It was an early start for all on account of the time difference (we are 5.5 hours ahead of India). I went for a run around the area we are staying in, to try and get a feel for the city. As it turns out, we are very close to the Birmingham Arena where the games will be taking place, literally a 5 minute walk.
The area is very built up, but not bad for a short jog or active recovery session, if the weather plays its part. Recovery will be really important this week, as it is during any tournament week, but we’ve had a few good strategies in place during the build up that should allow up to adapt nicely to a tournament week. Being able to recover as quickly as possible after an exhaustive session (professional women’s badminton matches last anywhere from 40-80 minutes) requires a bit of active intervention, and not just rest. So we’ll be using some hydrotherapy, active recovery, massage and one or two other little methods that have been working in training weeks. Nutrition and sleep are obviously very important too, and we’ve incorporated good strategies here too.
Saina was up early too, but managed to get a bit of an extra sleep in before breakfast. The breakfast at the hotel is great, so will be a good foundation for our nutrition for the week.
As it turned out the practice facility wasn’t open to players yesterday, so we concentrated on recovery from the travel day, and had a good time in the gym. Saina is a really great athlete, and is a pleasure to work with – regardless of whether she has done something before, or we need to change things up on account of the environment we’re in (the gym here is pretty basic), she is able to pick things up early and is always happy to push herself. This is a great quality to have when your performance and health are literally your business. So we had a good mobility and activation session, followed by a bit of a walk.
Dinner was a bit of a combination of a local Turkish restaurant and Sainsbury’s, but by the end we were happy we’d had a balanced meal. The weather also took a bit of a turn last night during dinner, so the walk home could be considered active recovery in the cold too!
A bit of soft tissue work before bed and a good sleep should see us ready for the first practice day at the facility – we’ve got an hour on court between 12-1pm. Nice timing as it allows us to get a good breakfast and warm up session in before.