|4th||World Junior Championships||Kingston JAM||2002|
|Qualified for||European Championships||Goteborg||2006|
|Semi Finalist||World Championships||Osaka||2007|
|5th||European Indoor Championships||Birmingham||2007|
|10th||World Indoor Championships||Valencia||2008|
|4th||World Athletics Final||Stuttgart||2008|
1500m 4.00.64 (mx) 4.02.10
Q. How did you start running?
A. When I was 11 at school, I won sports day 800m and the teachers advised me to join the local athletics club.
Q. How long have you been running?
A. 14 years.
Q. So what do you like so much about running?
A. I love the buzz I get from running and the sense of freedom that comes with just going out for a long run. When I'm in shape I can feel like I'm floating and it's such a satisfying feeling.
Q. Do you still think you will be running when you are 70?
A. I would like to think so!
Q. Where are you training at the moment?
A. Loughborough University-I do most of my runs on campus as I live about a mile away.
Q. Who is your coach?
A. George Gandy. A great character!!! I've worked with George since 2002 and he's really developed me as an athlete. He's always got time to help and gives ups so much of his to coach. I don't think I've ever met anyone as enthusiastic about athletics as George.
Q. Can you give a typical week in full training and race week?
Saturday: Session-dependant on time of year. Longer if winter more track specific if summer.
Sunday: Long run up to 90mins in the winter-around 60-70mins in the summer
Monday: am) run and drills pm) run and weights
Tuesday: am) easy run pm) session
Wednesday: am) longish run up to an hour, pm) run and circuits
Thursday: am) relaxed run pm) speed pred-strides/drills/150ms
Monday: am) run and drills pm) easy run
Tuesday: am) easy run pm) reduced session-80% of normal
Wednesday: am) shorter run say25-45mins, pm) easy run
Thursday: am) Rehearse warm up and warm down with some strides.
Sunday: Long run
Q. What sort of mileage are you doing in training phases?
A. Around 60-70 max in the winter and then about 50 miles in the summer.
Q. What was your longest run of the week?
A. Sunday run-the max is 90mins but very rare! Usually 75mins
Q. Do you run big mileage when racing?
A. I'll keep my mileage high throughout the winter regardless of races, likewise for the early part of the summer but I do taper for championships and for the majority of the second half on the track season. I don't like to get too sluggish at any point in the year and I like to maintain an element of quality on as much of my training as I can. However it's really important to develop the aerobic side of things as much as possible to carry you through the summer. I think it's important to strike a balance-not be swamped by running hundreds of miles a week and not getting any return from quality sessions but not neglecting the aerobic work. It's also important to be event specific. Increasing my mileage over the past few years has really made me a stronger athlete-I run heavy miles at the right time of year e.g. in the winter and like to feel fresh in the summer. If there's variation and balance in mileage and quality then I think either aspect can work for an individual.
Q. Do you use races as training?
A. I use most of the early part of the summer to practise races. I tend to work more on tactical elements-such as running a fast last lap off a slow early pace or doubling up and 800m with a 1500m and trying something tactical in each. I'd train normally throughout the week and use this as a session. With the 1500m you never know how the race is going to go so it's useful to try and develop a good racing brain.
Q. How many times a week?
A. Twice a week
Q. Examples of important sessions?
A. 3x400m (30secs) just quicker than 1500m pace (5mins rec) 2x400m at 800m pace (1min between) then 10mins rec followed by 400m fast.
Q. What would be your shortest fastest session?
A. 100m, 110m, 120m etc increasing by 10ms each time up to 190m off jog back and increasing pace each 10m. Then 5mins rec and a 200m flat out.
Q. Hardest session?
A. Beacon hill reps in the winter-a hill which takes around 5mins to climb! In the summer I find 10x400m hard as it's usually on of our early sessions back so it always feels a bit fast having just come off winter training
Q. Do you change surface dependant on time of year?
A. Yes, I tend to do mostly track work in the summer and more grass/road in the winter. However I'll go on the track every other week during the winter-just to keep in touch with the surface. I train with a group - I'm really luck to have a big group at Loughborough-everyone has different strengths and weakness so it's really helpful in sessions as there's always someone to work with or to chase. If I'm preparing for a championship and my training is more specific or targeted differently then I will do the odd session on my own.
I do the majority of my sessions with a group and I find it really helps as there's always someone to chase or work with. I like the atmosphere that comes with group training-everyone spurs each other on and you know you're not the only one working really hard. I have a huge training group and everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. I often run on my own or with Ricky as I like to run on feel rather than have a dictated pace.
Q. So what are your thoughts/feelings on easy running?
A. I do them regularly as part of recovery after training sessions/races or the morning of races/sessions. I base most of my running on how I feel rather than running a set pace; my heart rate would be around 140bpm on an easy run. I used to run my easy runs far too fast and ended up struggling when I got to the next session. I also find them really helpful the morning of a race or a session to just tick everything over without causing any stress of fatigue.
Q. Again did you do them, do you run a certain pace and how regular?
A.I tend to adapt each run according to what I have left in the week or what I have done previously but a steady run would be about 160 heart rate. I use them to stress the aerobic system a little but not too much whilst getting everything moving a bit quicker. I usually just run them with Ricky (Soos) my fiance or more often than not on my own, however if I meet people on a run and they're running a similar pace then I'll just run with them.
Strength & Diet
Q. Do you do any circuits?
A. Once a week.
Q. Do you do weights?
A. Once a week.
Q. Do you ever use massage?
A. I have a massage once a week on a Thursday as recovery from sessions and also as injury prevention. I also do Core/physio rehab exercises everyday.
Q. Any special diet?
A. I just follow a balanced healthy diet with the odd treat here and there. I try not to worry about weight too much until very important championships-then I work with a nutritionist to sensibly get leaner but I only maintain this for a short amount of time.
I think Cross County's really important, as it's such a good test. I've tended to run indoors more over the past few years as the 4km was withdrawn from the world cross and I just feel 8km is too far for me to train for and be competitive over without moving too far away from my event. If there were more 6km and 4kms then I'd defiantly run more cross countries. Cross Country was defiantly a vital part of my winter training-especially when I was younger; it was what got me started in athletics in the first place.
Altitude & Warm Weather Training
I've only ever been to altitude once and it was only for a short while so I haven't got enough experience to comment. It would be something I may consider trying again though. However we have a really good base in Stellenbosch, South Africa where I have been going for warm weather training for a few years now. It's like home from home, a relaxed environment with lots to do. I find just having some sunshine and a change of scenery really refreshing and it's good to start summer preparations in a warm environment. It's so nice just to take away other pressures and just be able to concentrate on training.
Past & Present
Q. What was it like to win the Commonwealth games last time around?
A. Amazing-it was all a bit surreal and it took a long time to sink in but it was an experience I'll never forget! I'd love to compete at the next one and defend my title.
Q. What's you're plans for the near future?
A.The World Championships in Berlin are a big target. I'd really like to break 4mins for the 1500m. It is really good in Britain at the moment for 1500m, the standard is very high.