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Interview with World 400m hurdles Champion Dai Greene

by Editor
Friday 29th June 2012
Tags  Dai Greene   |   Myprotein

Talking to one of Britain’s best hopes of a medal at the London Olympics

Biography: Born in Llanelli, Greene had his first success on the junior athletics circuit in 2005. He won the silver medal at the 2005 European Athletics Junior Championships, finishing with a personal best time of 51.14 seconds. The 2009 outdoor season saw Greene making his first impact on the senior circuit. In June he set a meet record and a new personal best of 48.62 seconds to win the 400m hurdles at the Josef Odlozil Memorial in Prague. This was a significant improvement from his 2008 best of 49.58 seconds and made him top of the European rankings for the first time.

Competing for Team GB at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, Greene won his heat with a strong first round performance of 48.76 seconds. He followed this with a new personal best in the semi-finals, finishing in 48.27 seconds taking second place behind Bershawn Jackson. However it was 2010 when Dai really made an impact on the world athletics stage as he stormed to victory to win Gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and later that year won Gold in the Continental Cup. Continuing his success Dai then took Gold at the European Championships in Barcelona and completed the perfect year winning the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where he memorably overtook a strong field in the final 100m to claim victory. Now looking on to 2012, Dai is one of Britain’s best hopes of a medal at the London Olympics.

How did you get involved in athletics?
Well I actually started out playing football at first but then when I went to university my friends asked me if I wanted to come down to the athletics track. I then really enjoyed it and have ever since. I guess I just fell in with the right crowd and got into athletics through that. But I’ve always loved sport.

Who is your sporting hero and why do they inspire you?
Talking of football my absolute idol growing up was in fact Ryan Giggs and I was adamant that I was going to play on the left wing for Man Utd. I idolised him so much in fact I actually started to play football with my left foot to try and emulate him. This later meant I was able to hurdle off both feet, both my natural right foot and my left foot that I’d managed to train over the years because of Ryan Giggs, which was obviously a big advantage in hurdles.

Interview with World 400m hurdles Champion Dai Greene

Can you describe a typical weeks training for you?
It varies a lot depending on the time of year. My winter training is pretty brutal and contains both a high intensity and high volume but as we approach competition, especially the Olympics, my coach Malcolm Arnold and nutrition partners www.myprotein.com will reduce the volume and raise the intensity to replicate conditions of competition day. To talk you through my winter training:

Morning – Strength Conditioning
3 x 6 Power Cleans
3 x 6 Squats
3 x Hand Snatch
3 x 6 Bench Press

Afternoon – Core Fitness and Medicine Ball Work
This involves some pretty brutal sit ups, planks and weighted leg raises combined with some throws with the medicine ball and jumps for explosive plyometric power

Morning – Running
9 x 300m (40-42 seconds per rep)
3 minutes recovery between bouts

Morning – Weight lifting and running
Power Clean, squats, hand snatch, bench press all for reps of 5,4,3,2 and 1
Going up each time; 85kg, 90kg, 95kg…etc
24 x 200m uphill sprints

Morning – Running and Hurdling
350m run to hurdle 10 x 2 with full recovery
This is such an important session for me since it gives me such a good indication of what sort of condition I am in leading up to the Games. Basically if I can run under 43 seconds to hurdle 10 then that gives me a sub 48 second clock and I guess that’s the gold standard, the highest standard you can get to. Although it’s very hard to run that in training…..if I can run close to that then I know I’m in seriously good shape.

Morning – Running
Fartlek on and off grass and track – 1min on hard pace, one min off, for 40 minutes
This is really just to train my aerobic fitness as well as anaerobic system since obviously the 400m hurdles is a bit of both so it’s so important to train the two. You can’t be anaerobically fit and not aerobically and equally you can’t be aerobically fit without any speed.

An equally important day, I just like to relax, hang out with friends or maybe take my dog for a walk. But it’s so important to give your body the chance to recover and rest

Morning – Running
350m, 30 second rest then 150m x 6
Again the 350m is such an important distance for me to see what sort of shape I am in running into the 10th hurdle. Then the 150m will really get me to work on my speed.

What’s a typical day’s diet for you?
Again obviously this subject to change throughout the season, since I will eat a lot more during the winter training to ensure I’ve the calories I need to survive a session with Malcolm. But generally I don’t really count calories since because of my training I’m naturally around 7% body fat and it doesn’t really change from this.

  • Breakfast: 2 x slices of toast with peanut butter and a cup of tea
  • Pre Training Snack: Energel and Isotonic drink from Myprotein.com
  • Post Training Snack: Protein shake, with creatine, glutamine and beta alanine (I’ve been with www.myprotein.com for 3 years now and we’ve developed a supplement routine that is so specific to me and my training. They know exactly what I need and use and so we change up my supplements depending on the stage of the season I am at.)
  • Lunch: Chicken tagine and rice or lasagne
  • Snack: Digestive biscuits
  • Dinner Cheese and tomato bagel
  • Supper: Maybe some leftover pasta or lasagne

What supplements do you take?
Well I’m very lucky since I’ve been fortunate enough to be working with sports nutrition partners Myprotein.com for 3 years now and they pretty much know my training and body inside and out. So firstly I take True Whey Protein since I need a good, quickly absorbed shake to make sure I’m recovering after each session. Creapure to help my max lifts in the gym. Vitamin C, ZMA and Alpha Men to get all the vitamins and minerals I need to support my immune system. Lastly I’ve actually been working with Myprotein.com to add beta alanine and L-Carnosine to my diet as well since they’re 2 amino acids that have been shown to buffer lactic acid and help me in that final 100m.

Where did that unbelievable sprint finish come from in the World Championships?
I always believe that I am the strongest 400m hurdler in the world thanks to my difficult training regime. Its testimony to that

Have you had to change your life because of the new found fame and recognition as being the best in the world?
I haven’t had to make any changes, I get recognised far more and have plenty of photos with fans when I am out and about but it is lovely to be acknowledged for your sporting achievements

Edwin Moses and Sally Gunnell have famously predicted you to win Olympic Gold, how does that feel to receive that sort of support?
It’s great to have such great athletes backing me for 2012. It’s very flattering for them to say that. When people say that it makes me believe that I am doing something right.

How are you preparing for the Olympics mentally?
I’m just training every single day from now until the Olympicsw

What are you planning to do when the Olympics are all over?
I honestly don’t allow myself to think that far ahead, I’m 100% focused at the moment on the Olympics and really don’t think about anything else.

Dai Greene is fuelled by www.myprotein.com, the UK’s number one online sports nutrition brand and supplier to many of Britain’s Olympians


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