PREPD Ambassador Izzi Batt-Doyle has recently been announced as an official member of the Australian Olympic team in Tokyo 2020 (2021) to run in the women’s 5,000m.
Whilst she is still training hard and preparing for the Olympics we were able to have a chat to Izzi about her journey to becoming an Olympian and a few tips for runners you don’t want to miss!
1. Congrats on your Olympic debut! Has becoming an Olympian always been a dream of yours? Or when did you think you were going to pursue this path?
Thank you! I am over the moon! Reaching the Olympic Games is the pinnacle of sport. It’s any elite athletes end goal. It’s more been something that’s a dream but felt like a long way away for most of my career.
Since I was a teenager I might have said I want to go to the Olympics one day. However, I hadn’t really understood the amount of dedication, commitment and hard work (and a little bit of luck) that really goes into it until the last couple of years.
While it’s been a dream to be an Olympian since I can remember running, it wasn’t probably a tangible goal until 2015 when I started to run well in the Steeplechase and thought I might have an outside chance for the event at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
During college I progressed my time to 10:02 (the qualifier was 9:42 at the time I believe) before getting injured before the season ended.
Coming into the 2020/21 season, I was rebuilding from a string of bad injuries and really just enjoying any opportunity to compete after a very uncertain year, and definitely was not focused on making the Olympics. I started the season as a 15:41 5,000m runner which is 31 seconds slower than the Olympic Qualifying time. I actually thought I would have a better shot at getting close to the 10,000m time but I surprised myself running 15:11 in March in Australia and after that I knew that I could make it.
2. Can you tell us a short snapshot of your running career? How did you get here?
My parents were very active, running marathons and other events when I was growing up. I started Little Athletics in U9’s following my older sister Immy who I looked up to a lot. I represented South Australia at my first national cross country championships at Hobart in 2006. From then on I qualified for cross country and track state teams throughout school, but I was never a stand out athlete at these events. Even the state championships I was usually second or third at best.
I become more serious with my running in my last year at school, finally getting onto the podium at both national cross country and track championships.
Later on I decided to accept a scholarship at St John’s University in the US to compete in the NCAA and earn my degree knowing that it would be an incredible opportunity to experience something different. I started in August 2014, and I had quick success there breaking school records and improving my personal bests, but after 18 months decided to transfer for a more challenging athletic experience.
This meant transferring to the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle which had a very strong women’s distance program. From 2016 to 2019 at UW I had a string of injuries, mainly stress fractures in my feet. However, during this time I was still able to improve my personal bests, qualify for multiple NCAA national championships and represent Australia at the 2017 and 2019 World University Games.
At the University of Washington, I finished off my career there with a strong last season, breaking the 5,000m and 10,000m records, and winning the conference championship in the 10,000m and placing third at the NCAA national championships in the same event.
After moving back to Australia after five years in the US, I spent some months not running after a serious stress fracture in my calcaneus in 2019.
During 2020 the pandemic provided an opportunity for me to focus on getting healthy without rushing back for races. I found my love for running again and things started to click.
During the 2020/2021 domestic season I won the South Australian 10,000m road state championships, and the 10,000m, 5,000m, and 3,000m track state championships.
Over the course of the season I broke the 5,000m and 3,000m state records. I was runner-up at the Australian 10,000m national championships in a PB of 31:43 which ranks #10 all time. I was also runner-up at the Australian 5,000m national championships. In another 5,000m race I won in an agonizing 1.07 seconds shy of the Olympic Qualifying time!
After these efforts I took the risk and travelled to Europe to chase a qualifying time for the Olympics, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to come home for at least three months.
3. What has been the most challenging part of qualifying to the Olympics?
The most challenging part has been the uncertainty. It was nearing the end of the domestic season, and after getting so close to the qualifying time I was worried I might not have another chance.
My trip to Europe was only really finalized three weeks before I left and there was a lot of paperwork and logistics to figure out along the way. I raced the 5,000m 6 days after arriving in Europe and I was actually a lot calmer than I would have expected. I knew I needed to perform and I could have crumbled under the pressure but I’m proud I was able to rise to the occasion and get it done!
4. Can you give us your top three tips for someone wanting to do some running events or races whether a City to Bay, a half marathon or even just doing your first 5km?
My top three tips would be:
1) Start slow! Often people get excited and overdo it in the first few weeks of training which can result in an injury popping up and just tiring yourself out. Set your goal, work backwards and make a plan that’s realistic and sustainable. You don’t need to run longer and faster every day.
2) Get a coach! If you’re really wanting to get the most out of yourself working with a coach can help you work out the best plan to reach your goals.
3) Run with friends! Having running buddies can be extremely helpful for motivation, enjoyment and just getting it done. If you can find a group or a friend to run with or even just to meet up with, it will make you more accountable and bring a social and fun aspect into your training.
5. How important has been nutrition and hydration in your training. And what top three tips you have in this space.
Nutrition and hydration are extremely important to me! I studied a minor in nutritional sciences at university and I have always been interested in how fuel plays a role in athletic performance and health.
My top three tips would be:
1) Pack a snack for after your run to speed up recovery. I like to have a banana, a bar or a protein shake, PREPD (or all of the above!) straight after my run.
2) Don’t go for a training session without having breakfast! You might be able to get away with it for a short morning run, but for any session or longer run I will have two pieces of toast with jam/peanut butter and banana or a small bowl of oats or at least a banana!
3) Always have a water bottle on you! Drink throughout the day to avoid getting dehydrated for your next session.
6. We love having you as our PREPD ambassador! Can you tell our readers and customers how do you use PREPD in your running training and what benefits you’ve seen since using it?
I love being a PREPD ambassador! I feel very lucky to work with such a great company and to be supported no matter where I am in the world.
My go to drink is the the mango and passionfruit flavour and will have a PREPD PRIME after dinner the night before my three key sessions of the week (Tuesday track session, Friday threshold session and Sunday long run).
Straight after these three sessions I will have a cold RECOVER. It’s the first thing I want after a hard session, I usually drink it in about 10 seconds! I also use the same protocol before and after races.
One of the benefits for me is knowing that I am enhancing my hydration to avoid dehydration and muscle fatigue. I do feel that I am able to run harder for longer since using PREPD, I rarely feel dehydrated after a session. In addition to boosting my hydration and recovery, I just love the taste and texture of the drinks. It’s like having a smoothie, and it’s something I can easily drink after a session when I’m usually not quite ready to eat.
Izzi was awarded South Australian Athlete of the Year (2020 open female/xc/walks) by Athletics SA.
Izzi training in Europe at Saint Moritz preparing for the Olympics.
Izzi at her Olympic Qualifier – 15:04.10 (5,000m) and a win in her first European race.
We have been able to send PREPD to Izzi to Europe for her training and racing!