Last season’s top-ranked javelin thrower spoke to David Lowes about how he got there and his ambitions
Lee Doran started out as a middle-distance runner when his parents took him to the local Carlisle Aspatria club at the age of 10.
After a couple of years of trying many different events, his sister, Colette, had been throwing the javelin and he decided to give it a go.
The 79.72m thrower said: “I was always pretty good at chucking things, so decided to give it a try! It was quite difficult as there was no coach to help, but my dad stepped in and became a fully qualified javelin coach to coach us both.”
In his first year of throwing the implement at the age of 12 he was ranked No.2 in the UK behind Edward Dunford. Up until around the age of 18, Doran was only training around three times a week, which consisted of throwing, technical drills and jogging and sprinting on the track.
Doran adds: “I believe that an athlete shouldn’t specify in one sport too early and I always carried on with other things around my javelin such as football and cricket. However, around the age of 18 I started to specialise more in javelin, but would regularly play football at a weekend.
“A child or teenager needs to be able to take part in whatever they want in order to develop fundamental skills. Most javelin throwers come from a football, rugby or even cricket background. Once I left for my time at Cardiff Met University, I became more of a full-time athlete with my training week consisting of six days per week and even some double sessions on certain days.”
“I believe 80m-plus is on the cards this year and what better time to do it than in a Commonwealth year!”
The David Parker-coached thrower says his training has changed markedly over the past four years. He interestingly says: “I’ve picked up so many things from different coaches and have adapted my training accordingly, especially after the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Just little things such as medicine ball being at a higher intensity and making sure every single rep was as explosive as possible, rather than having high volume where throws would become slow.
“I also adapted my training to a competition with a quote from Welsh Athletics head coach John Dagata: ‘You need to turn up to a competition feeling fresh, quick and 100% – not tired, sore and 75% because of the training you have carried out over the last month.’
“This was always me, I thought training harder in competition would mean further throws, but I was tired and sore leading into competitions because I was training too hard. Once the intensity and volume went down within a competition period, the results started to improve.”
The ambitious thrower was keen to state the importance of his coach and said: “David has a great technical knowledge and has helped adapt my technique to what will work best for me. His training methods are different and I’m certain they will have a huge impact on my performances this year. Training in a group with huge potential, and with youngsters looking to breakthrough themselves, helps to keep you on your toes. I am now working on my weaknesses and seeing other throwers doing things in the gym better than you really motivates you to improve even more and to be better than they are.”
Doran rates his first big breakthrough in the senior ranks as his 78.63m throw to take gold at the UK Championships in 2011. He said: “This really made me believe that I could be an 80m-plus javelin thrower. Before this it was quite a struggle and I did begin to lose some belief. It gave me a good platform to build on in 2012.”
When asked about his capabilities, he answers confidently: “I was capable of 80m-plus back in 2012, having thrown 79.72m with an injured ankle. I got through the Olympic Trials after having pain-killing injections, but afterwards I had to have surgery due to the issues I was having. The timing couldn’t have been worse and my season had to be cut short.
“Last year was difficult, but now I’ve had an almost full winter block behind me I’m now starting to hit the highs that I was in 2012 in the gym, the runway and my explosive testing with the medicine ball.
“I believe 80m-plus is on the cards this year and what better time to do it than in a Commonwealth year! I know 83-85m is within my grasp and when I do become a consistent 80m thrower then those are the targets I want to start hitting.”
So what is his favourite session? Doran says coyly: “I know as a javelin thrower I should say throwing, but I do love my weights sessions. The whole atmosphere in the gym is just fun and energetic when you hit personal-best lifts.
“I do have to say, I like the high-intensity, low-volume sessions as when these two are together the sessions are very tiring.”
And his least favourite? The 28-year-old has no doubt: “My coach would probably agree with me – the Watt bike sessions – they just fill you up with lactic, make you feel like jelly and worst of all, you just want to vomit!”
BASIC OUTLINE OF CURRENT TRAINING CYCLE
Monday: Weights session 1
Tuesday: Foot drills, javelin drills, javelin ball work and Technical session 1
Wednesday: (am) Sprints session 1 (10x80m) (pm) Weights session 2
Thursday: (am) Hurdle drills, medicine ball and trunk conditioning
Friday: (pm) Weights session 3
Saturday: (am) Foot drills, javelin drills, javelin ball work & Technical session 2 (pm) Shot throws, conditioning. Sprints session 2 (50m, 40m, 30m) x 5 sets
This cycle (specific-preparation phase 3) lasts around four weeks. First competitive outing is Winter Throws on March 1 in Loughborough
SPECIFIC TECHNICAL OVERVIEW OF CURRENT TRAINING CYCLE
Monday: (am) Rest (pm) Weights session 1: power clean (80% max) 5×3; box jumps 5×4; split jerk 6×2; drop jumps 6×3; lying reverse flies 4×8; hammer grip pull-up 4×6; upright cable row 4×8; eccentric calf-loading 4×10
Tuesday: (am) Rest (pm) Technical drills over 50m: carry x 3, crossover x 3, carry/crossover x 3. Javelin ball work: front/side on 2×12 (800g), 2×10 (1kg), 2×8 (1.5kg), 2×6 (2kg); side on 2×4 (800g + 1kg). Javelin technical session 1: 9×3 stride, 9×5 stride, 9×7 stride, 6x short approach, 6xfull approach. Total = 39
Wednesday: (am) Sprints session 1: 10x80m 80% (Tempo) 120m walk recovery (pm) Weights session 2: Bulgarian split squat 4×8; step-up jumps 4×3; snatch 3×3 + 3×2; back squat 5×5; box jumps 5×3; Romanian dead lift 4×8 + back extension 4×6; bench press 1×6 + 1×4 + 1×2; medicine ball chest pass 4×8
Thursday: (am) Hurdle drills (3×12 hurdles): forward, side-on, rotations (right and left), backwards, forward leg swings, side-on straight leg (right and left), over and under, 2 forward and 1 back. medicine ball 3×8 (6k): overhead, chest pass, floor slams, caber throw, kneeling overhead, lying overhead on ball, single arm overhead with d-ball, lying overhead hip activations, lying on bench overhead, 3-strides overhead with left and right plant. Trunk conditioning 3×12: Aleknas, seated bar twists, resisted rotations Pavlov press, barbell roll-outs, side extensions overhead press, Olympic bar rotations
Friday: (am) Rest (pm) Weights session 3: Step-ups 4×8; Full clean 3×3 + 3×2; Trap bar deadlift 5×5; Bent arm pull-overs 5×5; Lying overhead medicine ball 4×8
Saturday: (am) Technical drills over 50m: carry x3; crossover x3; carry/crossover x3. javelin ball work: front/side- on 2×12 (800g), 2×10 (1kg), 2×8 (1.5kg), 2×6 (2kg), side-on 2×4 (800g + 1kg). javelin technical session 2: 6×3 stride, 6×5 stride, 6×7 stride, 9x short approach, 9x full approach. Total = 36 (pm) shot throws conditioning (7.26kg): overhead 1×8, caber throw 1×8, hammer rotations 1×8 (right and left). sprints session 2: 50m + 40m + 30m x5
» The above sessions are specific to the individual athlete and may not be suitable for other athletes
» Most drills and exercises can be found on YouTube