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Athletics - 20. April 2015.

New mum Ennis-Hill prepares for her hardest challenge

 

But as she prepares her return to the sport, after giving birth to her son Reggie last July, there is no expectation that everything is about the need to win.

Her life has changed so much that for now her comeback is all about small steps; in her world, she is aptly taking baby steps towards the major aim of bidding to defend her Olympic heptathlon title in Rio in the summer of 2016.

“It is quite hard because I have never come back from this,” said Ennis-Hill, 29.

"I have never been in this situation before and year on year, I have always done the same winter's training and everything has progressed.

"But this year has been completely different. I have not had a full winter's season, I have had to build into it, I have done a good block of training and then had to back off a bit, done another good block. I don't feel like I am a million miles away but I am not 100 per cent sure what it is going to look like when it all comes together.

"Before I had Reggie, it was all about ‘me, me, me’ competing and making sure I am training and everything is going right for me. Now it is not me, Reggie comes before everything else, but I am still really competitive, taking a back seat watching everyone else compete, I want to be there and be at my best again."

While she might only have a few years left of her career, there is no rush.

Ennis-Hill will return to action on 9 May when she runs the 100m hurdles in the street athletics event of the GreatCity Games in Manchester and then three weeks later she will head to Götzis for the Hypo-meeting. There she will undertake her first heptathlon when she faces her fellow Briton Katarina Johnson-Thompson and the Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers.

It was in Götzis in 2008 where Ennis suffered the pain of injury which ruled her out of that summer’s Olympic Games.

But she recovered to become world champion the following summer before winning gold at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona in 2010, a foundation towards her Olympic glory in front of the British fans in London in 2012.

She is back at a time when Britain has a new star at the multi-events in Johnson-Thompson, who broke Ennis-Hill’s national record with her brilliant pentathlon performance to win gold with 5000 points at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague last month.

Ennis-Hill said: "I did watch and it is always sad when your records go because it is nice to keep that, but she did amazingly and so unlucky not to get the world record. I am happy for her, she is doing well, but equally I want to be back and competitive."

But she knows she is now facing something like never before, as she juggles life as a full-time mum with being a full-time athlete.

"This is the hardest challenge ever," said Ennis-Hill. "It was really tough in the lead up to London and the years before but this is just a whole different ball game and it throws so many different things at you."

And as she adds: "I love being a mum, it is amazing."

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