British sprinter and Commonwealth medallist Jodie Williams shares her training programme, her tips for improving running style, and the story behind her Miss Money Legs nickname…
When did you realise you were good at running?
I actually discovered this hidden talent when I took part in a race at primary school and ended up beating everyone else by about 50 metres which gave me an inkling that I might be quite good at running [laughs]. I went down to my local club when I was about 11 after my PE teacher recommended it and that’s where it all began.
Do you come from a sporty family?
Yes I do, both my parents are rather sporty. I think my Mum likes to pretend she was really good at running when she was younger, but I’m not sure I believe her [laughs]. But my Dad has always been brilliant, playing everything under the sun and so sport was a big part of my childhood.
You’re now 21. What was the biggest change when you moved from competing at junior level to adult level?
I think the biggest difference is that everyone is on a level playing field in the adult races, whereas at junior events you have older girls competing against much younger girls, with everyone at different stages of training. Another key difference between the two however is how mentally strong you have to be when you get to adult races, however with juniors it is more about who has the physical strength from their training.
Your medal collection includes Silvers for the 200 metres at the 2014 championship in the Commonwealth Games and Gold for the 4 x100 metres relay at Zürich. Has there been a specific standout race for you so far?
I think it would have to be my Commonwealth Silver, it was my first senior medal and it was in front of a home crowd – the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. I got my medal with Bianca [Williams – British 100/200m sprinter] as well and as she’s a very close friend of mine, it was lovely to be able to share that moment with her – we even got to do our lap of honour together.
What do you think about or focus on in the lead up to a race?
Just try and get to the finish line first I guess! [laughs]. I actually try not to think about the race too much, I don’t like to know who is going to be in my race, just what time I need to turn up and where the race is. When arriving at the track I zone out as much as possible as I do think people overthink things before a race. At the end of the day it’s going to be down to whoever has the best day.
Your motto and tattoo is ‘Pain is Temporary, Victory is Forever’. Why did you choose those words?
I actually got this tattoo done when I was going through a rough patch; I’d been injured quite a lot and felt as though it would never end. The words inspired me to get through that time and remember all the good times and the victories I have enjoyed. Those words are with me always, drove me to achieve and they really do ring true.
Who gave you the nick-name Miss Money Legs?
One of my friends at secondary school used to call my legs the ‘Money Makers’ and it became our little private joke. I can’t remember who I told this story to, but I mentioned it in an interview once and since then it has evolved into them becoming the ‘Money Legs’. Since then it has gotten bigger and bigger, now ‘Miss Money Legs’ but the original was the ‘Money Makers’.
How do you split your training? How much time do you spend in the track vs the gym?
I go to the gym four times a week and visit the track six times a week. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are my double days. I usually spend two hours in the gym on those days, followed by two hours on the track. I split my track sessions into major lifting days, so my major lifts are squats and then move up to the upper body. I also do a lot of conditioning exercises. On my ‘single session’ days, I spend three to four hours on the track. So I do tend to try and split my training equally between both disciplines.
How do you motivate yourself to train on a cold day when you’d rather be in bed?
For me all I have to think is that somewhere in the world my competitor is getting out of bed and is on the track. Most of them live in America or Jamaica, so weather-wise they don’t have the struggles that I do here, but obviously all of us are here to win those medals and if I’m not going to put the hours in, that’s only going to work in their advantage.