Lynsey Sharp looks forward to resuming on-track battle with Jenny Meadows as her preparations for the outdoor season continue
Although this year’s European Indoor Championships are not in Lynsey Sharp’s game plan, she is looking forward to taking to the track in Birmingham on Saturday to put her training under new coach Terrence Mahon to the test.
Sharp’s first competitive outing of 2013 saw her record 2:05.23 over 800m at last month’s British Athletics International Match in Glasgow.
That was the European silver medallist’s first race since splitting with her long-term mentor Dave Sunderland and when speaking to AW this week, Sharp revealed her participation in these couple of indoor meets is to test the new team ahead of her main focus, the outdoor season, and ultimately the World Championships in August.
“I felt that the Euro Indoors is quite late in the season as I’m going to start racing outdoors in late April,” she explained.
“The reason I’m doing a couple of indoor meets is to work with Terrence in a competitive environment and see how we work together before the outdoors, rather than it being a new thing when the season starts.”
The 22-year-old switched her main base from Edinburgh to Loughborough in December in order to link up with American Mahon, who is also UKA endurance coach, as it offered a “perfect opportunity”.
“I’m really enjoying it,” she said. “I’ve never had a training group before so it’s great to have people to train with and people to run with, to push me on. I’m getting on really well with Terrence. He’s introduced a lot of new stuff into my programme.”
Mahon brought with him Morgan Uceny, the fastest women over 1500m in 2011, and Anna Pierce, who has run 1:58.80 for 800m and competed in the 3000m steeplechase at the Beijing Olympics.
“It’s only been a couple of months. I think we’ll see the impact more in the summer and next year,” she recognises. “It’s early doors but I’m really enjoying it and I think that’s the main thing, to be enjoying training.”
Sharp admits that she was disappointed with her time in Glasgow at the end of January, but she’s looking forward to upping the pace at Saturday’s British Athletics Grand Prix, especially as she’ll be up against the likes of fellow Brit Jenny Meadows, who returns to the track for the first time since September 2011, and Olympic bronze medallist Ekaterina Poistogova of Russia.
“I know I am in better shape than that but it wasn’t a fast race,” Sharp says, reflecting on Glasgow. “The Russian girl ran like 2:04, which is really slow for her, so I’m looking forward to this weekend. Hopefully it will be a faster race.”
On racing Meadows, she said: “It will be strange because I was injured in 2009-10 and obviously Jenny ran really well those years. I came back in 2011 and we ran against each other that year and then she was out last year so we’ve hardly raced each other.
“We’re quite different. She always runs well indoors. She’s quite small and I’m quite tall and lanky so I don’t know how it will go but it will be interesting and it’s always good to have competition like that in your own country.
“Poistikova has run 2:03 quite a few times indoors so I don’t know what shape she’s in, but I think they’re looking at putting a pacemaker in this weekend as well so that will be interesting.”
As the conversation turns from on-track to off-track and how Sharp is gelling with her new training group, food, something which the London 2012 Olympian openly admits she has a passion for, inevitably comes into the mix. We discuss a tweet she sent last week, with her dessert choice clearly a success – “Good meal with the training group! The Americans introduced me to pulled pork and I introduced them to Banoffee pie #winwin”.
But as for her training and partnership with Mahon, it seems we’ll have to wait a little longer to discover the success of that, and then, as they say, the proof really will be in the pudding.
» Lynsey Sharp is an ambassador for Alfa Romeo – official car supplier to British Athletics. Visit: www.alfaromeo.co.uk