Sprint hurdler David King ran sub-7.70 and moved to 13th on the UK all-time list for 60m hurdles indoors
The memory I most cherish in athletics is when I won my first national title in 2013. I went on to represent Great Britain for the first time at the European Junior Championships in Rieti.
It was a blessing in disguise that I had to pull out of the semi-finals due to injury on that GB debut in Rieti. At the time I was devastated but, on reflection, I came back even stronger than before. I continued to progress more and more each year and that has allowed me to take athletics seriously and consider it as my main occupation.
It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important in a year like 2016, which is huge for athletics. There are so many competitions to qualify for and so many chances to perform on the big stage. However, once you start thinking about times and qualification, you can get sidetracked. Doing one entails the other, so my target this year really is to execute what I have been practicing so well in training.
I am a very strange person to handle on race day. I get nervous and don’t like to talk about certain things. I like everything and everyone around me to be positive – my parents and girlfriend are only just beginning to work out how best to handle me and I hugely appreciate their efforts.
There is just something so exciting about being able to show to the world what you are capable of. Therefore, I simply try and focus on practicing over and over in training so I can do that one day.
I always have a contrast shower (hot-cold) on the morning of a race. I don’t know if it’s scientifically proven to do anything positive, but it makes my body feel so great and reminds me that it’s not just any other training session, it’s race day.
I train with James Hillier at Bath. We have a relatively young training group featuring some of the best juniors in the UK over the sprints and the hurdles. It has been great to progress through the ranks with these guys and bounce off each other in training – even when we are crashed out on the track after a horrific 250m session.
Elite level athletics is a sport that takes no prisoners. If you do not do the training it is highly unlikely that you will be successful. For this reason, in the four years that I have now been training in Bath I have seen many come and go from the sport.
My main training partner at the moment is a Hungarian international, Valdo. He is one of the hardest working athletes that I know and is constantly persuading me to do an extra set or rep.
I do my best to stop Andy Pozzi from running away from me in training. He is coached by Malcolm Arnold and we often train with him. He is such a talent.
It’s very rewarding to be self-sufficient. Since graduating from the University of Bath in 2015, I now train full-time, with the support of the British Athletics Futures Programme. But, in order to live comfortably I have launched my own business in Plymouth. In November 2015, a friend and I launched PlymFit, where we provide high quality fitness classes in Plymouth based on the practices of elite athletes and the latest research in sport science. We include loads of exercises from my own training in a mission to get the people of Plymouth fit. It has been challenging but really enjoyable.
The UK’s hurdling scene is going through a real purple patch. As far as I know there has never been a year when four hurdlers have gone quicker than 7.70 over 60m hurdles (Pozzi, Lawrence Clarke, me and David Omoregie). That’s in the absence of Will Sharman, who is another world-class hurdler.
Hurdlers are a friendly bunch. It’s an event where all the athletes like to help each other – this is great as we are able to use each other to run faster. Of course there are rivalries, but they are mature rivalries. We have respect for one another which is a wonderful thing.
TYPICAL WEEK’S TRAINING FOR DAVID KING FROM DECEMBER 2015 – PRE-INDOORS PHASE
Friday AM: Focus = Intensive Tempo. Resistance training – Including single leg squat, sumo deadlift and dumbbell bench press. Medicine ball ab conditioning exercises.
Friday PM: Sprint drills. 12x90m straight leg bounds – intense hamstring conditioning. Hamstring conditioning exercises.
Saturday AM: Focus = Endurance. Hurdle bounding exercises. Plyometric jump circuit. 4x45sec on/off on grass. 3x3x15sec hills sprints with short recovery. Hurdle walkovers.
Monday AM: Focus = Power and Acceleration. Acceleration drills – such as single leg hopping, bunny hops and bounding. Glute activation exercises – such as side lying leg raises and donkey kicks. Technical block start work. Resistance acceleration sprints complexed with block starts over 2 hurdles. Plyometric jump circuit. Medicine ball throws. Hurdle walkovers.
Tuesday AM: Focus = Lactic Capacity. Sprint drills – movements that practice correct sprinting positions. Technical cone sprints at 1.8m apart – mimic quick feet between the hurdles. 2x250m. 1x200m.
Tuesday PM: 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: Resistance training complexed with plyometric exercises. Including 90 degree squat, deadlift, single leg press. Hamstring conditioning exercises – such as Nordics.
Wednesday AM: Focus = Specific Conditioning and Recovery. Core conditioning session. Upper body weights. Glute activation exercises. Foot conditioning exercises – usually in the sand. Ab circuit.
Thursday AM: Focus = Speed Endurance / Acceleration. Sprint drills. Glute activation exercises. Hurdle drills. 4×5 hurdles. 1×10 hurdles. Bounding exercises for acceleration. Hurdle walkovers.
Thursday PM: Treatment and recovery exercises.
» The above sessions are specific to the individual athlete and may not be suitable for other athletes