UK 800m champion has started to tweak his technique following advice from Alberto Salazar

Michael Rimmer described his 800m victory at last weekend’s Sainsbury’s British Championships as his proudest title so far after he bounced back from qualifying for the final as a fastest loser to pip pre-race favourite Andrew Osagie and Mukhtar Mohammed.

With six national titles already under his belt, the 28-year-old wasn’t going to give up on claiming his seventh without a fight, though did later admit that after finishing second in his heat behind 1:48 man James Bowness to scrape a spot in the final he had considered pulling out.

He explained how this title, secured as he crossed the line in 1:48.00 ahead of Mohammed with 1:48.20 and Osagie with 1:48.37, meant more to him than any of his previous six.

“Particularly after yesterday,” he said of his heat. “I’ve never felt that bad in a race. To get beaten in a race and die so badly, I didn’t know what was happening. I just felt so flat.”

Rimmer went on to add what he thought could have made the difference between the heat and the final. He explained he had been trying to change his running style on the advice of Alberto Salazar, who had watched him running while he was training in Portland for two weeks earlier this year – in much the same way the renowned coach amended Mo Farah’s style.

Rimmer said the new technique saw him improve from doing 300m reps in 39 seconds to 36 seconds over the course of a session. “I can’t believe the changes that were happening in training, but training and racing are completely different and it’s almost tiring me out for races,” he said. “It’s quite exciting. I’m running so much quicker in training.”

He said part of the problem was kicking his legs back too highly behind him and that he was working to become used to a more efficient style. However, he added: “In the heat I was doing the new technique, but I just wasn’t strong enough. It wasn’t the time to do that so I thought I’d go back to my old style of running and hope it brings me through. It (the new technique) is more economical, but I’m not strong enough to hold it. I need more time. But for now I think I’ll leave it.

“It takes time,” he continued. “Doing it in the middle of a season is dangerous.”

Rimmer, who claimed his first UK 800m title in 2006, has frequently shown promise since finishing fourth in the IAAF World Youth Championships in 2003. However, a combination of illness and injuries has led to him regularly underperforming at major international championships, though he claimed silver at the European Championships in 2010.

He hopes to change all that at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships this summer, although the Glasgow 2014 selectee is yet to gain the qualifier of 1:46:50 for Zurich.

» This is an extract from a feature published as part of 18 pages of British Championships coverage in the July 3 issue of AW, which is available here or digitally here