Feeling inspired as we enter Olympic and Paralympic year? Some of Britain’s top athletes share their advice for readers wanting to further their athletics careers or push on in their training

European and Commonwealth 1500m medallist Laura Weightman
For anyone who wants to improve, set a goal and have something to aim towards. Having an aim will make you work hard to achieve that.

Multiple British race walk record-holder Tom Bosworth
Inspire yourself, use little rewards and targets to make it easy to hit those new year fitness goals, get hooked on doing sport, or trying a new sport often if you get bored of one thing.

World T37 400m record-holder and gold medallist Georgie Hermitage
Be confident and have faith in your own ability because if you can do that then you’re already half way there.

British 100m and 200m record-holder Dina Asher-Smith
I would say to be persistent and patient! Don’t expect to see goals overnight, as with athletics (and most things in life I guess) it’s all a work in progress. Consistently work hard and don’t give up.

2010 European 10,000m silver medallist Chris Thompson
Set mini goals to build towards. In achieving them you never know where it may take you. Whether you set yourself the goal to run non-stop for 15 minutes or run a 5km park run, once you see yourself achieve these mini goals, the enjoyment in doing so will inspire you to try bigger things and you never where this might lead you to next. Always keep your goal to be happy while doing this!

Paralympic, world and European champion and multiple world record-holder Hannah Cockroft
Set personal goals, but break them down so they are manageable. There is no better feeling than achieving something you have been working towards, whether it be a new PB or mastering a new exercise. It’s great self motivation as you can monitor the difference the work you are putting in is making.

“Be confident and have faith in your own ability because if you can do that then you’re already half way there” – Georgie Hermitage

Paralympic and world champion and world record-holder Richard Whitehead
One piece of advice would be that whether you are running your first 5km/parkrun or heading to the Paralympics, preparation is the key to success. Try and be as prepared as you can.

British long jump record-holder and world silver medallist Shara Proctor
If you have a goal make sure you do all you can to achieve that goal. Quitting should never be an option.

British outdoor high jump record-holder Isobel Pooley
I’ve been doing some yoga recently and the latest class focused on gratitude. I know that as athletes we are always pushing for the next level of fitness or performance (and this is essential!) but it can’t hurt to take a moment to appreciate where we are right now and allow ourselves a moment of contentment to fuel us on the next leg of the journey. Our bodies are miraculous things and instead of always focusing on where we can improve I think we need to foster a more nurturing relationship where we look after our bodies instead of always demanding from them. I believe this can help motivate us in terms of recovery, nutrition and training itself – you owe it to your body to give it rest, nourish it with healthy food and to know when to stop.

Decathlete and British indoor heptathlon record-holder John Lane
Listen to your body. If it’s aching and hurting you before training, then having a day off every now and then won’t kill your training in the long run. But that 24 hours off might just stop niggling injuries turning into bigger problems. The more you train and older you get, the more recovery is key!

British pole vault record-holder Holly Bradshaw
1) Try something new – try a different athletics event, try mixing up training methods. 2) Always make sure you’re having fun. 3) Make sure you’re looking after yourself – sleeping enough, eating well and not overdoing the training. QUALITY NOT QUANTITY.

British 5000m champion and world finalist Tom Farrell
Be patient. We all train our socks off and expect instant results, they don’t happen. Secondly, enjoy the process, we’ve all chosen this sport because we enjoy it, try not get too far away from it. I’m a firm believer that if you’re not enjoying yourself, you won’t be successful.

» If you’re looking for training tips and advice remember to check out Athletics Weekly’s dedicated performance section online here