British 3000m steeplechase champion Lennie Waite was in the form of her life this year. Here she tells AW the secrets of her success
My coach Steve Sisson gives me a good balance of endurance, hurdle and speed work. I train with Rogue Athletics Club, a post-collegiate training group based from a retail store in Austin, Texas. The group is supported by Adidas and we have approximately a dozen runners in the team. I have a couple of great training partners who have consistently run in the 9:50s to push me in the steeplechase.
Training with a team has really helped me to enjoy running again. We run from the Rogue Running store which is right next to Lady Bird Lake and the track, and has a good space for us to do ancillary work and barefoot drills. We train from 7am-9am, so I have the rest of the day free to work.
I was in the form of my life so missing out on selection for the World Championships this year was heartbreaking, especially when my appeal was overlooked. I set PBs over 3000m steeplechase and 1500m this year and I am the British champion, so I felt I deserved to go. I will never understand how this decision was reached other than the fact that experts felt it was best that I not race.
I am Scottish, but I grew up in the US. I loved running in the NCAA system for Rice University. The collegiate system is very structured. The team met six days a week for training and the coach was there every single day. I loved the set-up and it made running effortless because it felt like I was just hanging out with my best friends.
I found it quite hard to adapt to the athletics set-up in the UK. There isn’t a system for runners at my level that plans and organises everything for you like the NCAA. In the UK, there is much more burden on the individual to be accountable for training, planning races, buying shoes, and organizing physio and massage than there is in the US. In the UK I had to learn very quickly about the importance of taking ownership of my training.
Hearing the roar in the stadium at the Commonwealth Games last year was an experience that I will never forget. I am so glad I was able to compete at a Commonwealth Games on home soil.
I lock into the pace of my training partners when it’s tempo time. It is my least favourite type of training and they are masters at it, so I just put my head down. I love speedier sessions on the track, like 5×600 at 1500 pace.
A buckwheat waffle with almond butter and raspberry jam is my staple pre-run meal. I often have eggs and avocado on gluten-free toast after a session.
I have a PhD in psychology and have set up a business as a sport performance specialist. My aim is to empower my clients with mental tools that they can use in their sporting goals to help them succeed and reach their full potential.
It’s good to have a break from running. I got married on September 26 and am enjoying spending time with my new husband, Matt.
I always try to keep an eye on the bigger picture. There are so many ups and downs in athletics. I have continued to improve, and I have stayed healthy and able to compete at a high level since 2009. I’m proud of my international vests, but equally fulfilled by the travelling I have done through sport and all of the friends that I have made. It’s not just about performances on the track.
TYPICAL WEEK’S TRAINING
Monday: AM 8 miles and ancillary work (this usually consists of a mixture of core exercises on the Swiss ball, planks, squats, box jumps, lunges, a series of light arm weights, calf raises) PM 4 miles
Tuesday: AM Session 2x10x200m In/Out alternating 35sec/55sec
Wednesday: Medium long run of 12 miles. Hurdle drills
Thursday: AM 6 miles easy and 4-6x 100m hill efforts (walk down recovery) and ancillary work PM 4 miles easy
Friday: AM Session 4x2km reps at 10km pace and 10-12 sec (90 sec rest) PM 4 miles easy
Saturday: Long run 16 miles
Sunday: 6-8 miles easy
» The above sessions are specific to the individual athlete and may not be suitable for other athletes