LAWRENCE Clarke is hoping that a cautious approach will enable him to peak at just the right time for this year’s two major athletics championships.
The 23-year-old sprint hurdler, from Christmas Common, near Watlington, is targeting success at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and European Championships in Zurich.
But having endured his fair share of injury setbacks over the past 12 months, Clarke has changed his training programme in order to try and ensure he is in the best possible shape when it matters.
He is back in action after recovering from wrist and hamstring injuries, and has been combining this with studying for a masters degree in management at Bath University, where he trains.
And while revising for exams has been occupying a lot of his thoughts, the former Summer Fields School, Oxford, pupil has also been addressing his athletic preparation.
“I have taken a much more cautious approach this year based on my injuries last year,” said Clarke, who opted to miss the British Indoor Championships earlier this month.
“I am focusing on peaking in late July and early August so I will ease myself into the outdoor season in May.
“I will not be doing an indoor season as part of this strategy.
“I think as a result of last year I will probably have a much better understanding of my body and in the long run it will be very positive.”
Clarke is now putting in the hard yards for his season ahead.
He said: “I am in winter training until late March, then I will go abroad for warm weather training with my squad before competition begins early May.
“I am not sure where I will be competing yet, but my intention is to run in the UK and Europe only.”
Clarke’s personal best for the 110m hurdles is 13.31secs, which he set at London 2012, but he does not have a target time for 2014.
“I always think it is a bad idea to focus on times,” he explained.
“I hope to get in the best possible shape for the Europeans and Commonwealths and hopefully that will mean a new personal best.”