The European indoor 800m medallist is reaping the rewards of being a full-time athlete and here he tells Katy Barden about his training schedule
Jamie Webb started 2020 as a full-time athlete – quite a transition from the full-time chemistry teacher he was 12 months ago – and he’s already reaping the benefits in training.
“Recovery is underrated,” says the 2019 European Indoor Championships 800m silver medallist. “It makes such a big difference.
“When I was working, it was a case of getting up early in the morning, eating, teaching all day, then training, then sleeping. It was a continuous cycle.
“Now I’ve got more time to play with, more time to tweak things; it sounds lazy, but things like being able to have a little afternoon nap and get ready for my evening session. My body definitely recovers better.”
AW: Which sessions are crucial now that form solid foundations for the summer?
“Everyone is so different over 800m and there are so many different angles to attack it from,” says Webb, who runs up to 80 miles per week at this time of year.
“The key for me is learning about myself as an athlete. I know that I need a big endurance block then to put the speed on top of that.
“I need endurance before I can run fast. For me, it’s a case of training from a 5km/10km perspective throughout the winter and getting a really good aerobic base. If I don’t have the base then there’s really not much point in me doing the specifics on top.”
AW: Favourite session at this time of year?
“I hate the January block … you come off a big endurance base and think you’re really fit, then you go into a 1500m session and feel like you’re falling to pieces!
“6x500m off 2min is quite a nice session. 3km worth volume but close to 1500m pace.”
AW: Least favourite?
“Something like 3x800m off 3-4min. It’s just not me. Anything less than 600m I can cope with. Anything longer and it’s out of my comfort zone.”
Don’t underestimate recovery, and don’t underestimate common sense
“I feel like I know my body fairly well,” admits Webb. “People can get too caught up in the plan, for example if you’ve got a 10-mile run scheduled you think you’ve got to do ten miles, but I’ve become more mature – at least I like to think I’ve become more mature – and I try to be intelligent with what I’m doing. I tend not to drag it out; as soon as the quality drops, we drop it, and focus on being ready for the next session.”
A TYPICAL JANUARY TRAINING WEEK
As Webb moves out of winter toward summer, everything within his core training programme is aimed towards getting sharper.
MONDAY: am – easy run (3-6 miles); pm – track session at 1500m/3000m pace, for example: 3x800m (3min) – target sub-2 – 10min rest – 4x200m (200m jog recovery) in approx 24sec
TUESDAY: steady run up to 10 miles and gym (upper body & core gym)
WEDNESDAY: am – hills (longer in the winter, shorter in the summer); pm – easy run (3-6 miles)
THURSDAY: Easy run (up to 5 miles) or rest day
FRIDAY: Tempo run (continuous run – 2 miles warm-up/3-5 miles tempo/2 miles cool down, becoming shorter as move closer to summer)
SATURDAY: Gym (legs and core). Heavy in winter, lighter and faster in summer – 8 miles easy running split before/after gym session.
SUNDAY: Long run, up to 15 miles (“…depending on where my endurance is at. I tend not to drag it out – as soon as the quality drops, we drop it.”)
In addition to core training, Webb has introduced a 60-90 minutes hot yoga session once per week, and yoga from home, which he finds aids his flexibility and overall recovery.