World 800m bronze medallist reveals her training
Trevor Painter, Jenny Meadows’ husband and coach, says that Meadows has always been a natural athlete and her talent has always been evident. She joined her local club, Wigan Harriers, at the age of seven, shortly before the late Wilf Paish visited Wigan Harriers and identified her potential ahead of hundreds of others.
The session they were doing was standing long and triple jump and he was impressed by her co-ordination, speed and explosiveness. She could also hurdle, sprint and run middle distance.
Her favourite session is on the track doing lactic work such as 6x300m, although Painter does not allow her the luxury of doing the type of sessions she is naturally good at very often. Coming from a speed background, she also feels good when doing work in the gym and has a very good power-to-weight ratio. She has continued to work on this area even while moving up through events.
The same is true of technique drill work and, although she has naturally good running mechanics, she still finds time to fit in specific drill sessions. Fast, explosive activity is where she feels comfortable, although she has also had to do many more endurance-type sessions over the last few years.
Her least favourite session involves any kind of hill repetitions and even though she has the fastest PBs of all the athletes in her training group she won’t usually be seen at the front in these. Painter says: “She is a natural track runner and her mechanics are better suited to the track. She just seems to thrive off running on the track in spikes. Put her on any other surface – road, grass or trail – and she is not the same athlete, although she understands she still has to do this work and she always gives it her best.”
She has gradually improved her endurance over the years but never seems to get a chance to race in a competitive 1500m in order to get a more realistic personal best. At the beginning of the athlete-coach pairing, Meadows and Painter would discuss many aspects of training, but Painter has since developed an innate sense of how she will react to training and can pre-empt how to move things on or when to ease her back.
In 2011 she will be targeting the European Indoor Championships and will be hoping to challenge Mariya Savinova of Russia after running her to within 0.17 seconds in the chase for world indoor gold this year. Painter says: “She loves to compete indoors as she is an athlete who holds her shape and fitness throughout the year and could run sub-2:00 during most months of the year.”
Later in the summer she will aim for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu in the hope of replicating her podium finish in the Berlin 2009 Championships.
However, the focus is on 2012. Meadows says: “The Olympics in 2012 will be an amazing opportunity and hopefully if I can win a medal at the European indoors in Paris 2011, then only an Olympic medal will be missing from my collection and London would be the perfect venue to complete the set.”
(am) Long, relaxed run (up to 60 minutes).
(pm) Strength-based gym session including Olympic lifts and core work.
(am) 30 minutes easy run.
(pm) Circuit conditioning session. A typical session would include four arm exercises, four leg exercises and four core exercises, each lasting 30 seconds and would include three sets.
(am) 30 minutes easy run.
(pm) Lighter gym session than Monday. Focusing on balancing whole-body conditioning and largely directed by the physio.
(am) 30 minutes cardiovascular (either running, cross-trainer or bike).
(pm) Track session: 10x400m at 1500m pace with 90 seconds recovery.
Hill session: varying times and reps dependent on surface and gradient (for example, three sets of 3×45 seconds on trails on a 15 per cent gradient).
Running drills and sand pit-intrinsic work to strengthen the tendons. This would be followed by a run including a tempo element (15 minutes easy, 15 minutes at tempo pace, 15 minutes easy).