For those of you who don’t know this Australian superstar, you need to! She is an Olympian, World champs finalist and Australian record holder, and she has been over in the UK, racing here alongside the Diamond League series. The 31 year old Nike sponsored athlete boasts a 3,000m steeplechase best time of 9:14.28 and finished 5th at the 2018 commonwealth games in the same event. She has also competed in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics. I had the privilege of being in the same race as her and she kindly agreed to answer some questions for all of our benefit. Thank you Gen for being so kind and taking the time to do so!
Did you ever imagine that your running career would reach the levels that it has? And what would be your advice to someone who aspires to get to the same level?
I definitely didn’t think I would have had this much success. As a young kid I loved running and being active. I was in awe of the Australian Olympians at the time however making it that far in running was just a dream to me. The best bit of advice I could give to younger athletes is make sure you love what you are doing. If you start to lose the enjoyment along the way, the work becomes harder and you will lack the motivation and determination you need to achieve your goals. I have always loved to run and I still do which has helped me so much, especially when facing adversity.
How do you find competing in the UK in comparison to Australia?
I love to compete in the UK. I think the track & field following here is close to the best in the world. The fans are so loyal and passionate which is refreshing compared to Australia. Australia has some great athletes and decent meets but we definitely can’t compete with the meets and fan base here in the UK.
Throughout your career how have you ensured you have fuelled yourself sufficiently in line with changes in training intensity and volume?
This is a hard area to control as our metabolisms are always changing with the different training seasons. My rule of thumb is if I’m injured and cross training, I eat as much as my body wants. I don’t deprive it of calories. In base season I eat a lot more carbs, fats and protein to protect my body during high mileage. Then when competition season rolls around my biggest emphasis is on protein for recovery and carbs for energy. Naturally races make me drop a bit of weight so I make sure I stay on top of energy input when that starts to happen. Fuel is so important!
What has been your biggest challenge in your career and how did you overcome it? (Both mentally and physically)
Countless injuries has been the hardest part of my career. I have had some great results and seasons before, however facing heartbreaking injuries that disrupt your momentum are very difficult. My achilles in 2019 was nearly a breaking point for me but in the end it was my mental strength that got me through. I lean on my husband a lot and it required me to believe I could overcome this injury despite how long it may take. Setting new achievable goals no matter how small they seem is key. You also need someone to believe in you and help you when you doubt yourself. I was lucky to have this as it was my toughest hurdle yet - physically and mentally.
When did you find you made the biggest leaps in your progression and what aided this?
2016 was my biggest progression in this sport. It stemmed from consistent training and layering great workouts on top of each other. Once I started racing, I started doing small PBs which converted to confidence. When you are fit, strong, confident and have the layers of training behind you, nothing seems impossible.
How do you ensure you stay positive when training and racing?
You have to be able to remove yourself from bad races and build off the good races. I have had my fair share of poor performances and the hardest part about my job is letting go of those days, and trying to move forward and fix what went wrong. I am still learning but it is something I have had to get use to. There is always another race around the corner to better yourself.
Finally, how do you find going around the international circuit with your husband?
It is a dream come true. This is an individual sport and can feel so lonely at times. Having Ryan with me as someone that lives and breathes the same life is a blessing. We do have to be selfish at times to race well individually but we carry each others performances, good or bad, and can be a great sounding board for one another when we need some advice.
To follow Genevieve’s journey head over to her Instagram.