Interview with Yiannis Christodoulou

Yiannis Christodoulou started running back in 2012 after being inspired by the London Olympics. He initially wanted to get fit and stay healthy, but then lead him to competing for the Great British Triathlon Age Group Aquathlon team at major Championships. Follow his running journey on Twitter and Instagram

What is your proudest running achievement, and why?

My proudest running moment is when I represented GB in my age group recently at the 2019 European Aquathlon Championships and becoming European Champion. It has shown me how far I have come and for me it’s not about how talented you are; it is about training hard to achieve your goals.

What has running taught you about yourself?

Running has taught me a lot. I love that after a hard, stressful day of work you can just put your trainers on and go for a run and get lost and relax. The most important lesson is that enjoy what you do and don’t let anyone put you down, they do not have the right to do so and you should be proud of what you want to do/achieve.

What is the most ambitious running goal you’ve ever considered?

I know this sounds a bit odd but I think setting unrealistic targets are a good way to go. Because you try your hardest to get there. My most ambitious goal was to run a sub 1:20 half marathon, which I did achieve but when I did my first one it seemed too ambitious.   

How far in advance do you plan your running races?

At the start of the year I plan my races for the rest of the year.

What is the most miles you’ve ever run in a week and why did you run that far?

65-mile weeks. I know it isn’t much. I was doing marathon training then. These days I don’t get above 30 miles per week as I have to cram in other training.

What is the longest period you’ve ever trained for a race?

Start of the year for the World and European Aquathlon Championships. The last race was in October so 10 months, then I have a good break with complete rest. 

What has been your most serious running injury?

I have had a few serious injuries when I first took up running for the first few years and nearly quit as it was getting too much. I was out for just over 3 months with an achilles injury. All my injuries were due to over-training – going too hard and not listening to my body.

What cross-training exercises do you commit to?

Loads because I compete in multi-sports. I go to the gym twice a week, swim four times a week and cycle three times a week. I stretch after every session and every morning. I also foam roll after hard sessions.

What would persuade you to work with a running coach?

For me I would like to meet them in person or speak on the phone, It’s not a big deal. However, I  would like to know their qualifications and background into the sport. But I would send my plans for previous races and discuss what they can do for me and training techniques. I have to make sure the training will be tailored for me and not training that is copied for every person such as in books. I am very critical on choosing a coach as being a running coach myself I know it’s important to get the right coach for that person. I normally interview the coaches and then go from there. 

In one sentence, what does running mean to you?

Having fun and enjoying it; most of all the friendships and people you get to meet along the way.

European Indoor Athletics Championships 2019 Review

The 35th edition of the European Indoor Athletics Championships was set to be a thrilling 3-day event. Superstars of European athletics were on show throughout last weekend in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, including double-defending champion Laura Muir, the three Ingebrigtsen brothers and the enigmatic Karsten Warholm.

The home crowd had huge expectations for Team Great Britain, and the 49 athletes selected would not disappoint.

 

Peak Performance Requires Discipline

 

For many of the competitions there were two or three rounds before the medalists were decided. In less than three days, athletes would be racing multiple times with relatively little recovery. This was even more evident for Laura Muir and Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who were both competing in the 1500m and 3000m events.

Muir raced in the 1500m heat hours before she won 3000m gold. Although she won both races, she controlled the pace from the front to qualify for 1500m final with relative ease. Two days later she admitted she recovered well, storming to a historic double-double. It is a reminder of her superior class, and reminiscent of Mo Farah’s Olympic double-double outdoors (5000m and 10,000m).

Filip Ingebrigtsen, the middle brother of the amazing Norwegian middle-distance family, sadly became an example of ill-discipline. He was focusing solely on the 1500m, which allowed him to qualify for the final with ease, saving himself for a big push to beat his younger brother Jakob. But with just over two laps to go (400m) Filip forced his way passed a competitor on the inside lane. He stepped outside of the track and was later disqualified. His rush to get to the front and win the race was unnecessary; he was fast enough to qualify and yet a lack of patience cost him a place in the final, and most likely a medal.

Less severe were Jakob’s two heats (one for the 1500m and one for the 3000m), in which he wanted so desperately to win that he surged throughout to cover his competitors’ moves. Although he won gold in the 3000m final, his silver in the 1500m final the following day was most likely the result of cumulative fatigue. Still, he could have helped himself out by not running so hard in the heats.

As the legendary Steve Cram reflected in commentary, it is more difficult to recover from races with constant changes in pace, than it is of a steady pace. However, it must be said that Jakob’s accomplishments so far, at the tender age of eighteen, bode extremely well for the future.

 

Character Shines through for Gold Medallists

 

Athletics is a special sport. It is tactical and intense, but it is also individual. Glasgow was awash with gold medallists who more than anything else showed their unique personalities and dominant racing styles.

  • GB’s Muir bares her teeth during the final lap as she acelerates from the rest of the field.
  • GB’s Oskan-Clarke uses her muscular physique and strong front-running to make overtaking her a challenging prospect.
  • Norway’s Karsten Warholm unleashes his incredible leg speed and free-flowing form, all while remaining calm in his facial expression; his humorous and extroverted nature also come alive on camera post-race.

These athletes show that to win one must train and race smart, and feel confident in one’s natural strengths. This makes other athletes fearful. Having a relaxed and humble manner undoubtedly helps.