What does running mean to you?
Running is more than just my sport or career, it’s part of who I am. I love the challenge, both physical and mental, as well as pushing myself to the limits and overcoming my own doubts. But I also love that running gives me breathing space, time to be present and connected to my body.
What are your top tips for improving overall run speed?
1. A good running technique is crucial to running faster: work on driving your legs quickly, getting your knees and toes up and pumping your arms back.
2. Build more power in your legs by trying some strength and plyometric exercises that focus on fast, explosive movements, such as bounding, kettle bell swings and even just hopping up stairs.
3. Practise running fast: try short interval sessions that include hill sprints, 50-60m sprints or some fast stair running efforts. Make sure you have plenty of rest between each of the repetitions.
What training exercises do you do to improve your running speed?
As a professional sprinter, I train twice a day, six days a week, all with the goal of improving my speed. I have 4-5 running sessions a week that vary from short explosive sprints (40-80m reps), lactic acid tolerance (150m-300m reps) and also aerobic conditioning (400-1km reps). I’m in the gym three times a week to build strength and power; these sessions focus on Olympic lifts such as cleans and snatches, deadlifts and squats, core exercises and plyometrics. I also do cross training sessions, on the bike or in the pool, and pilates to avoid injury.
How important are your shoes and training gear?
Wearing top quality, lightweight and responsive shoes and training gear is crucial to improving your times. Look for a shoe that will give you some bounce as you hit the ground, and propel you forward as your foot toes off. Comfort really is key.
How do you maintain your motivation?
On days that I just don’t feel like getting out of bed I have a few techniques to lift my motivation levels: be kind to yourself, acknowledging that today might not be your best session but committing to just turning up and doing it anyway can help take the pressure off. Pump up your workout playlist and put on your favourite training gear. Find a friend you can train with. Remind yourself of your goals and what you’re working towards. Today will get you one step closer to achieving them!