The rapidly-improving runner won her first major medal this winter and wants more, as AW discovered
Seren Bundy-Davies had a relatively late introduction to athletics when starting training with her current coach, Stephen Ball, at the age of 17 after finishing fourth at the English Schools. The Trafford athlete has wasted little time though in setting out her stall, improving her 400m PB to a UK lead of 51.72 when winning the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham in February.
Having missed out on Commonwealth Games selection last year by running the qualifying time a month too late, the talented athlete represented Great Britain in the 4x400m relay at the European Team Championships in Braunschweig and made her GB individual debut at the European Indoor Championships in Prague, where she claimed a bronze medal.
Having failed to finish at the UK Indoor Championships as a result of being tripped while in the lead, Bundy-Davies showed her competitive spirit by bouncing back six days later in Birmingham with a scintillating victory and lifetime best.
She says: “I knew from the previous few weeks that I was in great shape – I just had to replicate how I’d been running in previous races. Mentally I knew it was important to show I hadn’t been affected too much from the fall in Sheffield. I think it’s important to be both optimistic and realistic before races and I was very pleased to show I could perform under pressure.”
Bundy-Davies trains at the track at Stretford on Tuesdays and Thursdays and also on a Sunday from the spring onwards, depending on how training has progressed. On Wednesdays she trains indoors at Sport City in Manchester, while on Mondays and Fridays she uses the Sugden Gym in the centre of the city. This is all fitted around studying for a biomedical science degree at Manchester University.
She explains: “You always have to have a positive attitude to training. I find it’s important to be positive and always wanting to be improving session after session – if you’ve had a bad day, it’s sometimes not worth looking into it more than that. It’s important to accept you will have those days and that you’re only human.”
On her favourite and least favourite sessions
“It’s hard to say what my most and least favourite training sessions are. There are always good and bad parts to any session. I love doing shorter speed and weights sessions as I know it’s an area for improvement, but at the same time there is nothing more satisfying than finishing a really tough session. Hill sprints are always mentally tough, as well as the longer sessions. It all depends how I feel on the day as to what my favourite and least favourite sessions are.”
“I try to keep it light before training and especially before the big sessions. I probably eat two hours before training and then as soon as I can afterwards. I just have porridge or eggs beforehand if it’s a morning session. Afterwards, I try and eat high protein meals.”
“I don’t listen to music much at training, unless it’s on a longer or warm-up run. I like to talk too much! I like to save music for competition warm-up times. I like to focus on my sessions without music, apart from in the gym. It’s hard to say what I think about while training, I’m just very focused on the session, and constantly wanting to improve.”
On her training group
“There is always a good atmosphere at training and always someone to push me during sessions. The team I have in place also includes physios from the clinic Athlete Matters. I usually see Duncan Mason or Chris Bramah and they have been great in helping me maintain my fitness and ensuring I’m at my best when I need to be. Along with Steve, my coach, and Nick Jones, my strength and conditioning coach, I have a great team around me. I’m also supported by the Futures scheme (British Athletics) and by the University of Manchester Sport scholarship scheme MSS.”
On her goals
“My main summer targets are to get a medal at the European Under-23 Championships over 400m. My other aim is to make the World Champs 4x400m relay team.”
WINTER TRAINING OUTLINE
Monday: Strength and conditioning with Nick Jones (usually a heavier weights session). Weights are a relatively new part of my programme as I only started weight training in September 2014. The programme changes fairly regularly, but exercises could include: eccentric squat, Romanian deadlifts, squat clean, push press, dumbbell bridge press.
Tuesday: (pm) Tempo/rhythm runs. For example: 8x200m off 2min, ideally average 28/29sec
Wednesday: (am) Shorter speed session such as: 2 sets of 3x60m off a walk-back recovery and approximately 8min between sets. (pm) Core session – I improvise with this aspect as it’s often at the end of a weights session, but sometimes I include circuits such as: 30sec mountain climbers, 30sec plank, 30sec ‘bicycle crunch’ – repeated until failure!
Thursday: (pm) Specific lactic/speed endurance session. For example: 3x350m off 6min recovery (depends on time of year, but 47sec average).
Friday: (pm) Strength and conditioning but with lighter/faster weights. More medicine ball and bodyweight exercises also.
Saturday: Usually a rest day. Closer to races we could do a specific 400m session/split 400m session to see where I’m at and then Sunday becomes a rest day. Before the Glasgow international match in January I ran a 300m/100m off 1 minute.
Sunday: Short hill sprint session. The hills increase in distance but the longest isn’t over 60sec. A typical session might include reps of 16sec and then it goes to 32, 45, 50sec approximately. (Sunday sessions are very different according to what time of year it is. We have three main venues which are completely different from one another. One of our toughest is at Alderley Edge).
» The above sessions are specific to the individual athlete and may not be suitable for other athletes