Fresh from her Mazda London Triathlon success, we caught up with Helen Jenkins to talk Emma Moffatt, 2012 and the forthcoming ITU series race in London.
Where are you in your season? Hitting form, struggling with injury, strong as an ox…? How do you rate your season so far?
I feel like I’m on track at the moment. I started the year pretty slowly and have tried to build into it as the year has gone on – the plan is to have my best races in Hyde Park World Champs series and the World Champs series Final Gold Coast. I’ve been improving steadily throughout the season so hopefully I’ll keep improving!
After winning the Worlds last year and racing Beijing, do you feel you’re a stronger athlete in 2009? What did you learn from those two races? And is it hard as an athlete to get yourself up a year after the Olympics?
I learnt so much last year, from being on such a high after Worlds and then having a really bad race at Beijing. I learnt a lot about preparation, mental preparation, taper, the best environments to train – so much! I hope I can use all the information over the next few years to help me prepare for 2012. This year is a strange year as some people have come out blazing after the Olympic year and some people seem to have had a bit more time off and are not in the same form as last year. I had a really long break last year so it has taken me longer to get back into racing this year. It will be my last extended time off for four years and I think it’s important to let your body go back to normal for a while, put on weight and allow everything to recover.
I have to add that I feel fortunate that I have a lot of support around me – obviously through Marc, my coach and husband – but also through my family, friends and sponsors. Having the latest and best gear really does help enhance my performance and training. For example, I’ve been training with a Suunto t6c heart rate monitor <http://www.suunto.com/> for the past few months so I’ve been able to get really accurate data from my tough sessions.
Are you still based out of Swansea? If so, how do you keep the training fresh? Different routes etc…?
I’m based in Bridgend. It’s quite easy to keep things fresh as I have different groups of athletes to train with for all three disciplines.
What are your impressions of Emma Moffat? She seems to be stealing Emma S’s thunder this season.
Emma Moffat is having a fantastic year, she’s a really nice girl and has obviously worked so hard for it. Her and Emma Snowsill are training partners so I think they are helping each other along at the moment. Emma Snowsill hasn’t shown the same form she had last year yet this year, but who blames her! She had such a fantastic year she should be able to have had a bit of time to enjoy it! And she is still beating everyone else in the world but her own training partner.
What’s the training arrangement with Marc [Jenkins, Helen’s husband and fellow elite triathlete]? Is he your coach/training partner?
Marc is both! He sets my training out and with the help of the staff at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff we have a training programme in place. He does quite a bit of training with me. We are quite similar in the pool and I can hang on the back of him for hard bike stuff, no chance on hard running though! We do our easy running together. With Marc returning to the Elite team, he is just going to see how it goes – he didn’t even know if he’d be able to run again last year after three achilles operations so he is just seeing how it goes.
Are you viewing London as recce for 2012 or a race in its own right? Looking forward to swimming in the Serpentine?
A race in its own right as the course won’t be exactly the same and it’s a pretty important race this year too. It will be great to get a feel of the venue though.
What are your views on Al Brownlee’s performances this year? A gold medal prospect for 2012?
Al is doing fantastically! It’s been so inspiring to watch his performances so far this year. It’s three years to 2012 so maybe it’s best not to put all the pressure on now. But the way he is going, he is on track.
Any athletes coming out of Wales that we should keep an eye out for?
Yes, especially in the girls. Non Stanford a really talented runner has just crossed to triathlon and Elinor Thoroughgood, a young girl based in Aberystwyth, is doing well too.