One of Britain’s top sprinters tells John Shepherd about his training philosophy

Ojie Edoburun clocked a 100m PB of 10.04 last year and in 2017, had it not been for illegal following winds, the 22-year-old would have two sub-10 times to his name (9.93 being the quickest).

He made the 60m final at the recent European Indoor Championships in Glasgow and also has his sights set on the IAAF World Championships in Doha this year.

Here he shares insight into his athletics journey and training philosophy with AW.

Athletics Weekly: How did you get started in athletics and what were your earliest achievements?

Ojie Edoburun: I ran at a sports day with my secondary school. A worker from Lee Valley Athletics Centre thought I looked good and told me to come and join the local club, Enfield and Haringey AC. I used to play football, basketball and a bit of rugby. So, I guess I used my speed a lot in those sports.

AW: Tell us about your coach and training set-up.

OE: I train with Steve Fudge. We joined forces late in 2017. In my group we have Imani Lansiquot, Asha Philip, Mujinga Kambundji, recently joined from Switzerland, and the Nigerian, Seye Ogunlewe. In total I think there are eight of us.

AW: What do you do away from the track work-wise, relaxation-wise?

OE: I’m into videography a lot, so I spend my time making various videos online. Other than that, I’m with my friends, family or at home playing FIFA.

AW: At what age did you start to get success and think you could reach a very high level?

OE: The first real success was at the World Youth Championships in 2013 (100m silver). Being on that stage so young motivated me to work harder because I wanted to have more moments like that. Then winning the European junior 100m in 2015 was big for me because it was my first title.

Photo by Mark Shearman

AW: Have you any advice for young athletes in respect of their development?

OE: Take your time. Try not to let your emotions drive your decision making. Be patient, as everyone develops at different rates. Always strive to be consistent in whatever you do.

AW: What have been your career highlights?

OE: Aside from the junior success, I would say going to the Olympics Games at the age of 20 was big for me. It was something I expected to happen later on in my career and everyone around me was proud of that achievement.

AW: Who has motivated you throughout your career? Do you have any heroes or role models (inside and out of track)?

OE: What motivates me are my surroundings. I grew up in north London and I didn’t have many role models in sport who were successful at that time. So, I’m motivated to be that person for a young person growing up, so I can inspire them. However, my heroes among track athletes are Usain Bolt and Donovan Bailey. Outside of track, I’d probably say ex-Arsenal footballer Thierry Henry. He was a great leader.

Training and technique

AW: What are your particular strengths as a sprinter and what do you think you need to do more work on?

OE: My strengths have been finishing speed, but I’m working on having a more complete race this season.

AW: You’re a very smooth running sprinter, have you had to work on your technique and how has it evolved?

OE: Yes, it has. Since I’ve moved coaches I’ve learnt how to move better, use my power and make my strengths even stronger.

AW: Do you have a couple of simple technical tips that you could provide for sprinters?

OE: Don’t over complicate your cues. And don’t rush your phases of the race.

Photo by Mark Shearman

AW: What are your favourite sessions and the ones you dislike the most?

OE: Blocks is my favourite session by far! My least is probably gym circuits – they burn!

AW: What would you say are your physical strengths and are there areas where you have room for improvement?

OE: My physical strengths are that I’m very explosive and I’m becoming a lot more elastic as a sprinter. I would say I can improve everything overall. Everything can always be refined and made better.

AW: Tell us a little bit about your nutrition?

OE: I don’t follow a specific programme as such. I just try to include everything – protein and carbs, veg … I don’t like to get bogged down by the specifics or grammes of food. I just eat!

AW: Do you do any work on the mental side of training and competing?

OE: I do, mostly with my coach and also with a few mentors I have around me. I tried to use a psychologist before but I felt it made things too complicated for me. A lot of the answers we seek are already within us. Then, during competitions, I just try to stay calm and focus on a few things at a time.

Sample sessions

Typical winter training week

Monday: Sled runs x 2, ground start x 2, one pedal (block starts) x 2, two pedal x 2, tempo runs, cleans, core circuit

Tuesday: Hurdle drills, cone runs, endurance (200m, 180m, 150m, 120m, 100m x 1), full body circuit, core circuit

Wednesday: Day off

Thursday: Repeat Monday

Friday: Same as Tuesday but instead endurance 6x150m

Saturday: Aerobic warm-up with baton drills and exercises, then gym circuit and stretch

Typical race week

Monday: Drop in strides, flying runs 60m x 2, light cleans, stretch and therapy

Tuesday: Hurdle drills, tempo runs over 120m, core circuit

Wednesday: Day off

Thursday: Short blocks to 20m x 3, stretch and therapy

Friday: Pre-meet race warm-up, strides in flats and spikes

Saturday or Sunday: Race

» Note: the training is for illustrative purposes only and reflects Ojie Edoburun’s level of ability and training maturity 

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