Andy is set up for busy spell
Double Olympian bidding for a treble success
Andy Butchart will bid for triple major championship glory this summer.
The double Olympic finalist will compete in the World Championships, the Commonwealth Games, and the European Championships, all within a span of five weeksr and has been tuning up for his title tilts at a high-altitude training camp in the French Pyrenees at Font-romeu.
Despite suffering a slight injury scare the Stirling running star says his main problem is making the best tactical choice about which event to pick between his usual 5000 metre distance or electing to go with the longer 10k span at which he achieved a Scottish record on his debut earlier this year in the USA.
The Dunblane star has also elected to keep his racing calendar clear until the major moments later in the summer and has no worries that he could be under-cooked when it comes to finding the big kick around the final bend at the Worlds, European and Commonwealth Games championships which
will start with the former in Eugene, Oregon in mid-july.
The Scottish 3000, 5000 and 10000 metre record holder said: “I am very happy with where I am. It could have been a little better a couple of weeks back but I’m putting in good preparation, good mileage and the lucky thing is the Worlds and Brits aren’t tomorrow so I still have time to put the detail in and make these small improvements.
“Although there are a lot of competitions going on out there with plenty of events it is not the end of the world that I am not out there racing, I am comfortable doing a training camp and not having raced but still confident I will be able to run a very strong race.
“I don’t need five races to get to my best and I am usually pretty good off the gun. So I am playing it tactically this year and I will be ready to go when it matters most and believe I can produce my best.”
He added: “I raced a 10k in America in March to get a feel for the event and the whole reason I raced it was that with the three major championships being so close all within a few weeks then to run a 5k at each one would become a bit monotonous and you might be a little bit jaded by the last major champs.
“So if I mix it up with a 10k in there, it may make it a bit more exciting for me and also when you try to win a medal you need to look at the competition and work out where the best opportunity is going to come to achieve that.
“Is it the Commonwealth Games in the 5k or 10k or the same question when it comes to the Europeans and Worlds? You have to think strategically in this regard.”
Although Butchart is happy with his progress it has not all been plain sailing.
“I had a bone bruise in my shin but I caught it early and it didn’t hinder my training too much. I was able to cross train pretty hard and I swapped my running shoes for a pair of swimming goggles but I am glad to have the spikes back on!
“I will probably do the British Championships in three weeks but I had that slight injury in April and so having to push fitness fairly quickly so that I am ready for the World Champs when they come around.
“At the start of March I ran my first track 10k and although it wasn’t a great finishing position I broke the Scottish record and it was a very good debut at that distance and very positive going forward and my fitness has been good from the start of the year until I picked up the niggle.”
When it came to the benefits of his high-altitude training camp, the double Olympian had no doubt about the value of his presence in the Pyrenees.”
He went on:“i am based in a place called Font-romeu which is about two hours north of Barcelona and I am primarily here because it is an altitude camp.
“The easiest way to explain training at altitude is that there is less oxygen in the air so your body has to work that bit harder and that means when you go back down to sea level then it feels like you have all the oxygen in the world and your body can perform at a much higher level.
“I will be here for four weeks initially but it’s likely I will be here all summer. Usually I spend around eight to 10 weeks here and fly in and out of competitions.
“The Worlds at Eugene in Oregon is the first major championships of the summer and that is mid to end of July and the clock is ticking in that regard but before that it is always good to compete against the best in the UK at the British Championships.”
I am playing it tacticallythis year and I will be ready to go when it matters most and believe I can produce my best