High jump talent Allan Smith hopes to build on his UK rankings lead from 2015 and make the team for the Rio Olympics, writes Ruth Jones
Setting a personal best above the Olympic qualifier is a dream. Looking ahead, I am seeking qualification for the Olympics and the European Championships. I have to jump 2.29m twice in the summer to make the Olympic team.
I started in the under-11 age group, competing in the majority of track and field events, including triple jump and discus. (Smith was ranked third under-13 in the shot put as well as the long jump in 2005.) I was training as a thrower as an under-15 until I realised I was never going to be strong enough for the event. I stopped training for the throws when I changed coach and training venue (from Shaftesbury to Edinburgh) and focused on the jumps. But I recorded PBs of 34.18m and 13.55m for the discus and triple jump respectively before I made the switch.
Physically, I was a late developer. My strength only started to arrive when I reached 17. The transition from my body putting all its time and effort into me growing tall (6ft 5in) then went into putting some muscle together. I really started to improve.
Without a shadow of a doubt the worst training session is circuits. My favourite is always high jumping, although there are times when it doesn’t go well and it is less enjoyable.
I get on with my coach, Bryan Roy, very well. I have been under his watchful eye for many years now. There are times of tough love thrown in with some Scottish humour. We have the same views of being realistic with the goals of what we want to achieve.
Gaining my first senior GB vest was something I had wanted for a number of years. It is always a great feeling to be picked to represent your country. Every athlete must get as excited as I was when the massive box of kit arrives at your door.
Your mindset is a hugely important factor of competing. I spend time psyching myself up, having the positive belief that I can conquer anything. In the seconds before I start my run-up, I zone out of my surroundings to the point where all I can see is the high jump bar, with the noise of the crowd at the back of me.
Proper fuel for training and competition is really important. I try to eat an hour and a half before I train. This allows my food to settle and supplies me with the energy I need for the session ahead. My preferred dishes are Italian, such as spaghetti bolognese, lasagne and the occasional pizza. But I’m no saint. I love baked food. I would choose a cake or biscuits before a piece of chocolate any day of the week, washed down with a milkshake, of course.
TYPICAL WEEK’S TRAINING FOR ALLAN SMITH
Friday AM: High jump drills in a straight line over 20-30m. One set of: ankle rolls, heel pick up, medium knees, SLS, SLL, claw backs, walking high knees, left over right, right over left, side open up, side open down. Sprints – 4x60m reps at 90%
Friday PM: Weights, 5 reps x 5 sets of exercises including the overhead squat, power clean, single leg squat). Finish with core exercises.
Sunday AM: High jump technical session
Monday AM: Standing 5 strides and 8 jumps total (excluding warm up), run at 90% effort for 6x40m, bound circuit, with 4×3 reps including the following: stiff leg calf jumps, forward lunge, squat jumps (hands on hips), reverse lunge, Swedish jumps, lunge into knee drive, tuck jumps, side lunge and bunny hops).
Monday PM: Weights. 5 x (5 of exercises including the following: step up, hang clean, full squat, straight leg dead lift). Finish with a selection of core exercises for 10 minutes.
Tuesday AM: 3 sets of hurdle walkovers with 6 hurdles; 2x (1 repetition over 20m of exercises including the following: ankle rolls, high-toe walks, moving glute stretch, moving hamstring, high-knee walks, moving hip swings, side stepping, backward walks, high-knee hugs.
Tuesday PM: High jump drills in a straight line over 20-30m, including: ankle rolls, heel pick up, medium knees, straight legs short (SLS), straight legs long (SLL), claw backs, walking high knees, left over right, right over left, side open up, side open down
Thursday AM: Stretching and self-release massage with foam roller
Thursday PM: High jump technical rhythm. Circuits – 3x (2 repetitions of the following: lunges (forward then back) alternate legs, crunches (knees to chest/ leg extension), back extension (hold for 5), reverse crunches, mountain climbers, sit-ups, Superman 8 and Russian twists)
» The above sessions are specific to the individual athlete and may not be suitable for other athletes