We caught up with heptathlete, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, for a quick Q&A!
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Being crowned the World Indoor Champion earlier this year in front of a home crowd in Birmingham with all of my family there watching me! It was great to win the gold with the entire stadium cheering me on and then able to celebrate with my family at the hotel later that evening made it extra special and will be something I will always cherish.
What is coming up for you?
I will be competing in the British National Championships and then the Muller Anniversary Games as part of my preparations for the European Championships in Berlin. It’ll be the main competition for the summer for me and the majority of the best athletes in the Heptathlon are all from Europe so it should be a really good competition.
What is your training schedule like?
I train Monday to Saturday with Sunday’s off. It’s quite intensive, training for 7 events, there is a lot to prepare for so I have double sessions on a couple of days and there are some sessions that leave me feeling like I need a week off. Mainly Wednesday’s when I do hard high-intensity recovery sessions.
Why did you decide to become a heptathlete?
My teacher entered me for high jump at a school sports day. I’d never done it before but broke the school record and really enjoyed it so went to my local athletics club, Liverpool Harriers. However when I was there, I wanted to join in with the hurdles, then the long jump and so on and I loved doing them so here I am today. I really enjoy the variety in training so I’m glad I gave all the events a try when I was younger.
What do you enjoy outside of your athletics career?
As mentioned, training can be so hard that I need to rest, it’s hugely important so I spend a lot of time watching Netflix and other box sets. My eyesight has improved since I started wearing Acuvue Oasys 1-Day contact lenses so it makes leisure time much more fun. I’m really into nature and love animals so I visit some of the gardens here in Montpellier and whenever there’s an opportunity, I love to travel the world and experience various cultures and wildlife. I spent an extra week in Australia after the Commonwealths for this reason and think I will be doing the same in Doha next year and Tokyo in 2020.
What is the secret to your success?
I wouldn’t say there is a secret. It’s just making sure you apply yourself, prepare properly and give everything your all. I’m still striving to achieve more and think of that, what my goal is every day which helps to make sure I’m doing the correct things to help me – getting enough rest, eating correctly, training hard, having time to switch off and Facetime my mum.
Obviously 2012 was a long time ago now, but how did it feel to take part in this sporting spectacular?
Spectacular is the right word. That’s exactly how it felt. I was a teenager, it was my first ever senior competition and was incredible. I literally was in school the month before and I was due to go on my first girls holiday with my friends but I qualified for the Olympics so I obviously was in the stadium and they all watched from a screen on the beach.
You live in France most of the year, what’s different about the lifestyle out there?
It’s usually sunny, very relaxed and the people are very welcoming – everybody speaks to me in English which isn’t helping me progress my French but it’s great and I really enjoy it. The lifestyle is very laid back and outdoors; people tend to be outside in the sun much more and a little slower paced. What I mean by this is you will often see people sat outside in the sun enjoying a coffee no matter what day of the week or time of day whereas in Liverpool, I think most people tend to pick up a coffee in a takeaway cup and are heading off somewhere. I still miss Liverpool though, it’s home!
Who inspires you in your career the most?
Well there’s no doubt about this one, it has to be my mum, she’s amazing.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson is brand ambassador for Acuvue, acuvue.co.uk.