As an athlete I do not have an off season like in many other sports. We train all year round, no summer stop and no winter break. Athletes train no matter the season. Unfortunately, we are not that blessed with sunny weather all year round in our tiny country, so we try to visit the sun as often as possible. Usually, around December/ January we flee our cold winter and around March to prepare for racing season in the best possible circumstances. And the best possible circumstances this year? No less than a full month in beautiful South Africa.
At home I train with a middle distance team called Team Thuijs. As the only 400 meter Hurdler in the group I miss having a co-hurdler at times and that was the most important reason for me to choose to go to South Africa. In Pretoria, there is a big training group of really good 400 meter hurdlers training under coach Irma Reyneke. And by really good, I mean really good – been to the Olympics kind of good. The best co-hurdlers you can find. This was my second year in South Africa training with this group. Unfortunately last year I was mostly injured, but this year I was fitter than ever and ready to train. I was even fortunate enough that my coach Frans Thuijs could join me in my first week in Pretoria. I mean a coach flying all the way over to South Africa for just one week, all for me? If that does not makes you feel very lucky and special, nothing will! He exchanged thoughts on the training program with coach Irma and checked out all the possibilities for gym sessions and recovery training so that I would not jump into training sessions that would be over my head.