Well what a month... I'm currently packing my bags as I must go to Moscow! It should be rather exciting as I have never been there and it is said to be -20c so I better remember those thermals!
The month started off really well for me as I allowed myself to relax a bit over New Years and even indulge in a curry on New Year's Eve! It's a favourite of mine and I always say that as long as you have everything in moderation then you can enjoy it when the time's right!
As always New Year's Day was like any other day - I went training! I regard myself as being very fortunate to do what I do because I really love my sport of Athletics and have a great passion towards it. There is such a good intrinsic feeling when you push your body to the boundaries and manage to achieve your goals (although I never exceed them as I set them so high!).
On January 4th I entered the 60m sprint at Lee Valley. Being a Long Jumper I need to be fast on the runway so in my training I do lots of sprinting. As a result I tend to do a few sprint competitions every year. My best 100m is 10.6 seconds and 200m is 21.5 seconds. These times are competitive within the domestic leagues but if I was to compete on the International circuit I would get smoked!
The competition was due to start at 2:00pm but I didn't run until 4:00pm as there were 160 entrants in the senior men alone! Although I heard people complaining I thought it was great to see so many people participating in the sport and it certainly shows that Athletics is alive and kicking in North London.
I was nervous when the starter called us to our marks but I was just telling myself to keep focused and get out fast. High end athletics is won and lost in the brain and if you lapse concentration for a millisecond you loose! I managed to react really well and get out fast, which for a guy who is 6ft 6in and built like a tooth pick is surprising and I crossed the line in second place in 6.84 seconds - a new personal best! I was properly chuffed... I know I will never beat the likes of Usain Bolt but to run a PB showed I was in good shape and as I said, I love the feeling of pushing my body to the limits and beyond.
I flew to South Africa on January 10th, where I was staying in Potchefstroom for 2 weeks warm weather training. It's great being able to get away from the stresses of everyday life and focus on my Athletics. The temperature was above 30c every day which really suits the power athletes like me. When it's cold your muscles can't move as fast so it inhibits your performance.
I was staying in an apartment away from the rest of the British athletes as I couldn't make the dates that they had set, therefore my group stayed elsewhere. It actually turned out better this way as I didn't realise that my new coach Frank was Jamie Oliver in disguise and cooked some great meals every night!
Unfortunately when I got to South Africa my feet swelled up and I got bruises on the back of my Achilles from my feet rubbing, as a result of this I had to stay in my trainers for most of the training sessions and was not able to sprint flat out in my spikes with my training partner Greg Rutherford, which was frustrating to say the least! However I managed to find an upside and really got down to business with my long jump technique, I found that despite wearing trainers I could do the biomechanics and learnt a few tips from my new coach Frank. I now have to put them into practice!