On a big stage in front of a home crowd, Seren Bundy-Davies’ 400m PB at last weekend’s Birmigham Diamond League was as cooly executed a performance as you could ask for. We asked the 21-year-old Brit how she did it.
“Initially, I was disappointed with Ostrava [where she opened up her outdoor season with 52.26]. I knew I was in much better shape than the race suggested, but I had come directly from a big block of [warm weather] training in Tenerife so I wasn't too worried – it could have been a lot worse! I didn't exactly feel rusty, but it did feel a long time since I’d raced.
“As I'd come off a big block of training before Ostrava there wasn't that many big sessions I could fit in between Loughborough – I ran a 4x400 there, two days after Ostrava – and Birmingham. I had two university exams so the main focus was recovering from my first race and getting the exams done.
“We had a hard session before Birmingham, 3x350m [seven days before]. As I would be racing a lot between Birmingham DL and the British Olympic trials a few weeks later, we wanted to get this session in beforehand. I felt I had fully recovered by this point, a full week after the 4x400 and my first exam.
“So physically I felt ready to race again. As it was a good session, mentally I felt really positive and felt well prepared for Birmingham. The last session [four days] before Birmingham was a 250m at race pace. (I didn't get it quite right in the race, though!)”
Wrong plan, right outcome
“I don't have many race day routines, but I do listen to the same playlist on my iPod every time I start warming up. As the race was midday, there wasn't a huge amount of preparation for the race in the morning – I try to organise as much as I can the night before if the race is at an earlier time.
“I wasn't actually shocked to run a PB [51.33 ranks Bundy-Davies in top 25 this year], me and my coach know I'm in 'PB shape', so it was more just relief the race had gone a lot better than my first! But immediately, I was really happy with what felt like a solid performance in front of a home crowd.
Bundy-Davies was the best of the Brits, finishing in 51.33 ahead of double world champion and 2008 Olympic champ Christine Ohuruogu
“My race didn't exactly go to plan – I did go out a bit too slowly! After Ostrava, I wanted to run a lot more relaxed through the first 200, but I definitely relaxed too much! I wasn't hugely surprised by the improvement, it was around about the time I thought I would open up with! But I was surprised with how easy the last 100m felt (a sign I definitely started too slowly) so I've taken lots of positives from my second race of the season.
“I love running in front of a home crowd, its great fun! There is always such a good atmosphere at British meets, and yes it’s a massive bonus running well in front of a home crowd. Both last year and this year I’ve set a PB at British Diamond Leagues, so I would definitely say the crowd has a huge effect.”
Race until it’s right
“I'm really optimistic about the rest of the summer, I definitely don't feel I’ve run the perfect race yet, so I'm just looking forward to racing again and trying to get it right. The main aim of this summer is obviously the Olympic Games, so the Olympic trials in two weeks are my next big focus.”