“For me, it’s not about pumping really loud music, it’s more about being relaxed and embracing those nerves. Seeing them more as adrenaline and something that will spur you on. You have those nerves because you care.”
Stephanie Davis, is competing in the Marathon in the 2021 Olympics for Team GB, she shared with us at SWIS, her story.
The Olympics trials were suppose to be part of the London Marathon in 2020, which for obvious reasons didn’t go ahead, meaning Steph was forced to do her try-out, behind closed doors. Talk about pressure (spoiler: she made it): “Covid has dampened the spirts because there’s not the same support around you. My boyfriend and I have been like hermits, unable to see anyone, to cut the risk of getting the virus. We just keep doing test after test. Saying all that, I can’t wait to get there.”
With the extra pressure added onto all the athletes, there’s only so much you can do to train. Steph, who lives in London, where cases were highest in the UK for the majority of the pandemic, made things even more difficult to find some way to train. Especially when your chosen sport is a 26 mile run…. I asked Steph what made her pick that particular discipline.
Long story short, if you’re thinking of joining a running club for a bit of fun and to socialise whist getting fit? Don’t: “My boyfriend and some of his friends signed up for the Berlin Marathon, and I thought why not? And started training. I had heard that one of the coaches at my running club wanted to speak to me as well, so I just went for it.”
All of this is remarkable, I couldn’t imagine myself just deciding to train for a marathon (period) but then, for people around you to think you can compete at a professional level. That’s the bigger picture I suppose, what gets you in the zone, and to The Olympics, is having people around you that notice your talent and drive to go all the way. For Steph coming from a sporty family, helps get you further into the competitive zone, she had an edge that got her this far.
“I loved the training and I loved running in Berlin so it started from there. My boyfriend does triathlon so we can train together, it makes it easier when you have a partner or someone to run with to get into the zone and keep each going”.
To go from temperatures in London to that of Tokyo, plus the humidity, is tough on the toughest of us, so in June, Steph set off for Mallorca to get up to speed. When I was speaking to Steph over zoom, it had been lovely sunny weather in London so that had helped her get in the zone, but nothing like the hot Spanish hills to get your practice in for The Games.
The only problem is that the marathon will be taking place 500 miles north of Tokyo, because really who could be expected to go over 26 miles in a city with 90 per cent humidity?
From Bearsden, to a London running club, to Tokyo. It doesn’t get better than that.
Well she’s racing in the next few days so we’ll just have to wait and see. Fingers crossed.
If you are interested in getting yourself into the zone, then check out our playlist, compiled of the favourite tracks from Scotland’s finest female athletes.