How they train – Izzy Jeffs

The UK javelin No.1 and her coach David Parker spoke to AW about her training and progress

Izzy Jeffs (Mark Shearman)

Izzy Jeffs has started 2013 well with a lifetime best of 56.31m at the Loughborough International last month followed by a 50.24m for first in Bedford and ninth at the European Team Championships in Gateshead with 50.27m.

Now in her ninth competitive season, it hasn’t always been just about throwing the javelin and a look at the Power of 10 stats confirms that she has dabbled with sprints, jumps and other throwing events.

Her introduction to athletics began when her parents took her down to the local North Devon AC at the age of eight. Jeffs says: “I played a lot of other sports, as well, including hockey and netball. I only went along once a week to the club and that was only in the summer months.”

The Loughborough University student admits candidly: “I only really realised this season with David Parker coaching me that perhaps I could be good at throwing the javelin. Obviously, I made the decision to focus on it before going to Loughborough as I had done it at school and at the club, but it was always alongside other sports.

“I just enjoyed it and I was good for my age, which is why I decided to stick with it.

“I trained hard last year, but had a lot less direction and sense of what could be. David has really made me see the bigger picture and what the future could hold, especially if I keep focused and work hard.”

The 21-year-old looks back to the Bedford International Games in 2010 where she threw 54.89m as a major breakthrough competition – a performance which gained her selection for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi where she finished 13th.

Since changing coaches her training intensity has been much higher. She says: “I now train five days a week and on most days have two training sessions. The weight training is more functional than it has been before and David is there for every throwing session, which I find really helpful.

“There is also more fitness training, such as Watt bike sessions and these have increased my capacity to train harder for longer in the weights room and throwing outside.”

Asked about her favourite session, she says: “Probably weights, especially when I am full of energy and lifting big weights.” But she said her least favourite “has to be 4x5000m on the Watt bike which I had to do in the winter, and unfortunately David has already told me I’ll be doing more next winter! As long as it’s making me a better athlete I’ll do any training he gives me – he’s extremely knowledgeable and I trust his methods.”

Parker explains: “The big Watt bike is just a general work capacity session for health and wellbeing which we generally do in the general prep phase at the start of the winter. It creates muscular tension and is carried out at an intensity relevant to the fitness of the individual. I only started coaching Izzy in January and therefore had to get her playing catch up a little relative to where I thought she should be. She caught up, but didn’t enjoy the session – I’ve done it and it’s nasty!”

The North Devon athlete says her targets for this season are to stay healthy, injury-free and peak for the European U23 Championships in Finland.

She adds: “Longer-term I want to keep improving and go to and be competitive at the 2016 Olympics.”

You can find further performance stats on Izzy on Power of 10 here.

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