Niall Brooks on the major changes he has made over the past winter as he targets a place at the World Champs
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages…
The 2010-2011 winter season has been a season of change for me, in all aspects of life. Firstly I made the decision to leave home and move in with training partner and good bosom buddy Tom Lancashire and his partner – my other training partner and good buddy Laura Finucane. I am occupying the loft room of Tom’s very nice pad in Stockport.
The three of us get on well, there is always some form of banter around the house, usually due to my inability to cook, wash up and various other aspects of life, leading to the comment “You don’t know you’re born yet” being banded around on many occasions.
Since being there I have been treated to a wild variety of nutritional delights, starting oﬀ with a Moroccan chicken dish which more than swam down. I still have high hopes of fitting the cellar with a hot tub and pool table, to cater for all kinds of guests.
I have also recently completed my first full year as a working man. I am employed by a local Stockport company called DPS Consultant Surveyors. I work Monday to Thursday, nine till five doing pretty much, well, everything. I love being there. The people there are actually awesome and make it enjoyable to come to work. The MD, although being a Man City fan, is very flexible and understanding that my athletics career is my main priority. I get so much support no matter what race I do. I couldn’t wish for a better working environment.
On the very last day of January I passed my driving test… at the second time of asking! Obviously I could have passed first time, but who wants to walk around with that smug first-time-passer look stamped upon thy person? Okay, I did, but still…
“I feel in the best shape of my life by a long way. I am running distances that I didn’t think I could.”
I then moved on to buying a Peugeot 206, having previously bought a – wait for it – Skoda Fabia, which although it doesn’t hold much street cred, I was told it was a very reliable vehicle. This was shown to be the case with pretty much everything that can go wrong with a car, doing so within the first few weeks of having it, but that’s another story. I soon learned about the insurance cost for a 19-year-old male too – £3000 being the cheapest quote anywhere! Not many people can believe it, and it came as an unwelcome – at best – surprise to me also.
As for my running, I have totally changed my training this year. In my last couple of years I barely got up to 40 miles a week at any point. Now I’m starting to train and do the proper stuff, rather than watered-down versions. I am finding this very beneficial and I feel in the best shape of my life by a long way. I am running distances that I didn’t think I could, consistently, and although it’s very hard work, it’s leaving me very optimistic about the summer.
The main aim for the summer is to be selected for the World Championships in Daegu in the 1500m. This will of course mean I need to knock at least three or four seconds off my PB, which I hope I can do. I really haven’t raced many 1500m races at all, so I will of course be looking to gain race experience along with the fast times.
“I don’t want to be selected and just go there for the experience, I actually would like to progress through the heats and make some form of mark.”
I don’t want to be selected and just go there for the experience, I actually would like to progress through the heats and make some form of mark, and to achieve this I know my 800m time needs to also be world class. In championships we’re seeing that last-lap speed in a 1500m race is vital, and this is something I’ll be working on in training.
In the back of my mind I hope I can achieve the qualifying marks for both the 800m (1:45.40) and 1500m (3:35.00) for Daegu. It’s a big ask but I feel if I want to achieve my goal of having a satisfying World Champs, then my 800m time really does have to be world class.
Obviously training with Michael Rimmer and Tom Lancashire, I fully expect these two to lead the rankings for the two events, but I’ll be doing my utmost to try to get as close to them as I can this year.
Over and out, folks…