Myles Marshall after winning the 800m at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing (© YOG LOC)
Youth Olympic Games 800m champion Myles Marshall is one of the world’s leading young talents over two laps of the track.
We chat to the 16-year-old US middle-distance runner about his world at work, rest and play.
Myles at work
What is your favourite training session?
Myles Marshall: I prefer the faster sessions, so anything from 300m to 500m.
What is your least favourite training session?
MM: Probably the longer tempo runs. I work on my endurance during the early phase of the season, but it is not easy when it is cold and rainy in the winter doing repeat 1000s.
What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?
MM: I love competing. Whatever I do, I like to win. I’m not very good at losing! Secondly, I like to be an inspiration for people. It is a great feeling to be good at something that other people respect you for. Three, I enjoy seeing where I can take my body and how fast I can run. It is something I love about the sport, seeing how great you can be through hard work and willpower.
Who is your favourite training partner?
MM: My friends I trained with on the 4x400m team this most recent track season. We shared so many great memories and so many great jokes on that track and during the summer.
Where is your favourite training venue?
MM: My hometown track in Kingwood (Texas). I’ve been training there for the past three years and I’ve seen some beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I competed in cross-country races in my freshman year (at high school) by there and recall seeing dew on the ground with the sun rising up. It is a great experience and one I’ll never get tired of it.
Myles at rest
Describe your perfect day without training.
MM: I’d probably sleep in until about 10am. I’d then play beach volley, throw a football or frisbee around, or play soccer. In the evening, I’d like to spend it with the same people that I did during the day and when I come home I would just like to lie down again on my bed until the next day.
Where is your favourite place to relax?
MM: Anywhere where I'm by myself, whether that is sat in my car or in the garage where I can find peace and quiet. I really enjoy the quietness. It has a beautiful tone to it. Being in a quiet place is something I need to do every day.
What is your favourite stress reliever?
MM: Again, it is going into a quiet place, somewhere where I have an instant peace of mind.
If you could pick any other athlete in the world with whom to spend a day to relax, who would it be and why?
MM: It would be Mo Farah. He seems like a really relaxed person, but one who can exhibit moments of excitement. I don’t know him but he seems to me like a calm and energetic guy at the same time.
What TV shows do you like to relax to?
MM: I like comedies with a satirical or dry humour, like Bob’s Burgers and The Office.
Myles at play
When did your passion for music begin?
MM: I’ve always been around music. My older brother is a professional dancer and he taught me the joy of music. In sixth grade I started playing the oboe, which I still play now. I enjoy the deeper aspects in the same way that I enjoy the deeper aspects to track. A lot of people think athletics is just running around in circles, but there is much more to it than that: tactics, preparation, the training etc. In the same way, I enjoy listening to complex musical literature. I enjoy deciphering the music and the analytical aspect to it.
Why play the oboe?
MM: It was something different. I tend to be a little outside the crowd and it is an unusual instrument as there are only two or three oboes typically in an orchestra of 200. It is a unique sound. I’ve played a few concerts, but because of track and field I haven’t had as much time to devote to it. It is something I will look to develop further in future.
What is your favourite type of music to listen to?
MM: I have a taste for everything, but I really enjoy passionate music. I usually like a solo singer who sings about something that is true to them. I really admire Adele, she sings with so much passion in her voice.
How has music helped your athletics?
MM: Music is similar to track in that lots of people take for granted the amount of effort which can go into creating a four-minute long piece of music or even an 800m run in a little under two minutes. A lot of hard work for many months goes into the short period of time when you are trying to produce perfection. I think working towards that goal in music definitely helps my athletics.
Steve Landells for the IAAF