Wednesday, 1 September 2010

All Change

After careful consideration and discussion with many people, I have made the decision to change coaches for the coming season. My previous coach, Malcolm Arnold in Bath, has coached many world class athletes over the years, including Colin Jackson and Jason Gardener. I first joined Malcolm's training group in 2005, primarily to train with Jason Gardener, who was at the time the number 1 sprinter within the UK. Myself, Jason, and a third sprinter, Ryan Scott, trained really well together, pushing each other on to new and better levels. The culmination of this was the 2007 European Indoor Final, which all three of us qualified for. Jason won in 6.51, I was second in 6.59, and Ryan was unfortunately disqualified for a false start. For a time in 2007, I was the fastest 60m runner in the World, and outdoors things got went very well too. I won the European Cup in a new personal best of 10.15 seconds, came second at the European u-23s in another new personal best (10.14), made the semi-finals of the World Championships, and got a bronze medal at those World Championships in the 4x100m relay.

Unfortunately, Jason decided to retire after the 2007 season, leaving jut myself and Ryan in the sprint part of the training group. 2008 was another solid year for me, it it was almost a disaster. In February I tore my hamstring quite badly, and missed a large chunk of training as a result. By May I was back running at 100%, until my first competition, on June the 6th, where I re-tore my hamstring, although to a lesser degree than before. With just five weeks before the Olympic Trials, things were not looking good. However, I came back strongly to make the team, and at the Olympics I made the quarter-finals in a seasons best of 10.18.

After the 2008 season, Ryan decided to leave the training group to join Lloyd Cowan in London. This left me without a real training partner, bar my friend Bruce Tasker, a 400m runner who would do my sessions to help me out. The 2009 season was moderately successful for me, with a seasons best of 10.22 (10.08 windy), and 5th place at the European Indoors. However, at the end of 2009, Bruce decided that he no longer wanted to do athletics, and so now I was literally training on my own. The 2010 has been a huge let down, leaving me plenty of time to consider my options. I feel that I work really well when other sprinters are training with me, and so began to consider joining another training group. This led me to think about joining Michael Khmel's training group.

Michael is based in Loughborough, and his training group consists of two 100m runners with PBs better than mine, and a 200m runner with a PB much better than mine. I felt that moving to this group would give me an opportunity to push myself hard every day, and getting a fresh outlook from Michael might also help. Loughborough is really outside my comfort zone though, as I will be leaving all my close friends behind in Bath. The hardest thing though will be temporarily leaving my girlfriend, who I share a house with. She has a full time job, and so it is unfair to ask her to move, and sell our house, before I know if this move has worked out.

Over the last five years I have learnt a huge amount from Malcolm, who has taken me from a promising junior athlete to a good senior athlete. I wish to thank him, and wish him all the best with his current group of athletes, which includes Dai Greene and Rhys Williams, European Gold and Silver Medallists in the 400m hurdles. I'd also like everyone who has helped me in my career at Bath, including the physiotherapists Chris Price and Anna Fisher, and former strength and conditioning coach Michael Johnstone.

I'd also like to say a big thank you to my girlfriend, Claire, for being very understanding and supportive about me wanting to move, and to my parents for supporting me.

Hopefully, everything with Loughborough will turn out well. I am really excited about learning new things, and trying out new training ideas. Watch this space!

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