OLYMPIC hopeful Jenny Meadows will take part in her first running session of the year this week – under water!
Having trained with Wigan Warriors in recent weeks during her recovery from an Achilles injury, the Great Britain 800m ace has also called on help from two Premier League outfits to kickstart her London Games bid.
She visited Christopher Park training ground last week to share tips with Latics manager Roberto Martinez and his squad.
And now she is planning to use Manchester United’s rehab facilities to help accelerate her recovery process.
She explained: “United have got an underwater treadmill, which takes away 75 per cent of your body weight because of the buoyancy of the water, which they’ve kindly allowed me to use.
“That’ll be my first run of the year, so it’s very bizarre, and certainly not what I thought my Olympic programme would be like! “I told them at Wigan Athletic, ‘I’m not swearing, but I’m going to Man United!’, and they were laughing about it.”
Latics, of course, humbled United earlier this month to throw the title race wide open – and boost their chances of Premier League survival, particularly with a victory at Arsenal the following week.
Meadows tapped into their ability to deal with adversity and pressure during a meet-and-greet with the squad last week.
“It was fantastic to meet Roberto and his players,” she said. “He’s great to spend time with and he’s so positive.
“They are a great bunch of lads and their performances over the past seven weeks or so have been amazing, showing real determination. Many people had written them off but they’ve shown what you can accomplish if you apply yourself and believe – qualities you need to be a successful Olympian.”
Meadows suffered a rare type of Achilles problem during her winter training programme.
“At first I thought, ‘Oh God, London 2012’, I can’t believe this,” she said. “There was no protocol for it because I was only the 38th case in Britain with this type of tear.
“But the amount of support I’ve had has been fantastic and the rehab has gone well. It’s gone better than they thought – I’m a fast healer – and so even though I’ve not been able to run this year, I’m really positive.”
Meadows has maintained, and improved, her fitness with the help of Warriors’ head of sports science Mark Bitcon, and has channelled the disappointment of last year’s World Championships – and missing this year’s Indoors event – to drive her through three gruelling sessions a day. The 31-year-old, who won bronze at the 2009 championships, failed to make the final in Daegu last September – a blip on an otherwise successful season which saw her claim the Diamond League title and win two silvers at the European Championships.
“The World Champs last year was not the worst performance I’ve ever done but I expected to be in that final,” she said.
‘‘I was probably thinking about the final, rather than having to come in the top two qualifying spots to get to the final.
“It was definitely a mental error. I was left watching that final thinking what could have been. But I’d rather it happened there than in London. Best to learn from it there.”
Jenny Meadows was speaking as an ambassador for SPAR UK. SPAR has been a principle sponsor of the European Athletics Association since 1996 and a sponsor of UK Athletics since 2004. For more visit www.spar.co.uk/athletics