Barefooters this is definitely worth a read – Q&A with our Senior Physiotherapist Caitlin Sargent-Jones. Questions by Sal.
Mrs Jones! You have been selected to write a Barefooter story! What an honour!
I know that everyone that gets to know you finds out you are so much more than a fast-running Physio so let’s delve into what makes you tick.
Q1 – Something that I think we (the general public) don’t really know about is how full on the training schedule of an athlete is… what does a standard week look like for you?
Monday (one of the hardest days of the week – to start the week off with a bang!)
(In the clinic 8:30am-2:15pm)
4pm training – lactic tolerance or lactic threshold work. A typical Monday would be ~1km jog + dynamic stretches + sprint technique drills for warm up. Then a session like 5 x 300m reps @90% effort (ie pretty close to the speed I would run a 400m race at) with 6 minutes break in between. And after something like that, we would often wheel out the ice bin (literally a clean wheelie bin we fill with ice and water, aiming for 12-14 degrees Celsius) and stand in that for 10 minutes to help with recovery.
Tempo running – eg 10 x 15 seconds hard (aiming for ~100m), 45 seconds rest. This session is for conditioning (ie general fitness) whilst maintaining speed. I usually do this session on the “curve treadmill” – those fancy new treadmills that don’t use any electricity, they only go as fast as you make them move (the belt is also on a curve, rather than the traditional flat surface).
Gym – this takes me about an hour and is a combination of ‘patterning work’ (yes all those boring glute activation and deep tummy muscle exercises we make you do!), lower body strength work, core and some plyometrics (bounding, hopping etc)
Tuesday is also treatment day – so when I’m due for my tune-up (usually ~3 weeks), I have my check in at the clinic between training and work
Wednesday is my favourite day of the week – its all about speed! To me, running fast is the most fun so I love Wednesday.
I do a similar warm up to Monday, then do something like 3 sets of 3 x 60m
As I have a shorter work day on Wednesday, this is also the day I typically schedule either a massage, check-in with the sports psych or have a mid-week Epsom salt bath to keep everything ticking over!
Looks a lot like Tuesday! I do a fartlek session out on the road – something like run hard for 90 seconds (at ~3:30min/km pace for those playing along at home) and then easy jog for 3 minutes x4 times.
Then gym as per Tuesday
Friday is rest day!! A day for sleeping in, organising the next week ahead and planning out my food.
(Work 12-6pm). In competition season though, I often train Friday so I can race on Saturday
Saturday – race specific practice, speed endurance or strength endurance
Saturday sessions really change a lot depending on the time of year. They can be anything from running reps up Mt Coot-tha, practicing certain sections of my race or just running hard and fast like a Monday. In season, Saturday is often competition day – which is a lot of lazing about during the day, so I can run fast in the evening
Sunday – more conditioning work to make me fitter so I can train harder!
Battle rope circuit – 30 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest x 10 exercises… through twice! This is hard work, but its fun and over fast!
Q2 – So you are an eco warrior… where do you think this drive to care for the environment comes from. And what are your top 3 tips on the easiest things we can all do to help! Yes ordering Who Gives a Crap can be one of them!
I would say my grandfather passed down his philosophy to my dad, who in turn passed down to me the idea that we should always try to leave anything better than we found it. For me this goes for people, the environment and anything in between. I also think we have a responsibility to look after the environment because if it becomes damaged beyond repair, then we will truly have nothing left. I am very passionate about this topic so I’ll try to keep my tips practical for people that maybe aren’t as keen as me!
Reusable water bottle. As a health practitioner and athlete hydration is always front of mind and a super easy way to reduce single-use plastic bottles is to invest in a great reusable bottle. Side-benefit, if you get an insulated bottle it keeps your water so much colder on those hot summer training days!
Plan your food ahead! I never did Scouts, but I think we can all appreciate the benefits of being prepared. As an athlete, I probably put a bit more thought into my food than the average person – I sit down and plan my meals for the week (keeping in mind what training is like each day and how my nutritional demands vary slightly on those days). From this I can then make my shopping list – planning ahead minimises food waste, costs less and helps avoid the need to run to the shops to buy a last minute packaged/processed version of something. Bonus points for shopping at the farmer’s markets and bulk food shops to further reduce plastic waste!
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly” – Anne-Marie Bonneau. I think the best thing people can do is to just start somewhere. Don’t get overwhelmed, just start with something that feels achievable, like using their a reusable coffee cup, or ordering Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. Once you’ve got that down, then just add another thing and keep building one green habit on top of another.
Q3 – You have the most amazing and incredible family – tell us about these Allstars… and yes include Jared in that
Having a support network really is fantastic. My mum is my Swiss army knife of life – she helps manage my training load, cooks and home delivers a nutritious dinner on a Tuesday night, sews our white Barefoot shorts, is my sounding board and biggest supporter. Dad is a paediatric intensivist (kids ICU) – so I think I get my love of healthcare and silly nonsense from him. He always turns up to my races wearing a SpongeBob SquarePants shirt and is a big advocate for finding the fun in everything.
I met my husband Jared at World Junior athletics championships when he was competing for USA in the 3000m steeplechase (yes, like the horses do). We stayed in touch over the next 5 years and he moved to Australia in 2015. He is very energetic and the epitome of “if you’re going to do something, do it well”. He is always finding new hobbies to throw himself into – he is currently in the process of getting his commercial pilot licence as well as brewing kombucha, making a soap making cart for me and nurturing our native beehives.
Q4 – What is your favourite stadium you have raced in and why?
This is a hard one and I’m going to have to call it a tie. Thomas Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas (where the first 3 editions of World Relays was held) has always been an incredible place to race. The crowd are so enthusiastic and the atmosphere is electric. It’s also where we qualified for the Rio Olympics so it holds a pretty special place in my memory for that. The other best competition experience would have to be Carrara/Metricon Stadium at Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. To compete in front of a home crowd at a major championships is a rare honour and I’ll never forget the sensation of running in front of what felt like 35,000 family and friends!
Q5 – what is something you never get asked and what’s the answer?
How do you unwind? I pack a lot into my days, so it really is important to take time to unwind and look after myself. It depends a bit on how I am feeling – I’m learning a greater appreciation for time to read/watch TV/bake while listening to podcasts and just be on my own. Otherwise my go to options are usually couch time with my husband (we’re currently watching Killing Eve), or time with Bonnie & Humphrey our dogs.
Thank you so much Caitlin Sargent-Jones – I always love reading answers in our Barefooter stories and I know our community will enjoy this too 😊