In this interview, Cheshire’s Shauna Coxsey offers an insight into the world of Bouldering and her future ambitions.
Shauna Coxsey was just four when she began climbing. After being inspired by French climber Catherine Destivelle, she decided it would be her future career. Fast forward 22 years and the admirable athlete is today Britain’s most successful competitive climber and the UK’s first Bouldering World Champion. She is also one of Team Toyota GB’s Olympic and Paralympic ambassadors and is aiming to become Great Britain’s first Olympic medalist in climbing at Tokyo 2020.
What are your hopes and expectations for 2020, and how are you feeling about your preparations for Tokyo?
Shauna Coxsey: 2020 is such a huge year for my sport. It’s an honour to be part of it! My goal is to get to the Olympic Games in the best possible shape and give a performance that I am proud of. I actually feel really great about my preparation. Having surgery was definitely the right decision. I have such an incredible team around me, and we are working so hard to get to the games fit, psyched and ready. I feel very focused and am definitely on the right track!
Could you tell us about how you plan for a big event, both mentally and physically?
Shauna Coxsey: I have been competing on the international circuit for a decade now, so planning for events has been a huge part of my life for a long time. As I said, I have a really great team of people around me too, which helps. Training right now is super intense, but I am absolutely loving it. As I am currently recovering from knee surgery, my focus is on recovery but also training in other areas while my climbing is limited. When it gets closer to the competitions, I’ll be doing less training, but still lots of climbing.
What advice would you give to anyone preparing for a big event this year to keep them on track?
Shauna Coxsey: I love having goals. I tend to have one big goal that’s in the distance and then lots of little goals along the way to help keep me motivated. My advice would be to write your targets down, and if you feel like it, you can share them with others. Having them on paper and telling people about them makes it more real.
How important is determination and willpower versus physical ability and training in making a sports champion?
Shauna Coxsey: Determination and willpower are both hugely important, as is belief. Physical ability can get you a really long way, but there’s so much more that’s required when it comes to working hard and performing under pressure.
Surely, it’s good to take some time off while training for a big event, right?
Shauna Coxsey: Listening to your body and mind, and learning what it needs, is of course, important. For me, this differs from competition to competition. What your body needs during one competition is not the same as you need for another.
How can you juggle your sports goals with your everyday life?
Shauna Coxsey: Understanding what my values are and staying true to them makes it possible. I have amazing people around me who are both wonderfully supportive and inspiring. They help me stay focused while not letting me forget to enjoy life!
Is it better to train alone or with others, and what do you use as motivations to keep fit?
Shauna Coxsey: I think this is a personal preference. I generally prefer to train with others, but it’s important to me to know I can get a session done on my own if I need to. And I most certainly use my goals to keep me fit. I keep them at the forefront whenever I need motivation.
What sort of diet do you have on a hard day of training?
Shauna Coxsey: I work closely with a performance nutritionist, and I am really interested in food. I eat a balanced diet, and I’m very conscious about what I am putting into my body. I eat loads of fresh fruit and veg and lots of protein too, but I also love to bake.
Do you have any funny or unusual habits? We heard you put on your left climbing shoe first?
Shauna Coxsey: Haha! Yes, I always put my left shoe on first. I thought everyone did? I’m not sure I have any other unusual habits.
You’re one of Team Toyota GB’s Olympic and Paralympic ambassadors and a RAV4 driver. Their message ‘Start Your Impossible’ is a slogan that encapsulates Toyota’s desire to recognise and help with challenges faced by all athletes like yourself. What would you say is your ‘impossible’ today, and how do you train yourself to achieve it?
Shauna Coxsey: There are so many goals that I have, that for me, right now, are impossible. It might be to do five one-arm pull-ups in a row, to do a one-legged squat on the leg I just had surgery on, climb a certain grade or so on. Most of my goals are impossible, the moment that I set them. That’s why they’re my goals!
You like cars, so please tell us what do you like the most about the Toyota RAV4? What do you use it for?
Shauna Coxsey: I love that the Toyota RAV4 is a hybrid! Plus, I can fit so many bouldering mats in the back. It makes climbing outside in the Peak District feel very easy.
If you had one piece of advice to give any budding climbers, what would you say?
Shauna Coxsey: Set some goals! And don’t forget to have fun whilst achieving them!
For more information on the all-new Toyota RAV4 AWD, visit www.toyota.co.uk.
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