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lessons learned for gorecka

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Emelia Gorecka

17 March 2015

Emelia Gorecka’s (coach: Mick Woods) debut indoor season came to a close a fortnight ago with a twelfth place finish in the 3000m final in Prague and she is determined to build upon this valuable experience. The 21 year old reflects upon the importance of stepping out of her comfort zone and the significant lessons learned from the European Indoor Championships.

The AFD athlete is well-known for her cross country credentials - a two-time European cross country junior gold medallist - but her transition to the track last weekend saw a coming-of-age for Gorecka who is working hard to progress at a senior level. However, she was not entirely pleased with her final race in the Czech Republic.

“I was really happy with how I ran my heat. I’ve never run a heat before, so to run that strongly and qualify was really important for me. I definitely thought I could transition that into the final, there were no issues, and I didn’t feel tired.

“However, my championship and indoor experience didn’t come quickly enough for me to have a good race in the final. I’m annoyed with how I ran, definitely with my time. I should have been quicker and responded better. I expected a lot more but it just wasn’t there on the day.”

Despite Gorecka’s disappointments, she was pleased with how she attacked the heats where she ran the only way she knows how to, at the head of the field.

“I feel comfortable front running, I love it. I thought that was the best way to try and qualify. Laura’s (Muir) heat was so quick, I didn’t know if I could run that quickly on my own. I knew if I was at the front, I would have more of a chance of trying to qualify. There was never a right time to do that in the final though.”

Gorecka competed at the European Championships in Zurich and cross country championships in Samokov in 2014, so the trip to Prague made it the European hat-trick. The Royal Holloway student believed an assault on the indoor circuit rather than the well-trodden paths over cross country, were most suitable for her this year.

“I did it to learn more about myself – in championship racing on the track, I have a lot to learn. I thought this would give me a lot of experience indoors, with tactical awareness and pace. Obviously from the final, I can see I have a lot to work on. I didn’t turn up thinking I would win a medal and it would all go right on my first go.

“I think if I had done the English Nationals and Inter-Counties, they’d have gone well but I wouldn’t have learnt much from them. I know I can be a good cross country runner but there is still a lot to learn on the senior level. I know I can get it right a lot easier over cross country than I can on the track, so I put myself in a position where I wasn’t comfortable and that was better for me right now."

Gorecka is preparing to head out for a training camp in Park City next month, with her eyes set on the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August where she will be looking for a place on the GB & NI team.

“Going ahead, I’ll be competing in Stanford and training in Park City. I’ll be aiming to get the 5000m standard for the Worlds. Hopefully my speed and change of pace skills will improve. Then I’ll run in Eugene but I’m not sure whether that will be a 5000m or a 1500m to bring on my speed."

This will be Gorecka’s maiden trip on a training camp in America, and her first time training and living at altitude. She is convinced this experience will improve her as an athlete.

“I’m excited – I’ve never been out to a training camp before. My coach Mick (Woods) will be coming out for the last week. It is important to be in a different environment and learn from all the athletes out there. I’ve done a few altitude runs at chamber level but I haven’t lived at altitude so it’ll be interesting to see how I respond.”

Reflecting on her first indoor season, Gorecka is motivated to be more competitive on the track at a senior level, rather than just enjoying and learning from the experience. It is a mature approach by the young athlete and it is evident that she has high standards for herself.

“I want to come away from these championships been competitive and not just saying I’ve learnt a lot from the experience. I’m fed up saying I’m a bit young, I’m not now; I need to be competing with these girls. Moving towards Beijing, I’d loved to be there and hopefully reach the final.”