Per­form like an elite ath­lete with ad­vice from top GB sprinter Adam Gemili

Men's Fitness - - Fast Track | Sprint Tips -


For me, set­ting goals is mas­sively im­por­tant. I won’t start a year without set goals. I have both long-term and short-term goals. At the start of the sea­son I sit down with my coach and we plan where I want to be at dif­fer­ent times of the year. We’ll then go through short-term goals for that week, and we’ll re­view things reg­u­larly as well to check if I’ve achieved them. If I didn’t, we set a new goal and ask how I’m go­ing to im­prove. Train­ing for fun is great but if you’re ac­tu­ally train­ing for some­thing, such as los­ing weight or a marathon, hav­ing goals keeps you on track.

When I first came into the sport, I didn’t re­ally un­der­stand goal-set­ting - I just wanted to race and en­joy it. But as I’ve got older and more aware of my body, I know I need to be work­ing to­wards some­thing. I’m not just here for fun. At first it was just “I want to run this fast at this cham­pi­onships”. Now my goals are a lot more spe­cific and wide-rang­ing, and they’re to do with diet, gym train­ing and psy­chol­ogy. It can be an­noy­ing to have to sit down and re­view ev­ery­thing but it’s so im­por­tant.

My main goal for this year is to win the world cham­pi­onships in Lon­don. I want to run to my full po­ten­tial, I know what times I want to be hit­ting, and I want the Euro­pean records in both the 100m and 200m.


Strength is cru­cial for sprint­ing. This year I’ve fo­cused a lot more on my gym work - ply­o­met­ric and core ex­er­cises. It’s also im­por­tant to de­velop power. The more pow­er­ful and strong you are, the more force you can put through the floor and the faster you can run. But for sprint­ing, size isn’t al­ways help­ful – mus­cle is dense and you have to carry it while you run. I know how big I need to be and what my tar­gets are for strength.

I lift three times a week, work­ing mostly on ex­plo­sive power rather than high reps. I do low reps with heavy weights. I do some squat­ting, power cleans, snatches and bench press [see right for Gemili’s ad­vice on get­ting the most out of these moves]. I also do a lot of smaller ex­er­cises to tar­get spe­cific ar­eas of my body such as my glutes and core, us­ing kit such as medicine balls and gym balls.

I have my gym ses­sions on my phone and I know ex­actly what I’m do­ing and what weights I want to be hit­ting. And then there’s the men­tal prepa­ra­tion. I make sure I’m men­tally ready for ev­ery train­ing ses­sion. I en­joy it as well – par­tic­u­larly when the whole group is in there and you’re lift­ing with other peo­ple. But some­times, if I’ve got a re­ally heavy lift, I’ll just put my head­phones in and con­cen­trate on what I’m do­ing.


The big­gest thing for speed is tech­nique, which means be­ing ef­fi­cient when you sprint. When I see peo­ple run­ning I can be a bit crit­i­cal when I no­tice how in­ef­fi­cient they are - the up­per body is swing­ing, the arms are go­ing side­ways.

Make sure you bring your knees up high and don’t let your heels flick out be­hind you. If you land with your foot in front of you then you have to use your strength to pull your­self for­wards, but if your foot lands un­der your body or be­hind you, you’re gen­er­at­ing more for­ward force. Swing your arms up to eye level - with el­bows bent at 90° - be­cause that’s where your power comes from.

You also need to work on your speed en­durance. You can only main­tain your top speed for about ten me­tres. Win­ning is about who­ever is de­cel­er­at­ing the slow­est, so it’s vi­tal that when you do get tired you don’t drop your head to the side or get in­ef­fi­cient.

If you want to get faster, try this speed en­durance ses­sion. Once you’ve warmed up, do 300m, 250m, 200m, 150m and then five or six ef­forts of 100m. Push your­self to a de­cent pace but don’t go mas­sively fast or flat-out, and give your­self five min­utes’ re­cov­ery be­tween runs. You’ll feel it but it’s a good hurt, if that makes sense.


You can be in the shape of your life but if you’re not ready men­tally, you won’t run to the best of your abil­ity. Try think­ing that it’s the same thing you do in train­ing. It’s your track, your lane – just be­cause there’s a crowd there doesn’t mean you should do any­thing dif­fer­ent. Some peo­ple strug­gle to take their train­ing per­for­mance into com­pe­ti­tion be­cause they lose fo­cus or they get scared. Nerves are OK but if you let them dom­i­nate, you’ve lost.

I never trained as hard play­ing foot­ball as I have in ath­let­ics. Ath­let­ics is a killer. You train so hard that the com­pe­ti­tion is the easy part and you get to show ev­ery­one how fast you can run. The crowd are cheer­ing for you and it’s en­joy­able. The hap­pier I am the more re­laxed I am and the more re­laxed I am the more fluid I move so that mind­set helps me to run.

If you’re in a high pres­sure sit­u­a­tion and you feel that nerves are get­ting to you, go back to your ex­e­cu­tion. Close your eyes and think about how you’re go­ing to ex­e­cute it. If you’re sprint­ing, feel the movements in your head. Think about the process rather than the out­come. Adam Gemili is an am­bas­sador for Muller, which sup­ports Bri­tish Ath­let­ics. Visit mullerath­let­ics2017.com to win tick­ets to this sum­mer’s ath­letic events and mer­chan­dise

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