Richards launches IAAF Online Diaries

Richards launches IAAF Online Diaries
Tuesday 30 January 2007
As the indoor season in the Northern hemisphere is shaping up and the outdoor season in the Southern hemisphere is getting underway, athletes around the world take different approaches to their 2007 goals.

A handful of world class athletes will share their ambitions, training tips and daily routine with their fans on through the IAAF Online Diaries which will help give an insight into the personalities of some of the sport’s leading figures.

By any measure, 2006 was an extraordinarily successful one for Sanya Richards. Undefeated in 13 finals in her specialty, the 400 metres, the 21-year-old won a share of the IAAF Golden League Jackpot, lowered the long-standing American record in the event to 48.70 at the IAAF World Cup, and was named the World Athlete of the Year.

In this, her first diary of the 2007 season, Richards updates us on what she’s been doing since the end of her 2006 season, and on her early preparations for 2007.

In her spare time, Richards enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, Aaron Ross, a standout American football star at the University of Texas; bowling; watching films (primarily comedies); hanging out with her sister; and, yes, shopping.

She splits her time and training between Austin and Waco, Texas, where she trains with coach Clyde Hart and training partner Jeremy Wariner.

“I started training again in the second week of November, mainly with just some long runs, 30 minutes or 40 minutes. But I’ve also been very busy these past few months, traveling quite a bit. It’s been kind of hectic.”

“Just the other day as I was driving to Waco, I was thinking about how fortunate I am being able to do what I’m doing. While my friends are finishing up school and looking for jobs, I feel blessed that I can do what I love to do. I can make my own schedule, and don’t have to worry about a 9-5 schedule.”

“[Training partner Jeremy Wariner] and I are both not competing indoors, so this will be the longest period of base training ever. That’s really making the training harder, but we’ll be much stronger when the season comes. And we’ll be ready to run more quality races, more quality over quantity.”

“Our training sessions with Coach [Clyde] Hart are becoming more difficult. He keeps records of all of our sessions from the past years. And we have to tweak each workout, for example, increase them by five per cent. Over the past three years the hardest workouts were two times 800 [metres]. This year it’s going to be two times 1000. They’re overwhelmingly harder. [laughs]. I barely got through the first one. They’re paced to reach each 400 in 80 seconds. We have eight minutes rest in between and we do these once a week. That’s after lifting weights in the morning, and afterwards there are timed cool-downs.”

“I definitely want to do the 200/400 double at the World Championships. With the schedule it’s looking a little tough, but I definitely want to qualify in the 200 for the World Athletics Final and double there, so I’ll run at least six 200 races.”

“2006 was an extremely overwhelming season. Every athlete wants to be the best as quickly as possible. But being that it was an off-year, it’s made me even more motivated, and more pumped for this year.”

“I try not to think about Helsinki [where she ran to a silver medal]. I try to stay positive and focus on positive things. But that was my last experience in that sort of setting so I might think about that race when this year’s World Championships come closer. I know where I made mistakes, and hopefully I’ll correct them. I’m older now, and feel like I’m much more experienced now. I just hope to execute my race and not let any nerves overcome me.”

About her relationship with boyfriend Aaron Ross:

“People always ask if we’ve ever raced each other [laughs]. We’ve never officially raced. This was his best year, and once in the fall, he came and did one of my workouts. And when we finished the warm-up, he told me how tough it was. And I told him that was only the warm-up!”