Kayla Imrie | New Zealand Olympic Kayak/Canoe
Here at Active Nation we're proud to have Kayla Imrie as part of the team! Kayla's just returned from competing at the World Champs in the Czech Republic where Kayla and her crewmates had the best results New Zealand has ever seen.
Kayla has a laser-focus on what she does, how she trains, and an intense passion for her sport, so we wanted to catch up with Kayla and ask her 5 questions about the how she got started in the sport, and what the training, nutrition and mindset requirements are of an elite athlete as follows:
How did you get started in the sport?
"I got into the sport through Surf Lifesaving. Growing up I always had a love for the water. I swam competitively from 7-18yrs and eventually found love for swim racing on the beach instead of the pool at 14. I started racing the surf ski craft at surf comps and found my love for paddling which lead me into the kayak."
if you could go back in time and have a chat to Kayla 2012, what would you tell her, what would you differently in terms of training, and your development as an athlete and what would you do the same?
"I'd tell her not to worry about what everyone else thinks. Sometimes I felt pressure from society that I wasn’t quite fitting in. I struggled to go out every weekend with friends or catch up after work because I was either training or thinking about my recovery. Looking back, my friends now are all the same and there was no need to worry about doing what everybody else was because I wouldn’t have got to where I am today."
You’ve just come off a super-successful World Champs hit out, how do you prepare mentally for the big day? How do you deal with any nerves before a big race?
"We came away from World Champs this year with the best results NZ has ever seen which is great. Preparing for it can be challenging at times but I find believing in the work done months and years before that moment on water is the most satisfying part, the result just follows. We train our hearts off day in day out to get to that moment and through each of those days we grow stronger as a person and as a team. That thought calms my nerves on race day."
Tell us about your typical training day (if there is such a thing!)
"Typical training days change depending on the training block we are in but usually it’ll consist of 2-3 sessions a day 6 days a week. We would start off with a 1.30hr morning paddle on the water followed by a gym session early afternoon then some short speed work straight after that on the water."
Nutrition must be incredibly important. Nutritionally, how do you prepare your body before a race on raceday, and for the week prior?
"I guess the week coming into racing can be one of the more difficult ones in terms of nutrition. We start tapering for racing which means our training load drops therefore we don’t need as much fuel as a normal training week. In saying this, carbs is the biggest source of energy for us so keeping good intake is important. Another important ritual is to keep up the water and vitamins to help protect us from illness. That’s the last thing you’d want after putting in so much hard work."
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