Hannah is one of Britain’s most successful Paralympians. At just 21 she’s a double World Champion and double London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist and also holds the World and British Paralympic records for the T34 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m.
Hannah is supporting the first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. You can make every mile count by running, swimming or cycling your way to raising cash at over a thousand venues, including our landmark events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. So, join the fun and games today and benefit from limited half price entry at www.sportrelief.com.
What are your top tips for people training for the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games?
Choose the event that you are really going to enjoy doing, because you’re not going to finish it if you don’t enjoy training for it and doing it. You’re obviously doing it for a fantastic cause so that should be your driving force throughout, but just remember to go out there and have fun! Warm up properly so you don’t get injured, and keep smiling because it will go so much quicker!
What music do you listen to while training and why?
Training-wise I tend to listen to anything that’s on the radio, but before a race I always listen to Skepta - ‘Hold On’. It has a lyric in it that says “You are undefeatable”, and that’s a good thing to think about. When you’re going into a race you want to believe you’re the best competitor there so it’s a nice lyric to have in your head.
What food do you eat while training and why?
I always eat bananas before every race, before training, after training – they are just amazing for everything! Oh, and I always drink chocolate milk after a race as well. It helps your body to recover.
What does a typical day of training look like for you?
When we’re in full training in the winter, it’s normally gym in the morning for about an hour - doing a lot of bench pressing, body weights and a lot of core stuff, and then home to chill out for a bit. Then you’ve got an evening session, so that can be anything from a 30 metre sprint start to a half marathon push - it all depends on what we are training for and what I’m looking to achieve.
How important is goal setting to people’s Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games training?
Goal setting is really important because it makes you feel good about yourself when you achieve them. It also gives you something to motivate you along, so if you miss one days training then you know you’ll behind on the next day and that means you might just not finish that mile, and it is really important that you finish. You don’t want to leave something half-finished because then you feel like you haven’t achieved your goal.
What is in your kit bag when you go out onto the track?
Helmets, gloves, and bananas!
What goes through your head while competing?
I’m actually a really nervous competitor so I’m always the one feeling sick on the starting line. You don’t want to go into something feeling too confident because that means normally your confidence can override you - you become a bit cocky and get knocked back, so always go into it feeling a little bit nervous then you get your best performance because you want to show people what you can do.
Sport and charity both have huge power to bring people together. In your opinion why do you think that is?
I think, especially with Paralympic sport, for us everything that you need to do the sport is always thousands of pounds, and so charities are the main driving force behind getting youngsters into our sport and getting them involved with things that we want them to do, and bringing through the next generation of champions. We couldn’t do our sport without charity support. In general, charities are just brilliant for getting the word out, getting people wanting to be involved - if you’ve got a cause to do something for it kind of guilt trips you into wanting to do it. And I think that’s brilliant because then people do it and find a new love for running or cycling or whatever sport they choose to do, and just carry on training for it afterwards.
Do you think there’s something about the British public that they get really excited about sports and charities?
Everyone’s got a charity close to their heart, whatever it might be. Sport is just a nice way to support that charity - it gives you something that makes you feel good personally, but then is also giving something to the charity too so you are kind of getting two things out of it.
Are you friends with other competitors? Would you recommend training with friends?
Whenever I get the opportunity I love to train with the people I compete against. For one, it is good to see what their tactics are, and it’s also just nice. It can get lonely out on the track or out on the road on your own so it’s nice to have someone to keep you going. It’s really good motivation, and you do kind of just lose your focus and get lost in conversation, so you get gone and go further but it just makes it so much easier.
When you’re at home, where’s your favourite place to train?
My favourite place to train is just on the roads around where I live - I just get so much support when I’m pushing up and down the hills, people beeping their horns at me and shouting out their windows and its really nice. It scares me, because I’m always like “Will you concentrate on how close you’re driving to me?!”, but it’s really nice to have that there because it means that they really believe in what you’re doing. Especially for me, my community have been with me all the way to London 2012 and beyond now, so it’s nice that they are still there to support me and I’m showing them that I’m still working hard for what I’m doing.
How can people make training fun? What are your favourite training exercises?
Mix it up a little bit, my most hated session is when I just have to jog for ages and just jog and there’s nothing else to do. So mix it up - do short little sprints, play games with yourself, stick some music on and you can just run to the beat and it’s all good.
Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories about sports?
Probably loads! On the podium at the World Championships in New Zealand, they started playing the national anthem because I had won the race. Every other girl on the podium and the whole audience turned to face the flag, except me who was still waving at the cameras and smiling. One of the girls had to tap me on the shoulder and say “Hannah you’re supposed to face the flag for your own national anthem!” I just completely forgot! I got a bit shouted at for doing that.