As we prepare for the start of the 2017 indoor competition season, we caught up with England Under 23 100m Champion, Clieo Stephenson. In this short feature, Clieo shares her experiences on working with West London Track & Field (WLTF), and her plans for the coming season.

 U23 English 100m Champion Clieo Stephenson, with Coach Laura Turner-Alleyne

U23 English 100m Champion Clieo Stephenson, with Coach Laura Turner-Alleyne

WLTF: Clieo, thanks for joining us. Let start with finding out what attracted you to WLTF in the first place?
 
CS: The professional and organised environment is what first attracted me.  There is complete structure throughout all the training and racing plans at WLTF, so I knew exactly what my year would look like before joining the group. The trackside therapy and additional support such as nutrition and Laura’s experience was an added bonus. These are things that I feel the majority of other training groups do not receive, and it is why I chose to join WLTF without hesitation.
 
WLTF: Which aspects were most valuable to your improvement last season?

(Clieo ran a PB of 11.73 secs and became England Under 23 and British University 100m Champion in 2016)
 
CS: Learning how to run with technical excellence, before trying to run faster was the most valuable change that was introduced in my first year training at WLTF. Laura taught me the fundamental movements required to run fast before trying to change the smaller details in my technique. Most importantly, I understood what my body was able and not able to do, and I was given a plan which was individualised to me personally, that allowed me to train pain free.

WLTF: What are your most and least favourite sessions?
 
CS: My favourite session would be the blocks sessions, as we begin to start getting ready to race. After a long, hard winter training block, its nice to get back to competitive running in training, which creates friendly competition throughout the group! My least favourite would be our speed endurance sessions on a Saturday morning.  My weakness is maintaining speed and form throughout the longer runs. At WLTF, we are always running at our maximum for speed endurance sessions and as a result I’ll usually be in bed by 9pm on a Saturday night!
 
WLTF: What do you think are the key components to performing at world class level? How is WLTF preparing you for this?
 
CS: I think the underpinning component, which I have discovered this previous season with WLTF, is mentality. The belief and the desire to achieve world class performance is what drives you day in and day out to work towards your goals in everything you do. Laura is very good at relaying this with her own experience of performing at world class level. Achieving world class performance is not just about what you do on the track, but what you do before, after and when you are not training. At WLTF, we receive guidance on diet, recovery, sleep and also encouraged to understand what works for us. I now understand it is about changing my lifestyle to work towards world class level, not just what I do at training.

Achieving world class performance is not just about what you do on the track, but what you do before, after and when you are not training. At WLTF, we receive guidance on diet, recovery, sleep and also encouraged to understand what works for us. I now understand it is about changing my lifestyle to work towards world class level, not just what I do at training.

WLTF: What is the most important change for you to make to improve again this season?
 
CS: My biggest change this year will need to be my mind-set throughout my training, recovery days and whilst racing. Quite often, I may find excuses as to why I cannot do this or why I don’t need to be able to do that. This year, if I am not able to do something, I will ask myself why and find a way that will allow me to do that rather than just settling for what I can already do. It’s the small details like this that can shave off important milliseconds in my sprint race.

Thank you very much for your time Clieo, we wish you a successful 2017 campaign!

You can follow Clieo's progress through WLTF social media and Clieo's twitter feed @ClieoRosellie