Australian athlete Jess Trengove, who grew up in Naracoorte, is on Queensland’s Gold Coast preparing to run in the women’s marathon on Sunday, April 15.
Set to move into the athletes village this weekend, Jess took time out in her busy schedule to answer a few questions from the Herald.
Thanks for your time Jess.
You'll be running in the 2018 Commonwealth Games marathon on the Gold Coast in just over a week. Do you feel ready?
So far preparation has gone to plan. I had a couple of weeks to recover after the World Championships in London last August and have gradually increased my training load and intensity since. With just over a week to go my main focus is to freshen up, sleep well, discuss the technical and tactical aspects of my race plan with coach Adam Didyk, to consume adeuqate carbs (energy) in those final two days, to enjoy the moment and to race hard!
Simply the thought of running 42km is enough to make most of us exhausted. In brief, how have you prepared for such a demanding event?
The last 12 weeks in particular have involved a lot of running, refuelling and recovery. My weekly mileage peaked at just over 200km (about 28.5km per day) but was generally somewhere between 180-195km. My runs have varied between interval sessions, Fartlek (speed play) sessions and long runs with my weekly 2.5 hour Sunday morning run playing an important role. I have also been doing a couple of strength and conditioning sessions in the gym every week for injury prevention.
You are due to move into the athletes village on Saturday. How does the last week of preparations for the race look for you?
My training volume has been steadily dropping back over the past three weeks but will be about half of what it usually is in the final week. I do a couple of short sessions to tick my legs over and start visualising aspects of the race. It will be exciting to enter the village with my team and I’ll be following their results closely whilst trying to harness as much energy as I can for race day.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games you performed brilliantly to win a bronze medal. Is it a realistic goal to match or surpass that effort?
That is my goal for this Games. I love racing for Australia and will be running with all of my heart!
Knowing what you know from achieving that result in 2014, have you approached these games differently?
I now know that there are many ways to approach marathon training and 2014 taught me that anything is possible when you work hard, have a strong support network and maintain an open mind. Whilst heavy cross training helped me to get to the start line in my best shape in 2014, I am grateful to have been able to tick off the running sessions for this race!
Do you have a plan or strategy for the race that you can share with us? How do you see the run panning out?
It is likely to be hot and humid so my plan is to set myself up smartly in the first half to be strong in the final stages.
Who might be the other competitors you are looking out for?
Naturally the African nations like Kenya are strong in endurance running events. My Australian teammates are also in very good form and I expect England to have a strong team, too.
Have you had a lot of support from back home in Naracoorte?
The support has been incredible. I will be drawing inspiration from my childhood in Naracoorte, where my passion for running evolved and the special people I have met along the way.
Who will be there supporting you on the Gold Coast (family members, coaching staff etc)?
My parents, my sister Abbie and her family (including my niece who was born just after my Marathon in Rio), my boyfriend Dylan and his mum, childhood friends including Alice Monfries (now Borgas), teammates and training partners from Team Tempo, relatives, family friends, members of my support team from the SA Sports Institute and other Aussies who I have met over the years.
If you had to nominate a specific number of gold medals that Australia will win at the games, what would be your prediction?
I hope that we’ll crack 50.
When you cross the finish line on Sunday, April 15, what will be the first thing you do after you catch your breath?
I hope to find my family and Dylan for some big sweaty hugs! I will also be excited to see my coach.
Do you have any final comments?
The South East has an amazing sporting culture and is an ideal place for an aspiring athlete to begin his or her career. I hope these Games develop passion for sport and spark dreams to represent Australia in the minds of Naracoortians. My key message however is to enjoy the process of working towards your goal.