Many of you may not know of Jodie Williams, but from what I’ve heard, she is an incredibly strong young woman, with aspirations and determination that should be a role model to any young girl. While finding out about her as my first official profile of an athlete, I was stunned. I’m not a big fan of The Olympics and as someone who has only taken to running in the last six months – before June I couldn’t run for 30 seconds and now I’ve 20 minutes almost down – I wasn’t aware of any of the representatives of my own country. Shame on me.
However, Jodie has piqued my interest, and do you know why? Because at the age of 23, Jodie Williams has a string of awards under her belt that would make anyone look at her in awe. She won awards in 2009 for the 100 and 200 metres becoming the IAAF World Youth Champion, something she repeated in 2010 for the 100m as a junior champion. She was a champion and medallist in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 and was unbeaten for 151 races from 2005-2010. The only thing I was unbeaten at in that time was how long I could sleep for. At one point I slept for 18 hours, but I don’t think they give out medals for that, right?
Since the age of 13, Jodie has taken her training seriously, and coming from an athletic family – both her parents were county-level sprinters – it would be hard to find fault in her career so far. In that time she has shown strength overcoming injuries, and fortitude, becoming the top-ranked British women over 200m at the tender age of just 16.
Originally from Hertfordshire, Jodie is half English and half Trinidadian, with her personal best for the 100m being an incredible 11.18 seconds, I personally struggle to get up in that amount of time and she is winning races and getting medals. She is exceedingly talented and is showing us that she is one to support when it comes to Team GB, should she make the cut, though I think she will.
Jodie has a very trim physique, you can tell she runs, she has the definition I dream about and, like most Olympians, has a washboard stomach. Now, part of the reason I found out about Jodie is through Tesco and their Healthy Living range. They’ve recently added the Beautifully Balanced selection of meals, and Jodie is an ambassador for the campaign, which stresses the importance of eating well, something that this Rio 2016 Olympic hopeful knows all about. So check out the interview below, and find out how Jodie prepares herself as one of Great Britain’s elite.
How are you preparing for the year ahead?
I’ve just finished my end of season break (I’ve had about 4 weeks off). I’ve been on holiday in Italy and now it’s back to the grind! I start training gradually but will be back to a six day a week, two training sessions a day regime quite quickly. It’s an Olympic year next year so it’s all about focusing firstly on making the Great Britain team and then doing as well as I can once I get to Rio. I won’t be doing an indoor season in 2016 and will be training through to make sure I am ready for the outdoor racing season. I’ll be training both in the UK and USA at training camps and that really helps me to prepare. I have my whole team around me and my coach, masseur, etc. will all be part of the planning to make me as good as I can be next year.
What do you think about or focus on in the lead up to a race?
In the weeks and days leading up to a big race I try not to think about it much as it can be too mentally draining. Those around me will notice when the race gets closer as I become quieter, more withdrawn. That’s all part of being keyed up for a big race. In the hours before the race I’ll do some visualisation to get myself in the right mental shape to execute the race 100 per cent. After that it’ll be a question of concentration and focus on the job in hand – breaking down the race into its various parts and making sure that I run them as well as possible. In the race itself you don’t think about much – there isn’t time.
Do you have a set diet plan or does this change in the weeks leading up to a competition?
Yes I have quite a strict diet as I can’t eat a lot of foods and this has caused me issues in the past. I have to plan my diet carefully and make sure that I get all the benefit from my food as I need the energy. To many athletes food is fuel but it still has to be tasty and varied or it can get very monotonous. My diet doesn’t really change drastically leading up to competition. I don’t have to carbo-load like the distance runners. Staying hydrated and eating healthily is the key.
What is your fondest memory since you started competing?
I have had a few! I think winning the World Junior Championships over 100m in Canada was great at the time, plus coming back from injury in 2012 to make the GB team for the 200m at the 2013 World Championships was great. 2014 was a really good year too, winning silver medals at the Commonwealth Games & European Championships and setting a personal best in the 200m.
Do you have any tips for budding athletes?
Work hard, be focused and enjoy what you do. There will come a time when the natural talent you have as a youngster isn’t enough to be successful. You have to add to that hard work and a desire to compete and train. You can’t give your all if you’re not enjoying what you do, and if you don’t give 100 per cent you will get beaten.
What athletes inspire you?
Allyson Felix is my athletics inspiration. She has been since I was a junior athlete trying to make it. She’s a great athlete and a lovely person. It’s a bit surreal to line up against her in races now!
With such a busy schedule how do you stay, or what makes you feel ‘beautifully balanced’?
I think the key is to have a plan of what you are going to do, but not to let things over-burden you or stress you too much. I try to break my life down into bite-size chunks and achieve short-term goals which in turn lead to a longer term goal. In life as a whole I try to have some down time with friends and family, something that takes my mind off track and training. Too much focus all the time can be too intense. Sleep is also good!
What would be your top 3 tips for a beautifully balanced lifestyle?
- Always make sure that your food intake is balanced by regular exercise.
- Don’t go to extremes with your diet – a little of everything is just fine. Anything in excess can be a bad thing.
- I always try to have some periods of relaxation in my week. Something that reduces the stress levels and makes me slow down a bit. Strange for a sprinter but sometimes having a ‘chill out’ period really helps me balance out the hectic parts of my life!
As the newest member of the expanded Healthy Living range, the Beautifully Balanced selection includes hearty soups and sauces, tasty superfood mixes, wholegrain pasta dishes and more – all of which are sure to leave you feeling bright and beautiful. The range is also nutritious, with one or two portions of your 5 a day in every dish; and delicious as it has been developed by a team of classically trained chefs who are all passionate foodies.
The Beautifully Balanced frozen range will be in 500 stores nationwide from September 2015. Prices start from £1.50.
Interview credit and images: Jodie Williams and Tesco. Image: Phillipmj24