Sorry that I have not been in touch for some time but as I mentioned to you before, my life has changed quite a bit since September. I felt that to make the next step up in athletics and life in general I needed to move away and become more independent and less reliant on others. I also wanted a change of scene and more people to run with.
I have been living in London studying at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. I am training with Craig Winrow’s group up there. Jon (my coach) and Craig work together to set my training and they speak on a regular basis. Jon tries to come up and see me once a week if he can. I do all of the group sessions in the winter but in the summer the training will become more specific and if there is something I need to do then Craig will make sure I do it. It has worked out really well and I’m pleased with the decision I made. There is a great group of guys in Craig’s group, including a number of international athletes; two of these guys were at the Olympics. We all get along really well and help to push each other on in training. What I like is that there is always someone to run with, I can’t remember the last time I ran by myself! Nothing is better than a big group of guys pushing each other on in a session at Bushy Park in the sunshine! The group meet up for sessions 3 times a week and around that it is just mainly easy/steady running which we organise between ourselves. I have a good group of friends who I live and train with. We all live in athlete halls of residence. We are sensible with the runs between sessions and do not push them hard which I find works well for me. The training facilities at St Mary’s are fantastic with an athletics track and sports centre including gym on site. There are also physios and sports massage therapists working on site several days a week.
Being at university was a big life change for me and I am not going to lie, I did struggle at first. Little things like doing your own washing and going to bed at a reasonable time took some getting used to. I also got really run-down after fresher’s week, but that’s pretty normal!
I was only at University for 5 weeks and then found myself off to Kenya for a 4 week Altitude Training Camp with UK:Athletics /London Marathon. It was another great experience, I love it out there. There is no better place to focus fully on your training. It is a really inspiring place and there are great trails to run on. Also being surrounded by World Class athletes and training with them is really beneficial. I learnt a lot from being there the previous year and changed a few things and trained smarter this time when I was out there. One of the main targets of the camp is to prepare for the European Cross Country Championships. We had the trials to make the GB team 2 days after we returned which were held in Liverpool. Athletes need to be careful not to push too hard in the last stages of the camp because a combination of being tired and travelling overnight can really mess things up.