Isla Rush can’t wait to get new season under way after help from Young Norfolk Sports Academy
- Credit: Submitted
Our latest Young Norfolk Sports Academy update comes from 18-year-old Reepham High School & College student Isla Rush, who hopes to become a professional cyclist.
I've been part of the YNSA programme for three years, and have noticed a great improvement in my performance.
Sharing knowledge and experience with other athletes from different parts of the county who compete in a variety of sports has been so helpful, as it offers a different perspective on things; many sports share similar requirements.
We are all around the same age, either at high school or college studying for exams. It's brilliant to discuss methods for balancing time between training, studying and competing, and as one of the older athletes on the programme, I've had many of the other members ask for advice about GCSE and AS exams.
The YNSA offers a variety of workshops regarding various areas of competitive sport, including psychology, social media, nutrition and injury prevention. Guest speakers come to our evening sessions to present and explain how we can improve our preparation, performances and recoveries around training and competition.
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One of the workshops that I've found incredibly useful was the nutrition session delivered by Maria Cann. My races vary in length, from about 80km up to 120km. Therefore, my nutritional requirements can alter from race to race. Discussing which foods I should be eating before, during and after my races has been of paramount importance to improving my performance, so I now know exactly how to fuel myself in order to achieve the best result possible.
This year I'll be racing for a women's team called Aprire Bicycles HSS Hire. We have our team training camp in a couple of weeks in Spain, then will begin racing here in the UK the weekend after we're home. I will also be racing for Isorex Dames at several races in Belgium, such as the UCI Junior Gent-Wevelgem race. I can't wait to get my season under way!
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My advice to young athletes is to try a variety of sports; many of them can lead into one another. I was a competitive swimmer until I was 14, and transitioned into cycling as I had the base fitness to do so. There's a brilliant range of sports for young people to try in Norfolk – find something you enjoy and go for it!
For more information about the YNSA, go to www.ynsa.org.uk