Suzie Cave represents GB in Modern Pentathlon. She’s currently 3rd in Europe in the 30-40 Age Group and has won multiple world medals. However, last year was a poignant one for Suzie as she debuted in a new discipline called Triathle and became the current British Champion, 3rd in Europe and 5th in the World. All the while, she is ambassador to fantastic running brands such as 361. And today, we’re ecstatic that Suzie is our My Lockdown Workout guest!
How did you get into fitness?
I had been active in athletics and hockey at school but my real love was horses. So I focused on show jumping throughout school and University. This offered me the opportunity to travel to some amazing places including South Korea and Algeria. I saw modern pentathlon (swim, fence, show jump, run and shoot) for the first time during the Olympics and was immediately interested in trying it myself. But my fitness had suffered over the years as my main focus was always the horses’ health instead of my own. I knew I needed a good level of fitness before even contemplating training for pentathlon. So after a decade, I decided to return to the track and regain what had been lost over the years. With the help of my athletics club (Lagan Valley AC) and my coaches I’ve been able to push my body to places I never thought possible.
However in the beginning I hated swimming and could not complete a length. And both pistols and swords were totally foreign to me. The first year was very difficult. My body and mind hurt from learning 3 new sports and I constantly questioned if this was a ridiculous ambition to have at the age of 30. I was devoting all my time to 5 separate disciplines but I had never actually taken part in a full pentathlon. It has never been easy juggling all my training while also working full time. Thankfully my job has flexi and it enables me to train before, after and sometimes during lunch. It was a hard grind but once I got my first result at the Master World Championships 2016, that was me hooked and driven to improve.
What is one of your favourite lockdown workouts?
Strength and conditioning has always been a large part of my training. It’s essentially my 6th discipline. I learnt early on that you need to build a body that can be resilient to the stresses and strains you put it under. Both when training and competing. In order to progress in anything you need consistency, and in order for consistency you need to avoid injury. One of my favourite workouts during lockdown is this all over body one, with particular focus on leg stability and core strength . Leg stability exercises are key to strengthen all the little tendons and ligaments used for running. And core strength is essential as everything emanates from it. This one is good because it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or heavy weights and can be done from home. Super setting things means you can work one area while the other rests, meaning you can get more done in the time:
1a) Split squat with 1/4 rep at the bottom
1b) Push ups (use a resistance band around back if want to make it harder)
2a) Single leg pike using chair
3a) Pistol squat (or lower yourself onto a chair and push off it with one leg)
3b) Shoulder taps
4a) Cossack lunge
4b) Knee lifts
5a) Hamstring curls
5b) Inverted wall mountain climbers
Do each exercise 12 reps (or 6 each side) for 3 sets. Perform each one slowly and controlled on the way down.
What’s your nutrition like when doing a lockdown workout?
My pre workout nutrition depends on the level of intensity and duration of the session. For something like a long steady recovery run, that is not too intense, I will have something mainly fat based. This could be plain yoghurt, nuts, dark choc or a protein shake about an hour before. As the intensity of the activity increases, the level of carbs increases also. Complex carbs like a slice of wholemeal bread or a bagel with peanut butter about 45 mins before. If it’s an all out hard session (like weights or running intervals), then simple carbs about 15-30 mins before. I find fruit or fruit juice is best for me. I always make sure to have something to aid my recovery and lately I’ve been using collagen gels from U-perform.
Do you have any tips for those new to working out?
It’s about finding the balance between doing enough but not too much. This is especially true at the start of any new fitness journey. Always make sure that your workout is suited to your level of fitness. You can always step it up as you go. But if you jump in too hard too soon, chances are you’ll have to quit before you even get started. To get the best results you have to be consistent. But if you have a bad day, don’t lose motivation. Just brush it off, put it behind you and try to make the rest of the week count.
You can follow Suzie on Instagram at @suziebear_cave.
Jogger note: we highly recommend the 361 trainers – we wrote an article a while back on runners who overpronate and recommended their shoes. Read – I overpronate – what running shoes should I wear?