Whilst some athletes visibly fade away with the passing of years, others improve as they gain more experience and confidence in their body’s ability.
Lisa Marie Bezzina falls in this latter category. Although she is far too young to be considered among our elder citizens, she has been running for long enough to rank as a veteran in the sport.
“I think that athletics runs through my veins and the more you run the more you want to achieve,” she said, reinforcing the impression that she is an athlete who is constantly looking to improve.
“You have to be motivated and to achieve your goals you have to work hard.
“On the other hand, the satisfaction of doing a personal best or, even better, a national record is great. Obviously, you need a lot of help and I can say I have been blessed with a helping family, a great coach in Ivan Rozhnov, my physio Milos Stanisavljevic, masseur Yan Farrugia and lots of understanding from Metallform, the company that I work for.”
These past few months certainly haven’t been lacking in satisfaction for Bezzina.
Apart from success in a host of road races, she also succeeded in winning the MAAA Road Running League as well as acquire the minimum qualification standards in both 1,500m and 5,000m for next year’s Games of the Small States of Europe.
There are, however, different stories behind the latter two results.
“I was pretty sure that I could run the MQS in the 5,000m,” she said.
“A week earlier, in a 10,000m race at Marsascala, I ran the first 5,000 under the MQS so I was very confident.”
Such certainties were lacking in the other event.
“In the 1,500m it was a very different story because I hadn’t even started doing speed work in training and you need a lot of speed training for such shorter races,” Bezzina said.
“So much so, that I was more focused on my coach’s instructions regarding the change of pace in the final 300m than on an MQS. Strangely, it all went well.”
Such success in sport, however, isn’t coincidental.
“These last few months were great for me and it all came together after I changed coaches last year,” Bezzina contended.
“Normally, I train about four hours a day early in mornings and evenings... sometimes even more. There are two or three track sessions a week following a strict schedule from my coach.
“All this would not have been possible without the recent scheme of 20 hours work and 20 hours training,” she said before going on to thank the MOC, Sports Malta, MAAA and sponsors Urban Jungle, Garmin and Nyoo Hamrun.
A high altitude training camp in France has also helped in boosting her race performances.
“There you have a taste of the life of a professional athlete,” she said.
“I can honestly say that I would not have achieved these results in such a short time without the altitude training. You have to remember that for us this is the beginning of the season so everybody will develop better timings as the season moves on.”
For her this means achieving the targets that she had set for herself.
She said: “Now I have to focus on the 10,000m as my main aim is to run both the 5,000m and 10,000m in next year’s GSSE, hopefully getting on the podium.”
Before that, she aims to do well in the Athletics Championships of the Small States of Europe that are being held in Malta next month.
“I want to better my time in the 3,000m which is the longest distance race in programme,” Bezzina said.
“Ultimately, my aim is always that… to improve on my times.”
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