run I feel the best. I feel like very little can go wrong, I’m in control and I know this is the best part of my race so I always run happy.
What is your greatest enemy in a competition? What do you want to defeat?
I think its myself, I always just want to be better than the last time, to be constantly getting stronger and to always be able to go to a new level of pushing myself.
Your worst enemy is your mind?
I think your worst enemy is the uncontrollables, your mind you can control so you can make it your best friend!
Do you have thoughts of escape during a competition? Can you describe them?
Sometimes when I’m going really well I feel like I’m almost not present, like I’m so in tune with my body that everything around me is a blur and I’m just focused on pushing myself, on squeezing every last bit of energy out.
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’m hurting i always tell myself there is a limit to how much pain you can feel so there will be a point where I keep pushing and it cant get any worse, I can only get stronger!
Tell us the main differences you see between physical and mental strength.
I think mental strength is stronger than the body, I have pushed so hard that I have fainted and thats when your physical body lets go before your mind does. But a strong mind can strengthen the body so that they get in tune with each other.
What is your mental strength?
I think just loving what I do, loving the push, loving the goals, it makes me strong.
In triathlon is it necessary to have inner strength? Be made of iron maybe?
I think your inner strength needs to be passion, if you want something bad enough, if you love it then there has to be no limits!!
- EMMA PALLANT
- United Kingdom
3rd Track and Field World Junior 1500m
World Duathlon Champion x 2
World Aquathlon Champion
European XC Champion
2nd World 70.3 Championships
British Triathlon National Champion