Jonathan Taylor’s surprise win at the McCain European Cross trial race was no surprise to him – we look at how he trains
Jonathan Taylor may have improved by seven seconds in the 3000m steeplechase to 8:38 last summer, but his major breakthrough came with his victory in the McCain Cross Challenge and European Trials in Liverpool in late November.
Then, last month, he confirmed his elevation in form with an excellent 11th place at the European Cross in Budapest.
Taylor says: “My training reflects the philosophy of my coach, Gordon Surtees, which is one of quality over quantity, and this has progressed significantly in terms of volume over the last four to five years. He has always looked at long-term development for me, which meant performing well as a senior.”
When Taylor was younger his training focused on developing speed and in particular looking at trying to improve his running action. He explains: “At times it was frustrating as my endurance often seemed to let me down.”
However, more recently his endurance has become one of his main strengths. With this in mind most of his running is done at a relatively quick pace at around 6:00 per mile. Surtees has guided many successful athletes from 1:44 800m runners to 2:11 marathoners.
Taylor maintains that much of his training is derived from tried-and-tested methods with many successful athletes including steeplechasers Tom Hanlon, Dennis Coates and Colin Walker, to name but a few. However, the work that he does is specifically tailored to meet his needs.
He says: “Most of my training is done alone, though I train with the other two members of my group (Richard and Adam Morrell) usually about two to three times per week.”
This year specifically he has incorporated more strength work into his programme, which is prescribed by Stephen Payton (Paralympic medallist at 400m) at Teesside University. Taylor works full-time at the university as a research assistant in the sport and exercise department and spent four years there as a student prior to this.
The university is very supportive of his running, providing him access to sports therapy when necessary and state-of-the-art strength and conditioning training facilities and sport science support.
In terms of his ambitions, he would like in the short-term to step up to the next level and start competing at international level more regularly and he added: “I want to start performing at the level of the previous steeplechasers my coach has guided and run in the low 8:20s or quicker and reach major championships and be competitive.”
am: 40-50min easy/steady run
pm: Gym session: short circuit focusing mainly on developing overall body strength, low numbers of reps, higher weight
am: 35min easy run
pm: Interval session on the roads: “I live across the road from a fairly big park – my interval sessions consist of running reps of sections or full laps of the park, which is roughly 2 miles.” A typical session would be 4x2km reps with 4min interval (remainder of lap jog back to start)
pm: Long run of 70-80min incorporating tempo efforts
am: 40-50min easy run
pm: Gym session: longer circuit session focusing on muscular endurance
am: 40min easy run
pm: 35min easy run or rest
am: Interval session: either on the track with reps ranging from 400m up to 2000m. Typical session: 2x4x1000m (200m jog rec/800m jog sets). Sometimes a road session is done on a loop of around 1700-1800m: 1 lap, 2 lap, 1 lap (3min rec)
pm: 30min easy recovery run
am: 90min long run – this is generally done on an off -road, hilly route
pm: Rest plus some stretching
Stretching is done after most of the harder sessions
» The above sessions are specific to the individual athlete and may not be suitable for other athletes. Jonathan Taylor was interviewed by David Lowes.