Ahead of the IAAF World Championships, athletes share how they get ready for competition

Preparation is the key to success, or so the saying goes. Ahead of competing at the IAAF World Championships in London, some of Britain’s track and field stars share how they get ready and reveal whether they have any superstitions.

Andrew Pozzi, 110m hurdles (pictured)

“I don’t really get superstitious or anything like that. I don’t like being bound to a certain type of preparation – if for any reason you don’t get something that is very minor but you make it out to be a big deal in your head, you can feel somewhat thrown off. If I have done the training and I’ve had the races I want, as long as I’ve had that then I’m always looking forward to a championships.”

Lorraine Ugen, long jump

“The night before I compete I always like to pack my bag and have everything ready so I can sleep and relax. I don’t really have any superstitions. The only thing I do is I try to keep off my phone as much as possible.”

Danny Talbot, 200m and 4x100m

“In the past I have got very superstitious so I try to avoid that massively. I try and be as relaxed as possible. It massively helps me getting into the competition environment, I just love being there. I try and avoid going through the same routines.”

Holly Bradshaw, pole vault

“If I’ve got an evening competition, which I will have this time, I’ll get up, have breakfast then do a little activation. It’s normally 30 minutes long – I’ll do a jog and stretch, then a couple of explosive movements like a snatch or squat jumps to try and get the body firing. I’ll then just chill out, have a coffee. Then I’ll have another coffee! Coffee is big for me. I’m quite a geek, so I print out this timeline – the top half is the diary of the day and then the bottom half is cues and things for while I’m out in competition so I can remind myself of what I’m focusing on.”

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, 200m and 4x100m

“I just go with the flow – I’m an adaptive person. Suppose something happens out of your control and it throws you off your ball game completely and then you won’t know how to act or what to do? I’m not superstitious either because, once again, suppose something doesn’t go how you want it to go or you leave a certain sock behind. It shouldn’t affect your performance.”

Matthew Hudson-Smith, 400m and 4x400m

“I just wake up, train, sleep… really boring! I have to take off my chain before the race but that’s probably it, I can’t run with any jewellery or anything. I suppose the long socks (are also a superstition) but I’m working my way towards not running in them. I’ve taken my glasses off and the socks are going to be the last thing that’s going to go!”

Sophie Hitchon, hammer

“I just like to be prepared. I don’t have anything that I specifically need to do, I just like to control what you can control. Depending on if it’s in the morning or an afternoon we’ll do a bit of weightlifting before, after breakfast, but it depends on the day and what facilities you have available.”

Adam Gemili, 4x100m

“Mentally I have a warm-up which starts in the week leading up to the race, to get in the right mindset, prepare for what’s to come, prepare for all eventualities. I go through everything that could happen in a race. I work hard with a psychologist and we have developed a great step-by-step routine to help me get in my focus and get in the zone. Physically I will try and warm-up and relax as much as possible. I am normally clean shaven when I race just because I feel a little bit better. My girlfriend doesn’t really like that, she prefers me with a little bit of stubble! But that’s the only thing really. I usually have a shave so I guess that’s a superstition. It makes me feel ready to go.”

CJ Ujah, 100m and 4x100m

“I will probably have a warm-up and have a nap. That’s it really and then I’ll listen to music. I don’t really have anything special that I do. In the morning I’ll wake up and my coach will probably already have sent me a schedule of what I’ll be doing at certain times. I just tick those boxes and the next thing you know I’m competing and I’m on the line.”

» You can check out when each athlete is competing with our day-by-day guide to IAAF World Championships action here, while the August 3 edition of AW magazine includes previews, interviews, news and more