Athlete Focus | Maisie Grice | Steeplechase
We love talking to athletes, and this time we had the opportunity to catch up with 20 year old Maisie Grice.
Maisie's main event is 3000m steeplechase, for which she represented GB Juniors in 2019, ranking 13th in Europe for U20. She was also 1st reserve for GB Juniors for the European Cross Country. She hopes to represent GB internationally again in 2021. Maisie is also studying Physiotherapy at the University of Birmingham.
We asked Maisie about her year, her training and her top steeplechase tips!
How has training been this year?
Lockdown 2020 was a very bizarre year for everyone, especially for athletes. Although previously having access to a track and indoor training facilities, I had to be flexible and adapt my training, doing many sessions on grass, road, or my favourite was training down the seafront (with the wind of course). I am very fortunate to live near the beach, and as well as running to the beach from home, there are lots of good places to train too, often finishing with a post-session dip in the sea too! Luckily, I managed to get a few track races in at the end of the season when the tracks opened up again - although I did run an 800m in lanes the whole way which was a very bizarre experience!
Near my home, I am very fortunate to have access to a 110m athletics straight in a local park. This meant during lockdown, I was able to practise my speed drills, hurdle technique and shorter sprints on the track.
What was it like getting back to hurdles after lockdown?
Hurdle drills are so important, not just for steeplechasers like me, but also for general athletes, as they really help with hip mobility, core strength and general balance. During a usual training period (without coronavirus!) I would do hurdle drills twice a week, and these would look something like this:
- Straight-leg walkovers
- Side skips
- Isolated trail legs
- Isolated lead legs
- Hurdle run overs
At the start of lockdown, I had limited equipment, and was making hurdles out of bamboo sticks and balancing poles on the fence. However, with thanks to Neuff Athletic, I was given the opportunity to secure their Plyometric Scissor Hurdles.
It was so exciting to have access to hurdles after so long without them (even though my hips and legs felt weren't so pleased the next day!), and it was great that Neuff had given me the first step to get back to normal training. After a few sessions of hurdle drills on the track, I was excited to get my spikes on for the first time in nearly a year, and do some hurdle run overs. Although my hurdle technique was an absolute sight the first time over them, the more I practised the easier it became, and I was feeling much stronger in my ability.
How did you start doing steeplechase?
I have always absolutely loved doing as many events as possible on track, and even ended up getting a bit of a reputation for the one who will always cover any event, any when, any where. I have been to English Schools for javelin, multi-events and steeplechase. When I was a bit younger, my best event used to be javelin, and I remember I was absolutely delighted to receive a Nordic Razor javelin for my birthday one year. The range of equipment at Neuff is fantastic - regardless of my huge event change from javelin to steeplechase, I was able to get the equipment I needed for both events through Neuff. In fact, one of my favourite pieces of equipment is a used javelin from the 2012 London Olympic Games, provided by Neuff Athletic. [Ed: thanks for buying from us and for the plug!]
How is training going in 2021?
Recently, since lockdown restrictions have eased, I have been back training on track and absolutely loved it. Not only does it feel great to be back doing my favourite thing, but I am lucky enough to have a great group of girls to train with and it's so lovely to be back training together. I am Track Captain at the University of Birmingham, and it is amazing to lead such a great training group, with such a good team spirit.
The training group is pretty big, and no matter your pace, session, or schedule, there is always someone to train with and help you through the session. There is also a brilliant steeplechase group, and we are all looking forward to our first hurdle session back on track.
What does steeplechase training involve?
Usually, a steeplechase session would look something like:
- 12x400m, alternating hurdles and flat, 60s recovery
- (all over hurdles) 1200, 800, 600, 600, 400, 400, 400
- (all over hurdles) 3x800 (first lap steady, second lap hard), 3x400 (first 200 easy, second 200 hard)
Top tips for steeplechase training?
I have come from the shorter side of track racing, and therefore have had to really focus on building endurance to tackle the 3000m chase. As a steeplechaser, you have to be smart with both training, racing and recovery. Together with my coach, and my own physiotherapy knowledge, here are some of the top tips we have come up with for steeplechase athletes: