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Degree for Athlete Michelle

Athletics star Michelle Thomas has completed a BSC (Hons) Sports Coaching degree with the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure.
Michelle, who won silver in the 4x400m relay at the 1998 Games, will graduate at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre on Monday, 8 September, 2008.
For her dissertation, Michelle decided to investigate a problem she had experienced herself during her own training. The 36-year-old overtrained in preparation for events last season, and injured her Achilles tendon. She looked at using a ‘blood lactate’ test to determine the correct training intensity, so athletes trained at a percentage of their best ability.
Among the nine athletes who took part in Michelle’s research at the Walsall Campus was Julie Hollman, who went on to represent Great Britain in the Heptathlon at the Beijing Olympics.
Mum-of-two Michelle, from Birmingham, said: “For my dissertation I wanted to look at how it is possible to feel so much pain as you are running. I was curious because I overtrained – I was running too quickly in training. So I decided to use the blood lactate test, which is a method used by swimmers to determine the anaerobic threshold. 
“By using this method, athletes can complete repetitions at a tolerable pace and it also enables them to recover better from training. The long term benefits include increased threshold levels which improve long term performance.
“I had a great experience at University, and I am grateful for the help I have received. I learnt a lot from being there and it has helped to improve myself. I was given an Excellence Scholarship from the University, so they supported me with my sport as well.”
Michelle also thanked the University staff who had supported her, including Dr Matthew Wyon, Dr Shaun Galloway and Kay Biscomb.

Further information

Picture: Michelle Thomas is pictured collecting her Excellence Scholarship award from Vice Chancellor Professor Caroline Gipps last year.
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