Athlete Profile: Charlotte Dannatt

Banner of images of performance athlete Charlotte Dannatt

Name

Charlotte Dannatt

Course and Year of Study

Biomedical Science (3rd Year)

College

St John's

Sport

Athletics and Cross Country 

Club

Camberley and District / Oxford University Athletics Club

Highest Competition Level

International -  selected for GB for World Uni XC (cancelled because of Covid-19) and represented England multiple times on roads and in cross country.

Best Achievement

Becoming British Senior Cross Country champion after winning the UK inter county championships in March 2020.

Short Term Aspirations

Set PB's in my track events if there is an outdoor athletics season…, Qualify for the GB U23 team for the European Cross Country championships in December 2020 and the European U23 Outdoor championships in July 2021.

Long Term Aspirations

Transition successfully to international competition at the senior level, qualifying for teams for major championships, at the European and World level. Continue improving finish positions and my times in cross country and road and track racing.    

How did you get into the sport?

I started quite late when I was 15 after a school teacher took me down to my local athletics club (I was really scared when it came to joining clubs where people already all knew each other.) I slowly went from attending one club session a week to two and gradually begun racing more and then had well and truly caught the bug!

How has the Blues Performance Scheme helped you?    

I've been incredibly grateful for the facility access I have been given over my time at Oxford. The performance scheme facilitated free pool access which is a key component to my training and staying injury free and something I utilise multiple times per week. Dan and the S+C coaches are always on hand to offer advice and support where they can and I always feel that they are genuinely interested and excited about your development and successes. The sports psychology with Mark Bellamy is also great. 

What is your advice on balancing sport and academia?

Timetabling and balance!! I think when you have balanced work and sport since GCSE's you are kind of used to it so I don’t really have to think about it now but the biggest thing I would advise is sitting down at the start of each week and filling out when you have teaching and classses and when you are training/eating/recovering (and also when you are seeing friends and having a break). I also think you tend to be far more productive when it comes to sitting down to work because you know that your time is somewhat limited. I think that sport provides a great outlet from work that means you are more focused when you return to it and that work also stops you dwelling too much on sport if you have a bad session/race. 

How have you managed training during lockdown?

I'm fortunate that there is a large forest behind my house which is great for my normal runs. I have had to adpat my interval sessions a bit because there is no where near me that is ideal surface - terrain/elevation wise for running super fast and hitting splits and obviously I can't access a track so am reliant on my GPS watch for measuring things which isnt always 100% accurate. I have switched most of my sessions to being time based (roughly how long I know a given rep should take) as opposed to distance and am using hills a lot to try and build extra speed and power. I ordered a TRX and have some basic weights and equipment so do some daily bodyweight core and S+C as well as spending about 30-40 mins before and after runs stretching, rolling, doing drills and activating different muscles to try and ensure that I stay injury free and work on any small weaknesses I might have during this time. It's strange not knowing when/if there will be any competition and I really miss having training partners for sessions as I am completely by myself as no one in my family runs, but luckily I love the sport and very self motivated so am just using this time for running to cheer me up and give me some time outside.

Any advice for Oxford University athletes during lockdown?

Setting yourself small goals to work on areas in which you are weak and getting into a routine which structures your days a bit better. Don't stress too much about performance level and hitting set times, just relax and enjoy sport and being fit and healthy