Hurdling star makes strides in his quest for athletics excellence
Since moving to Bath University last autumn to study and train with coach Malcolm Arnold, Jack Green has transformed from a young athlete with potential to one of the favourites for the European under-23 400m hurdles title this summer. Last year marked a big breakthrough for the 19-year-old, when he finished fifth at the IAAF World Junior Championships, with his 50.49 placing him third on the UK junior all-time list. This year he has improved his PB to 49.06, a World Championships ‘A’ qualifier and a time that currently ranks him first in his age group in Europe and equal second with Nathan Woodward to Dai Greene in the UK rankings.
He credits his training set-up and Arnold for much of his improvement and says: “Malcolm has brought me on in incredible amounts, both in terms of my running and my strength. Training with Dai is good, as we push each other and I also learn a lot from him.
“I am a different athlete to last year, but I hope the experience of a global junior final will stand me in good stead. Each season I am changing dramatically, not only physically, but also mentally and this can only help me reach the top.”
Sessions with short recoveries are something he feels he is strong at and he sees his lactic tolerance to be a great asset, especially in the closing stages of a race where he tends to come through strongly. He feels improving the technical aspects of his event, both in terms of hurdling and stride pattern, is an area where he can improve.
He explains: “My natural stride length is between 13 and 14 strides and I’m having to adapt to that. At the moment I do 14 strides up the back straight and I finish a race as if I haven’t put any effort into the first 200m.
“I am like a baby giraffe, as I don’t get going very well and I look like I am stumbling, but by the end of the race I am usually coming through well. I need to work on 13 strides and if I can perfect that, I will run a very quick time.”
He admits to not being a fan of long fartlek runs as he gets bored and he also dislikes 3x300m flat-out, due to the huge accumulation of lactic acid. His favourite sessions include technical hurdling training, although he adds: “Only when it goes well” – and longer track runs where his strength comes into play.
He says his targets for 2011 are: “Winning the European under-23 title and to go to the World Championships and put in a performance that I can be proud of. Making that final would be a bonus. I have got into a few lower key meetings in Europe and I have beaten experienced athletes like Isa Phillips and Danny McFarlane, which was an amazing experience. I enjoy testing myself against that calibre of athlete.”
He also believes that it is only a matter of time before he breaks the 49-second barrier. Green has never doubted his ability and glimpses of his potential were apparent in 2009, when he ran an age-17 best of 51.72 at the Loughborough International. “I believe confidence is the biggest asset in an individual sport and I’m very lucky that it’s something I’ve always had,” he says. “I want the world’s best to look at the start-list and see me as a threat. I’m not in the game to be a lane filler.”
His flat speed has improved by a full second this year to 46.91 indoors and he hopes to feature in GB relay teams in the near future. He says: “Relays are the most exciting events in athletics and I showed my potential by anchoring the team at the World Juniors last year and running sub-46. If I can prove myself again at the European under23s, I hope to get a slot for the Worlds. Give me someone to chase and it brings out the best in me.”
Track Session: 5x200m (First two in 23 seconds, next two in 22 seconds, last one at 100 per cent). 10 minutes rest between runs and 15 minutes rest before last run because of the 100 per cent effort
Weights and Circuit Session: 3×6 at 75 per cent of 1 rep max for Powerclean, Bench Press and Half Squat. Followed by a hip flexor circuit (with exercises such as Lunges and Squats)
Track Session: 300m in 34/35 seconds with 30 seconds recovery then 100m at the same pace x 3
Weights and Circuit Session: 3×4 at 80 per cent of 1 rep max for Powerclean, Snatch and Full Squat followed by an abdominal circuit
Track Session: Long hurdles. Run to hurdle 1, 2 and 3 followed by two runs to hurdle 10 at race pace.
Track Session: Blocks on the bend, flying 30m. 30 minutes fartlek (1 minute on, 1 minute off) followed by an abdominal circuit and a general circuit (with exercises such as press ups and burpees).