GB hurdler Andrew Pozzi on tough winter and hopes for outdoor season

By Mark Ashenden

Last Updated: 08/05/2019, 18:42 GMT

Andrew Pozzi
Image: Andrew Pozzi will open up his outdoor campaign in China on May 18

Winter woe, fighting back to fitness with a new regime in Italy and now fired up for the outdoors.

It has been a hugely challenging few months for GB's top hurdler Andrew Pozzi.

The Sky Sports Scholar opens up as he gets ready for a crucial summer campaign......

After a tough winter, I've been back to work in Formia, Italy.

On the back of a difficult indoor season, mired in injury, and culminating in finishing sixth at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow, the last couple of months have been a refreshing period of hard work, building and progress.

Towards the end of December, three months into working with a new training programme, environment and coach, I picked up a muscle injury in my right quadricep.

This came at a frustrating time as I was beginning preparation for the new indoor season. A projected three-week recuperation turned to seven after some complications and sadly I was left with a tough two-week turnaround before trying to compete at the European Indoors.

Pozzi has moved from the UK to Italy to boost his Olympic hopes
Image: Pozzi has moved his training base to Italy to help his quest for an Olympic medal in Japan

Before the injury I was getting into good shape and I was confident of attempting to retain the European 60m hurdles title I won in Belgrade two years ago.

It was advised that I withdrew for the indoor season entirely, due to such an extensive lay-off and small period in which to salvage the work I had been building.

Whilst this was initially the plan, the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd in Glasgow proved too enticing and at the start of March I flew to Scotland with the hope that experience alone would prove sufficient to compete against Europe's best.

Initially I was greatly encouraged after finishing as the second fastest qualifier in the heats and semi-finals, advancing to the final.

Sadly when trying to increase both the speed and intensity of my performance, I was found lacking in the timing and technique only developed through race practice at higher intensities.

Frustrating as it was, it was a great sign I could compete against the best in Europe and perform strongly with such poor preparation.

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This gave me great confidence that the new training I had been completing throughout October to December had been effective for me to come within 0.09 seconds of retaining my European title after such a long period of inactivity and injury.

Since returning to training after the indoor championships our focus turned from the 60m hurdles (the indoor event) to the 110m hurdles for the outdoor season.

This requires a greater level of speed endurance and technical efficiency, which means a much more demanding training week and tougher training sessions to cover the volume necessary for success over 110m hurdles.

My coach and I are also trying to change a few things technically, which requires a really big focus and attention to detail making training mentally and physically stimulating.

During spring my training week has consisted of roughly two speed hurdling sessions, one speed endurance hurdling session, two flat running sessions and three gym sessions - several of these are combined on the same day and also includes lots of technical hurdles drills, plyometric work, and specific mobility sessions.

I'm currently moving closer to the end of this tough training block as we start to prepare specifically for the start of the outdoor season.

This will mean the intensity will increase while the volume slightly decreases as we try to mimic race speeds.

I'm looking to kick-start the season in Shanghai, China on May 18. I cannot wait!