Congratulations to Belinda Sergent, who has broken Bedford and County's long-standing Women's Triple Jump record. Competing in Bournemouth on 9th August, Belinda jumped 11.74m (as well as a longer, windy, 11.80m leap). This exceeded the previous club record of 11.54m, set by Andrea Hall back in 1998. Belinda has been aiming for the record for some time. Her new PB represents a considerable improvement on her previous best - which was 11.38m, and moves her into this year's national top thirty.
The record was all the more impressive because it was achieved in Belinda's first competition of 2020 and after months of lockdown in which training as normal became impossible.
Belinda was kind enough to provide some insights into how she managed training during lockdown and came away with a club record:
Q: How did you keep your training going during lockdown?
A: I am very lucky to have a fantastic head coach, Paul Weston, who sent me continuously updated training sessions based on the equipment and space I had available. All gym sessions became 'garden sessions' using only body weight and focusing on jump specific exercises. All track sessions became 'field sessions' where I could still focus on sprinting, run ups and bounding, just with a different surface and a lack of sand! Often in winter training, we'd get away from the track and train on a large grass field anyway, so it was just like an extension of winter training.
The main difference with lockdown training is that it's mainly done alone. Therefore, it is hard to get feedback on technique and elements you can improve on, however, I would record specific elements of my training and send the videos over to my coach who would watch them and report back to me. Recording my training also meant that I could self-analyse.
Good weather also really helps!
Belinda training in the field
Q: Did you think you were on for the record or was it a surprise?
It was a complete surprise. Pre-Covid, my aim was to get the record this year, however since the pandemic I didn't think this was going to happen. If I was to get a chance to compete at all, my aim was just to not foul (practicing run ups on grass is very different to the track surface, so I wasn't confident in my run up) and land in the sand. So, coming into the competition, I was quite relaxed and had little expectation. I was more excited to be united with some of my old training group and coach again! All that probably helped however. The competition seemed more like a training session than a competition.
My body felt good coming into the competition. I was just going to hop, skip and jump into the pit and see what happens and then on my first jump I managed 11.80 and I couldn't believe it. My coach said that he knew I was capable of it, apparently my training videos had been very promising, I just needed a good competition to actually do it. I guess this was it!
Q: How did you manage to PB in your first outdoor competition of the year?
I think having solidly trained throughout lockdown, whether that be in an open field or back garden is key. I think lockdown has meant a lot of people have stopped training or cut down because the gym isn't open or they don't have a back garden or don't want to look silly in a public field, but it has to be done! I've had a few funny looks as I roll out my 50m measuring tape!In the two sessions I have now managed to have at a track since lockdown has been eased, my local coach has said that I'm running a lot faster. He described me as a dog who'd just been let out of a cage, just wanting to run, so I think being finally 'free' probably helped me jump further.
Q: How did you keep focused when you couldn’t compete?
My housemate tended to join in with me for my garden sessions since he wanted to get fitter, so between the two of us, we motivated each other to go out and do the sessions. There was a joke that I was starting a lockdown bootcamp as I tried to recruit more of my housemates to join in, but I was only successful in recruiting the one member.
As for the field sessions, they were a nice excuse to leave the house. Since I am now working from home, it's nice to have a change of scenery and grab some fresh air.
As for focus, I read somewhere that you are more likely to achieve your goal or work towards achieving your goal if you are reminded of it every day, so for the last year I have had my goal as my phone lock screen. My lock screen was a plain white background with the numbers 11.60 written in black in the middle. My phone is something that I am going to look at every day, so I thought it was the perfect place to have the reminder. So, every time I needed a little bit of motivation, I could visually see my goal and know that I'm going to have to work in order to achieve it. Now, I don't know how much this method actually works, since soon you stop noticing your background, however I'd like to think it works. Also, many people have asked me what it means since it's a strange background to have, so when they ask, I get another reminder.
It took me a few days to change my lock screen, since I couldn't quite believe I had managed to jump that far, but now it reads 12.00. Let's hope next year is the year!