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UK Athletics

Beijing bound: kyle langford

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Kyle Langford
7 August 2015 

After a stunning few weeks which has seen him win European Junior 800m gold, lower his personal best to 1:45.78 and earn selection for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing later this month, we caught up with the talented Kyle Langford.

Kyle it has been a great season for you so far; winning the Sainsbury’s British Championships, the European Junior Championships and then running a huge PB at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, could you have envisaged it going so well 12 months ago?

At the start of the year, the aim was to do everything I’ve done so far, but as it got closer to the start of the season I started to doubt it a bit more and it seemed like a bit more of a big ask. But now I’ve done it, it’s such an amazing feeling so it’s really nice that everything has come together.

“I train to keep myself in a good position in races.”

You have mentioned previously that you train not to run times but to win championships, how do you gear yourself towards that?

I train to keep myself in a good position in races. Most people just go to lane one and take the shorter route but it’s not about who runs less, it’s about who wins, so I don’t mind running further if it means I’m in the right position to win the race. I also train to get myself through rounds; the main thing is my strength. Hopefully I can go to Beijing with no pressure and see how far I can go.

I’ve been having shorter recovery in sessions to give me that strength, I train with a lot of endurance-based athletes and the shorter recovery really works for me. I’ve always got to the final of any championships I’ve been in so that’s where my strength shows.

It was a very close finish at the European Junior Championships; did you know you had won when you crossed the line?

It was close; he (the Russian athlete) got back on my shoulder in the last 20m. But I felt like I had the win when I crossed the line.

Michael Rimmer is ten years older than you and has run in multiple World Championships and Olympic Games, what do you make of going to the World Championships with someone so experienced?

He’s going to be a really great guy to learn from, he’s a real humble guy and it’s going to be a pleasure to be his teammate. This year is the first year I have raced him and it’s nice to be able to learn from him because he is obviously a brilliant athlete, he’s been around the block a million times so he knows what he’s doing. I hope it will help me in the long-term. I can’t wait to get into the camp and learn from everyone, despite everyone doing different events; you can still take tips from them. I know Charlie (Grice) and have trained with him before, but apart from that I don’t know anyone that well so it will be nice to get to know some more of the senior athletes as well.

We got the impression you were expecting to run 1:45 (at Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games), other people were probably more shocked than you were, is that fair to say?

I was really looking to get 1:45 earlier in the season but it was a pretty slow race at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix. I felt like I let myself down a bit in Birmingham as I lost concentration, but in London I think me and everyone around me knew I could do it. I still think there’s a lot more in the tank.

You’re still relatively new to the sport having started in 2011 and not training that often. Has it now got to the stage where being an athlete is a whole lifestyle for you and not just simply turning up to the track a few times a week?

Definitely, I went to Kenya last November and before that I was doing three sessions a week but no separate runs, no core work, no gym. But in the lead up to Kenya I started to do some extra 30 minute runs, and then in Kenya I was able to get a huge base of training behind me and got my weekly mileage up to 30-40 miles. So when I got back to England my winter sessions were so much better than before. My endurance went from being one of my worst attributes to being one of my strongest.

You haven’t raced a great deal this year and it seems to have worked to great effect, do you think that will help you as the season reaches its climax in Beijing?

Yes, I have only done around seven competitions this year. A lot of guys have run good times but haven’t really progressed in the championships. I feel like I’m getting stronger, my season really started at the Sainsbury’s British Championships and I still feel like there’s a lot more to come.

Kyle Langford is one of 34 athletes supported by the British Athletics Futures Programme 2014/15 which provides targeted support and funding to young athletes and their coaches.