Establishing a Training Regime

It’s me again! It’s been a while since I last blogged, mostly because I’ve spent the last fourteen days straight at work and haven’t had a British Shooting coaching session for three weeks. I struggled in the meantime to come up with anything that I thought you might like to read about – until now.

As I start the 90 Day SSS Plan by the Body Coach, I have been reflecting on my recent eating and drinking habits to identify where I might see the most drastic changes in my lifestyle. I agonised for a short time over what I might do when working at one of my jobs, as it requires a 4:30 start and I always get hungry again by 10 o’clock, then again at 1, then again as I get home for my afternoon nap at 3 (I literally live for my afternoon naps after the early shift now!) and that led to thinking about my coaching sessions at Nuthampstead.

Although I don’t leave quite that early for training, I spend approximately three and a half to four hours driving there and back, and about four or five hours in total shooting. This not only leaves very little time for exercise on those days (and little energy, as driving does take it out of you too with all the concentrating required to stay out of car accidents!), but also raised issues of when and where to eat; the only places to stop are service stations with either an expensive Waitrose or cheap fast food joints, and the only food served at the shooting ground encompasses bread and fry ups – not the best options on a regular basis for an athlete trying to maintain physical health.

I had already started taking little ready-made packets of mixed fruit and seeds (the mango and goji berry one is my favourite!) as well as bottles of water, as I had been told that staying hydrated and energised in between rounds was wise and aided concentration as well as stamina. But now, I’m taking it to the next level.

Body Coach 101 says that meal prep is everything. And in the last few days where I have been buying food to make freezable meals and new tupperware boxes to store them in, I’ve realised that this practice is not only suitable for work (healthy food is hard to come by on a building site when working on an archaeological project!), but may also vastly improve my shooting. Provided I have access to a microwave or make foods that I don’t mind eating cold, I can take a decent lunch with me to coaching as well, which means I will no longer be tempted by the sausage sandwich I always go for if I get hungry whilst shooting. The snacky seed and fruit packs are the perfect size for in between rounds, as are my new mini tupperware pots that I take cashews or almonds in – and with the new guideline of drinking a minimum of 2.5 litres of water a day, I know I will never be dehydrated, as I now monitor exactly how much I actually drink.

Next Saturday’s session will be the first time I try this out with regards to shooting. So far the meal prep thing has gone incredibly well – I didn’t make a major mess in the kitchen this weekend, the meals I’ve made are delicious and nutritious, and being the food-lover I am, I am super happy that I am able to eat five times a day!

The night before I leave for Nuthampstead (or Doveridge, as at least another one of my sessions will be taking place there), I get my clothes out of the wardrobe ready for the morning – a long-sleeved baselayer is key because of the strong winds at Nuthampstead. I tend to go with a tshirt over the top, as I hate shooting in long baggy sleeves, then a pair of leggings or close-fitted tracksuit trousers. I learnt very early on that shooting Olympic skeet in jeans is difficult for me, as the denim restricts my movement. Not the same for all, I appreciate, as everyone has different comfort zones with their shooting equipment, and it is very subjective, even when shooting a variety of disciplines – jeans never bothered me when shooting sporting, for example. I then pack my cartridges in with my skeet vest, snacks, water, gloves, gun towel, ear protection and licence, clean my glasses and prescription inserts, and sit down after dinner with either a cheeky glass of wine, a Cuban or a pint of water. I try not to drink alcohol the night before a competition, but with coaching I don’t mind too much!

So, bag packed and early night before driving a fair distance, check. Caffeine hit from English Breakfast tea before leaving the house, check. Safe driving with decent music to entertain myself and my travel buddy, check. Coaching, check. Healthy nutritious food and drink, check. And most importantly, having fun, learning and practicing, check.

For consistency, it is vital to have a regime that is easy to stick to and appropriate for the sport. As with more physical sports, having a regime both on and off the stand in shooting is absolutely critical to success. Especially in skeet, knowing how to approach each stand and each clay on that stand with the same stance, gun hold point and swing speed is the make-or-break for success. One small alteration in any part of the regime could cause disaster! So I hope that now my regime is well and truly established, my shooting will be much more consistent. Seeing as I have recently booked in for my first 100 registered, which is very soon now, I hope it reflects well!
Photo courtesy of Charlotte Austwick.

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