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This article first appeared on The Daily Telegraph website titled ‘Rio 2016: Australian steeplechaser Genevieve LaCaze takes top form into Olympic Games‘.

“The last few weeks of preparation leading into Rio have been really positive,” the London Olympian said.

“I have had the season of my life so far, so my confidence in training and racing has really picked up.

“I’m the fittest I have ever been so I would have to say everything is definitely on track for the Olympics.”
LaCaze booked herself a ticket to Rio when she scored a silver medal behind Madeline Hills at the 2016 national championships.

Since then she has been in scintillating form, and in the last two months has run seven consecutive personal bests (in the 800m, three x 5000m, three x 3000m steeplechase).

She has moved up the Australian honourboards — to third fastest Australian ever in the steeplechase — and she also clocked her first 5000m Olympic qualifier, which is a nice sweetener as she was an automatic qualifier for this event as the current national champion.
But LaCaze said the biggest high for her has been staying injury-free.

“At this time of year, and it being such an important year, keeping my body fresh and injury free has been the biggest hurdle,” she said.

“I am constantly trying to test my limits and push myself as much as possible all while trying to maintain my health.

“It’s a tough one to perfect but I think I am doing a great job so far.

Gen La Caze Gym Bag Essentials

Genevieve La Caze trains six days per week and is a regular gym-goer. Daily Telegraph’s Swoop got a peek inside her gym bag – and here are all the essentials.

  1. Phone – La Caze keeps all of her training programs on her phone, and records all of her exercises on it so this is an absolute must.
  2. Drink Bottle – The Olympic steeplechase athlete says the importance of staying hydrated before, during, and after training should never be underestimated or taken for granted
  3. Music – She says that playlists vary but that she generally likes exercising in the gym to music
  4. Topical Gel – La Caze says she uses Flexiseq (a topical gel that helps with stiff joints to improve recovery time) and that she always has some at the ready in her kit bag
  5. Banana – Almost most important – “A banana is the perfect post-workout snack”

“I just have to make sure I keep looking after my body and doing all the one per cent things that

keep me fit and strong.”

LaCaze said she is controlling the controllables ahead of Rio, and she is looking to build on her results from the London Olympics.

“Obviously this is a very tough sport and the training and commitment it requires is endless and the rewards are rare,” she said.

“However I love what I do and wouldn’t change a thing.
“I am very lucky to have had the experiences I I’I’ve gained through my athletics and the satisfaction of being rewarded with a PB or great race is enough motivation to keep me going, even through the rough patches.

“This is my second Olympics, and I am a different athlete than I was four years’ ago.

“I believe I have a lot more to give and I also believe I belong in the final with the top 15 female steeplechasers in the world.

“My goal is to make that final and leave it all out there on the track.

“I have made huge progress this season, and I know I have more to give in Rio.”

LaCaze has come a long way in the last four years, and a finals berth is a realistic goal for the young star.

LaCaze has a reputation for posting impressive results when it counts, and in the lead in to the London Games she shaved 14 seconds off her personal best time in the space of five days to qualify for the 3000m steeplechase.

She finished ninth in her heat with another PB, placing her 22nd overall.

LaCaze won’t be alone in her search for excellence in Rio, and she said that her boyfriend (fellow Aussie athlete Ryan Gregson) inspires her to achieve great results.

“We make a great team,” she said, and we work together to accomplish our goals.

“He is my discipline because he is very professional when it comes to our athletics and we learn from each other’s mistakes to be the best athletes we can be.

“I think it is paying off for both of us this year.”