Holly Archer has a problem. 

It’s an issue anyone that enjoys using wireless headphones or ear buds can identify with. 

One of her headphones is missing in action... and when you run as much as Holly then that really is a problem. 

She’s on her way to replace them when we talk and it’s perhaps pertinent that a few months ago she probably wouldn’t have had the time to undertake such a trip. 

As part of Under Armour’s stable of athletes out in Flagstaff, Arizona, USA, she was told where she needed to be and what session she needed to do. Outside of this, her focus was on nutrition and recovery to try and stay at the top level of athletics that saw her win a silver medal at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in the 1500m. 

It’s unlikely she would have had the time or inclination to head out in search of new headphones. 

However, her relationship with Under Armour ended last year. Rather than panic where her athletics career is heading, the 30-year-old has used it as a chance to take responsibility for her own training, seeing the opportunity to try something new after not making the progress she wanted with Under Armour. 

Eastern Daily Press: Holly Archer lines up at the start of the Valentine's 10K with the rest of the field

She’s moved back to Thetford and has joined Ironman Joe Skipper’s training group for key sessions. 

“It just didn’t work out for me and, to be honest, it just didn’t suit me,” said Holly about her parting of ways with Under Armour. “I want to be local; a lot of athletes go away for their training but I don’t feel like I need to do that. 

“I don’t feel like I need to flee the country to get the training that I need. It just didn’t quite work for me, and I felt like a chicken in a coup. 

“I need a bit more drive and I want to be able to control a bit of my performance. 

“You’re told you need to be at certain places, doing certain sessions which is great for some athletes, but I don’t feel like it suited me. 

MORE: Love running? Join the Run Anglia Facebook group here

“It felt quite unfulfilling in some ways and obviously I wasn’t racing particularly well either.” 

Making that transition from full-time athlete to an athlete that needs to combine training with paying the bills isn’t easy for any athlete. But Holly has tried to take it in her stride; she hasn’t decided yet where she is going to permanently base herself and whether she needs a part-time job to supplement her athletics career. 

She has several athletes she coaches but her number one priority remains maximising the natural ability she has demonstrated on the track. 

“I feel like that I need to stay calm and hold back,” said Holly, who represents Cambridge & Coleridge Athletic Club. “I don’t need to make any big decisions and as cliche as it sounds trust in the process of it all. It’s working right now. 

“I normally train twice a day and it dominates your life in as much as you’re constantly thinking about your sleep, hydration and fuelling. All of those things are always in the back of my mind. 

Eastern Daily Press: Holly Archer gets some last-minute energy down before racing

“I try to be quite disciplined with my time – I normally block out some time on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to get all my coaching and general admin done. 

“At the end of the day I can’t be a good athlete if I’m not making any money.” 

Holly has decided to focus on building strength on the roads in preparation for a make-or-break track season. She won the Valentine’s 10K earlier this month in 34:14 and has several 5K races planned in. 

“The aim at the moment is to get my 5K time down and get as strong as I can,” she added. “I think that time should look at about 15:40 to 15:50 for me and then hopefully I can add a bit more speed on top of that for the 1500m. 

“I’m not going to do the 1500m times that I want if I’m running 16:40 for the 5K. I need to get as strong as I can at the 5K and then build on that on the track. 

“I’m just really enjoying seeing what I can do on the roads because I’ve never really focused on that. It’s always been about track for me, but this first part of the year feels quite exciting on the road.” 

Holly hopes to thrive on the freedom and flexibility she currently enjoys in her training although that’s not to say she isn’t working incredibly hard to get back in the conversation of selectors for the Olympics in Paris. 

“I’ll do two interval sessions a week with Joe’s (Skipper) group on a Tuesday and Friday or Saturday with a long run on the Sunday. The rest of the runs around that will be easy. 

“If I can’t do the session with the guys then I’ll do a parkrun on the Saturday or my own session. 

“After the race on Friday I’ll then have another four-week block with a view to doing another 5K race in March and then I can properly see where my fitness is. 

“It’s all about building now and trying to be better than I was in my last race.” 

Where does that lead? Only time will tell, but every elite UK athlete has one eye on the Olympics. Whilst Holly knows she’s not in that kind of shape yet, she has belief in her ability to be part of Team GB come late July/early August. 

“I don’t want to say my goals are X, Y and Z because I’m not confident enough at the moment,” she said. “Of course, I could potentially make Paris if I get it right but at the moment I’m so far off that. 

“If I can get some fast 5Ks and 10Ks under my belt then that changes. I think that I have it in me still; I just need to keep notching up those small wins every single week. 

“Racing will make me go faster and the more I can do that the better, but you obviously have to be careful that you don’t break yourself in the process. 

“My PB for 1500m is 4:07 and for 5K it’s 15:52; if I can get back there by April/May time then I can start talking about Paris.”