James Dasaolu’s top five tips for runners

Pictures by 5or6 Ltd

Pictures by 5or6 Ltd

Mazda sponsored James Dasaolu is Britain’s second fastest sprinter of all time, having powered to the 100m finish line in just 9.91 seconds. Now the 26-year old, Croydon born athlete is ready to take on Europe’s best athletes, competing for Great Britain at the European Athletics Championships in the 100 metre sprint – the star event of the championships.

Before the championships began today (12 August), Mazda Social caught up with James and asked him to share his five top tips for runners of all abilities. The athlete is training at the High Performance Athletics Centre, in Loughborough, which is run by British Athletics.

Strap on your running shoes and prepare to limber up – here’s the advice of one of Britain’s fastest athletes…

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Pictures by 5or6 Ltd

1. Set yourself goals

If you’re looking to become a casual runner, be realistic at the start and build up gradually. If you want to get into athletics, your goal should be to join a local club. This will provide a supportive and competitive environment that you need to train and develop your skills as a runner. Before you know it, you maybe even entering competitions. To find your nearest club you could try the British Athletics directory.

2. Follow a plan

If you follow a plan you can chart your progress and it will also keep you motivated. Set goals based on the duration and distance of your run. Apps on smartphones, are useful for recording the work you do. Try not to focus on your speed until you feel comfortable with the distance you’re running.

At an athletics club, you’ll be given a training schedule and the opportunity to enter competitions at differing levels, tailored to your development and ability.

3. Find your style

If you don’t enjoy running on a treadmill then go outdoors and run in your local neighbourhood or perhaps close to your place of work. Pavements, parks and cross-country running can all be challenging and fun. Running with others is also a great way to stay motivated.

Coaches at an athletics club can help identify your talents and techniques and apply those to a discipline that best suits you. Be open minded: you never know what potential they may have spotted in you…

4. Use the right kit

As a professional sprinter, I can testify that training and running can be hard on your body. That’s why it’s important to use good equipment, and the most important items are your running shoes. You should visit your local running shop to find a pair that best suit you. Different shoes have different designs, I wear Nike trainers day to day and spikes when competing on the track.

5. Look after your body

It is very important to look after your body when training and competing and you should always warm up before exercise and warm down afterwards. For me it is also important to see a physiotherapist and soft tissue masseuse post my training sessions to help my body recover quicker and assist in keeping me injury free.

Click for a timetable for the European Athletics Championships.

Follow James Dasaolu’s performance via live coverage on BBC television and BBC Radio 5 live, from 12 – 17 August.