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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Breen & Boden looking to escape Canberra chill

Breen & Boden looking to escape Canberra chill

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Track queens beat winter's chills

Canberra Times
09 Jul, 2011

It's not just the intense overseas competition which lures track queens Melissa Breen and Lauren Boden to Europe every July.

Escaping the relentless wind, rain, sleet and occasional snow of Canberra's freezing winters plays a major role in the temporary relocation.

Constantly battling the elements isn't great for the body and can wreak havoc on an athlete mentally.

And with next month's world championships looming on the horizon, preparation is crucial.

Breen, in particular, has been working overtime at harnessing her mental state since last year's Commonwealth Games.

As a 100m sprinter aiming to break the 11sec barrier by 2014, something never achieved by an Australian woman, mind and body need to be perfectly synchronised.

Which is why she's been seeing sports psychologist Sarah Jack every fortnight.

In theory, breaking 11sec is fairly straight forward. A typical 100m dash takes about 48 or 49 steps, and averaging 9.1m per second will get you there with a fraction of time to spare.

Technically she's working hard to make sure every stride is perfect, but controlling the influence from between the ears is also crucial.

''In previous years I'd train my body well, but not my mind to be able to cope with everything,'' Breen said.

''Coming back after Comms it was really important to get my head screwed on and be really ready mentally for anything that could happen. I'm a lot more relaxed about things now and just learning to go with the flow rather than being so highly strung.

''It's been really helpful to talk to my psych down at ACT Academy of Sport, Sarah, she's been outstanding. It's someone else to talk to as well that isn't in your direct circle.''

Breen's personal best over the 100m remains 11.33sec. Earlier this season she managed a sizzling 11.27sec in Japan, but that was deemed an illegal time because of an over-zealous tail wind.

''In the next coming years hopefully all this hard work will pay off and by 2013-14 it'll be Mel Breen, the sub-11 second runner,'' the 20-year-old said.

''That's the goal. It might take longer than that but we'll just keep doing the right things and keep ticking. At the moment it's just learning as much as I can, and learning the art of the 100m.

''You've got to get every step right and we're starting from the beginning. We've got the first couple of steps, we're getting better out of the blocks.

''It's a very slow process. We need to do every single one of them perfectly.

''I hope I'm still running when I'm 35 which is another 15 years away. I just have to keep reminding myself of this and I'm getting a lot better at putting things into perspective and being a bit more relaxed about it all, because in the end I've got plenty of time.''

Breen and Boden fly out to Europe on Monday where they'll base themselves in Germany for a month and compete across the continent.

From there Breen travels to Daegu in South Korea to prepare for her leg of the 4x100m world championships relay on September4.

Boden, meanwhile, heads to southern China to run in the 400m hurdles at the World University Games, hopeful of completing the journey in under 55.40sec and securing a last-minute ticket to the world champs.

While in Europe the pair will visit London where both athletes hope to return in 12 months for the Olympic Games.

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