“Don’t Lose the Fun and Passion” -Vanessa Grimm
She can do it all
As a young kid, I would run around all day. I didn’t care if it was at home, at the supermarket or even on holidays. Wherever I was I sprinted a couple of yards away, turned around and sprinted back. At some point, my parents were fed up, so they introduced me to track and field to channel my energy. I genuinely enjoyed the sessions and tried out every discipline. Many athletes commit to one discipline but I found joy and talent in all of them. So I stuck to heptathlon. In a way heptathlon chose me.
Mainly the variety of my sport. Traveling, making new experiences and getting to know new people sharing the same passion is something truly special as well. I can’t really tell. I always loved sprinting and I am always looking forward to the 200 meters. This year I also enjoyed long-jump and shot put a lot.
The breakdown for the Build up
Wintertime is our build-up phase. That’s when we work on our base. Loads of running, gym-sessions, sprinting and jumping. We also try to improve our techniques in the disciplines. When competition time gets closer, we focus more and more on speed and technique. Mostly every week includes elements of technique of all disciplines.
Where does the training time go?
Sprint and spring (like jumping power) is always a priority because those abilities are helpful and needed in all disciplines. In wintertime, we usually focus on two disciplines where I have to catch up on a little bit. Meanwhile, my strongest disciplines get trained at the same time.
Knowing your limits
For two years I was struggling with my shoulder and couldn’t train javelin as much. Otherwise, I’ve been lucky so far. We try to prevent injuries due to overstrain/overloading as much as possible. By now I’ve developed a good feeling of when to take something seriously or when it’s fine to carry on.
Case of the nerves
Definitely, before important competitions, everything is possible in 7 disciplines. Although, as soon as the competition starts I lose all that nervousness. Due to the fact that heptathletes know each other really well so we more so challenge each other as friends than as competitors. Still, a sense of relief comes over me once I’ve done the first two disciplines. I always tell myself that the competition isn’t any different from training. When I can look forward to showing off what I’ve learned in training, I reach my best results.
Dealing with bad results is something I’ve been struggling with until last year. Although I’ve learned that after a bad result there are more disciplines to come that can make up for bad results. A Heptathlon where everything is going according to plan is rare. I’m upset for a bit but then focus on the upcoming discipline. At that moment, despairing doesn’t help at all. But if I focus on every discipline as if it’s the only one, I have seven chances to perform at my best.
10th place U-23 European Championships Heptathlon (Gävle 2019)
4th place Thorpe Cup (comparison between Germany and the USA in 2019)
1st place U-23 German Championships Heptathlon 2019
1st place U-20 German Championships Heptathlon 2016
I haven’t encountered those feelings of wanting to quit. I enjoy this sport way too much.
I keep telling myself what I want to reach. On top of that, I want to find out what’s possible for me in every discipline. Knowing the possibilities of improvement drives me to train and compete every day.
The feels far from home
It was a strange feeling at the beginning. Living all by yourself and organizing your daily life when you’ve just turned 18 is challenging. Luckily I made friends real quick and my new training team made me feel welcome from the very first moment on. So there wasn’t time to feel homesick. During summer I saw my family almost every week during my competitions or I go to visit them when I have spare time next to training and university.
Grimms bright message
If your joy of the sport and the desire of improving every day are big enough, then you should take a leap of faith. It’s the right decision. Nevertheless, I would advise to not forget about your future after your career. It’s always helpful to have a plan B because your career can be off the table sooner than you think. You should be training with discipline and ambition, but don’t take everything too serious. Don’t lose the fun and passion that once provoked the little girl.