As any retired athlete will tell you, caring for the body doesn’t stop when one stops competing on the track and field. We caught up with former Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallist Kelly Sotherton who recently bought a Mammoth to find out more about her career after athletics and how paying attention to health and wellbeing are still every bit as important to her now.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into athletics?
I’m from the Isle of Wight. I got into athletics at school. It progressed from there to joining a club and getting a coach, this enabled me to improve and follow my dreams.
Can you describe the event you competed in and outline some of your career highlights?
My event was the heptathlon, which involved 7 events over 2 days encompassing jumping, sprinting, hurdling, throwing and endurance events. Over the course of my career I won an Olympic bronze, World silver and bronze, 3 European silvers and a Commonwealth gold medal.
What kind of training regime did you follow day-to-day?
I trained 11 times a week, it varied day to day. As I did so many events we had to make sure that no events were overlooked or over done. It entailed lots of running speed and endurance, plyometrics, weights, Pilates, circuits, technical work for each events, rest, physio, massage, eating and sleeping.
What would you class as your proudest achievement to date (in sport or away from it)?
I would class the bronze medal I won at the World Championships in 2007 in Japan my best moment. I beat Jess Ennis!
Since retiring you have moved into other work. Can you tell us a little bit about your more recent career path?
I’m moving into more governance and coaching roles. I also mentor at GB Weighlifting. I believe that the athletes’ and coaches’ pathway to performance be as simple as possible with minimal bureaucracy, ensuring that it is fair.
Mammoth mattresses are known for their health benefits, particularly for people recovering from injury or looking to make performance gains. How important do you consider rest time and recovery for both the body and mind?
Rest is always key. Regardless of what kind of life you lead. Waking up in the morning feeling recharged is crucial to starting the day off right. If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, the day can be harder than you anticipated.
How many hours of sleep do you aim for a night? How do you feel when you don’t get a full night’s sleep – are you good at handling fatigue?
Generally I sleep around 8/9 hours a night. I’m very good at getting off to sleep but I wake a lot through the night. I can get away with one night of only a few hours of sleep. But I definitely feel the effects for a few days if I do not get a good night’s sleep immediately the next night.
As you have travelled to a lot to competitions in your sport, what do you consider to be a must-have to ensure a good night’s sleep away from home, and do you have an optimum environment to sleep in – e.g. warm and cosy, cool and clean?
I always used to take my own pillow when I was competing, with my own pillowcase washed in my favourite fabric conditioner so it would smell like home. Nowadays I like to have the room cool with no noise. It needs to be dark and not near a busy walkway. I will ask to move rooms if I’m near the lift!
How did you find out about Mammoth mattresses and what attracted you to the brand in the first place?
I never really regarded the mattered as important until I actually retired from athletics. I saw a few athletes had mentioned having one on social media. Having had 2 prolapsed discs I discovered I needed a comfortable but stable mattress to help relieve my back pain. I saw when researching mattresses that these high performing mattresses would help my body when I slept to relieve some pressure and help with pain.
I bought the Performance 240. At first, I was a little unsure which to go for as we [Kelly and her partner, GB triple jumper Nathan Douglas] tried out most models in store. To try and get a mattress to suit 2 high performing people is quite tricky.
At first I thought it could be a little firm but after a week or so the mattress started to give a little to fit the sleeping position. I do sleep better because of the support and space. I wake up more rested with less disturbances through the night.
I would highly recommend our mattress to anyone who has some kind of back issues.
If you could have a (purely platonic) late night chat with anyone, dead or alive, who’d be worth losing sleep over – and why? Actually stumped at this question. I still have my teddy bear from when I was born who still has pride of place on the bed. If he could talk I would be talking to him, as I’ve spoken to him a lot over the years with no comment from him.