British 800m runner Lynsey Sharp at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 (© Getty Images)
Britain’s 2012 European champion and 2016 Olympic 800m finalist Lynsey Sharp is among the finest two-lap exponents in the world. Here she reflects on the significance of joining Terrence Mahon’s coaching group in early 2013.
"After the London 2012 Olympic Games, I wanted to take a more full-time approach to my training. So, in an effort to find the best coach, I did lots of research online and realised that Terrence Mahon, who coached some of the world’s best middle-distance athletes at that time (Morgan Uceny and Anna Willard), was someone who I could work with. At that time, I recall having a conversation with the British Athletics performance director who told me to sit tight for a couple of weeks because they were about to unveil Terrence as the new national endurance coach.
"I formally joined Terrence and his group in Loughborough in 2013 and from the beginning he opened my eyes as to what life was like as a professional athlete and the changes I needed to make in my lifestyle in order to reach the next level. I knew I needed to improve aerobically and he has definitely increased my mileage. I understood his training philosophy and he was very knowledgeable in sport science.
"Unfortunately, in 2013 I picked up an injury, underwent a plantaris tendon removal operation and missed the season. However, I felt everything really started to come together for me under Terrence in 2014. This was a key season in my career.
"Competing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, I was so confident I ran from the front in the heat, semifinals and final, which is not usually my style, and I won a silver medal. Then just over two weeks later I won a silver medal at the European Championships in Zurich. That whole season was incredible. Everything felt so easy and even now I think it will be difficult to top that year, which had the added bonus of experiencing a home Games in Glasgow.
"Terrence has a very relaxed personality but he is also a straight-talker. He has turned around my lifestyle and my whole way of thinking. Importantly, he also keeps me positive.
"He has vast experience of working with so many top-class athletes and no situation is too difficult for him. He is also very logical at talking through scenarios and he has been so good at making me realise there are aspects of my life I needed to improve to be the best athlete I can. Terrence has a great understanding of the sport.
"Everything has come together for me as an athlete since I started working with him. It was meant to be."
Steve Landells for the IAAF