Lynsey Sharp poised for African training stint to break up bleak Scots winter
LIKE many athletes, Lynsey Sharp is not overfond of this time of year, when she has four or five months of training in the British winter to look forward to.
But this year things should be different for the 800-metre runner: instead of training in a disused railway tunnel to shelter from the worst of the weather, she could be basking under African skies.
“I’ll probably try altitude training for a month in January, in Kenya with UK Athletics,” the 21-year-old explained yesterday. .
“My only worry is there’s not much evidence that it benefits 800-metre runners – although [Great Britain team-mate] Andrew Osagie went out there last year and had an amazing year. I’m not going to know until I try it.
“I don’t want to try it for the first time at the start of 2014, being Commonwealth Games year. This is the start of the Olympic cycle, so I think now is the time, and if it works I’ll do it for the next four years.
“Coping with the fact there’s so little to do there will be the hardest part. I’m always out doing stuff, having coffee and cakes and stuff like that.
“Some people go and hate it, others go and love it. I’ll give it a shot.
“The weather will be better than it is here, but people have said it’s difficult because there’s nothing to do but train and eat pretty bland food. Take something with you, learn a language or do something else. Have something to do. I think it will be an experience.”
There will be another advantage for the European silver medallist in Kenya which she does not have here – others with whom to train. The lack of a peer group in Edinburgh is an issue which will have to be addressed at some stage before the next Olympics, and the prospect of better facilities in the south of England may also appeal, but for the moment she plans to remain based in the capital.
“I’m definitely staying here for the time being. I don’t really have any training partners up here, but the problem is my coach doesn’t have a ready-made group I can walk into. It is an issue that needs addressing, but for the time being I’m staying here.
“I’ve got my mum to do my sessions, time me and cook for me. So it’s not like I have nothing here. But it would be good to have a group, because if you’re having a bad day there’s always someone behind you and in front of you.
“It would be difficult to get girls to train with, because there are not many at my level.
“The training between now and February, over the winter, it’s horrible, you don’t want to do it. So having a group who you meet at a certain time and just go out and do it would be nice.
“The hardest part is December, when the weather’s awful, and it’s dark and cold. You just want to sit down in front of the TV and that’s you for the night.
“But you have to think: in the summer I want to be really fit, and if I don’t do the work now I won’t be. It’s these months now that make the summer good.”
Having won that European medal this summer, Sharp will aim to qualify for the World Championships in Moscow next year before setting her sights on Commonwealth gold in Glasgow in 2014. She was bitterly disappointed after that second place in Helsinki when she failed to reach the Olympic final in London, but can still reflect on a season which was more successful than she could reasonably have expected at the start of the year.
That success was reflected in two awards she picked up at the weekend – the Kukri Scottish Athletics athlete of the year award (for the second year running) and the Eric Liddell Award for a promising young athlete from Edinburgh.
“I knew nothing about it,” she said of the latter prize. “I was asked there to present an award, then they said at the end there might be a surprise for me.
“Eric Liddell’s niece was there to present it, which was really nice. I went to see Chariots Of Fire a couple of months ago with my mum and dad, so it was really cool to meet her. He’s a complete legend, and to have an award with his name on it is amazing.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West