WRITTEN FOR SKYSPORTS
After clinching a spectacular global 400m hurdles gold last month, Dai Greene intends to boost his training load this winter in his search for Olympic glory in London ten months from now, writes Nicola Bamford.
The 25-year-old Welshman has revealed that in a bid to increase his aerobic capacity and strength endurance for the gruelling one-lap barrier event next summer, he will spend the next few months supplementing his training with four mile runs and kilometre repetitions – a bold and unusual move for a sprint hurdler.
Based in Bath under the tutelage of coaching legend Malcolm Arnold, Greene explained:
“I’ve recently moved house to only five minutes away from the track so this winter, I’ll start to train twice a day and we’ve got a lot more medical support here now after the success of the group this summer.
“Typically, I will do fartlek or hills in the morning then a 25-30min run or a running session and gym work in the afternoon – the strongest will survive next year and hopefully it will pay dividends for me.”
The decision to sacrifice more of his time and energy over the winter months of course extends from Green’s innate desire to build upon his recent World Championship victory to grab the prestigious Olympic crown, and judging from his form of late, he may well achieve his athletic dream next summer.
The British number-one for the past three seasons, Greene enjoyed a stellar 2011 campaign in which he not only captured an impressive gold medal in Daegu, South Korea in 48.26 but also took the IAAF Diamond League title on the international circuit, won the Aviva British Grand Prix in Birmingham in a season’s best of 48.20 and reduced his 400m flat best to 45.82 to rank eighth on the national rankings for the year – most of which were achieved whilst coping with a secret injury:
“I raced with a bad hip throughout the season but didn’t tell anyone and it managed to clear up before the World’s,” revealed Greene.
“It hindered and affected some of my earlier races and slowed me down. I was confident I’d get the British record and if it hadn’t have been for the injury, I would have nailed it – hopefully it will come but I’m not aiming for it.”
The illusive mark is 47.82 is owned by 1992 Olympic bronze-medallist Kriss Akabussi and is 19-years-old but Greene came close when clocking his lifetime best of 47.88 whilst taking the Continental Cup title in Croatia on the back of his European Championship victory and just before claiming Commonwealth gold a year ago – and despite not being as quick this summer, he is still very satisfied:
“I worked very hard so it was a dream result to get the gold and it was great to improve on the two golds from last year - I was overjoyed to deliver when it mattered most,” Greene explained.
“I believed I was one of three who could get the win but I was confident of winning throughout the rounds.
“I haven’t been on the world scene for long but I’ve been in the top three in every race since June 2010 and always believed I could do it – it made me very happy.”
Having only taken up the sport six years ago, the Swansea Harrier has indeed come a long way since taking the 2003 continental under23 crown.
A former promising footballer with the Swansea City FC youth team, Greene failed to make the 2008 squad for the Beijing Olympics and placed only seventh in the World Championships the following season, but it was in 2010 when he truly broke onto the world scene with two major championship titles and he has evidently since continued his taste for winning ways.
Training alongside the current European under23 champion, Jack Green and
Commonwealth 110m hurdles bronze-medallist Lawrence Clarke, Greene – after a months’ break and a holiday in Mauritius - is set to resume the hard graft this Sunday and heads for a four-week spell of warm-weather training in South Africa in December whilst keeping his rivals at the forefront of his mind for extra motivation:
“I’d say the Olympic gold is between the five of us (Javier Coulson, LJ Van Zyl, Bershawn Jackson, Kerron Clement and himself) and at least two of us will be vying for gold next year,” he revealed.
“Jack and I have a great laugh together – he’s a good person to have nipping at my heels and after it was just me and Rhys (Williams, the European silver-medallist) for a few years, the youngsters came through this year like Nathan (Woodward) and Jack so the standard’s picked up and it was great to have three athletes reach at least the semi-finals in Daegu – hopefully we’ll can have three in the final in 2012.
“I still have a hard test ahead next year but the expectations don’t bother me – I’ll just keep doing my best each day.
“I want to run consistently quicker next year and put myself in the running as the favourite before the Games then get the gold - I like people to worry about me on the start-line and it would be good to reinforce the season I had this year.”