Exclusive: Jamie Webb on his hectic lifestyle, glory in Glasgow and his goals for 2019


Eat, sleep, run.

That's the philosophy of the indefatigable Jamie Webb who, fresh from his silver medal in Glasgow, has been sent hurtling back to reality and the world of teaching five times a week. It's perhaps an alien concept to some that a runner eyeing success on a global stage is having to balance his gruelling schedule with a full-time job, but Webb never takes his eye off the ball.

Reflecting on his remarkable lifestyle, Webb explained: "I teach all day and run after school on Monday; run before school on Tuesday and come to the track afterwards; teach all day on Wednesday with the gym and a run after; run on Thursday morning before school and then Richmond for hills in the evening.

"Friday is my rest day, which is nice, and with it being teaching, we always finish early! Then a Saturday morning session, Saturday afternoon run - I tend to be around Cambridge a lot of the time at the weekends and I get a bit of treatment there.

"Sunday morning running, gym session and then I start getting ready for school the next week. That's my week! Running and teaching, I don't get a lot of time outside of that."

The plan after Glasgow 2019

The Liverpool Harrier has been no stranger to success throughout his career, yet his cavaliering performance at the Emirates Arena was undoubtedly a breakthrough moment. Webb spoke to GiveMeSport just minutes after collecting his medal and sitting down with us one week on, that same smile was still tattooed across his face.

The setting certainly wasn't as glamorous, although the Millennium Arena in Battersea is a quiet hive of athletic passion on a Tuesday night. Despite climbing the podium with his European rivals, Webb was back to the weekly grind of training and upon starting his session, became camouflaged in amongst the middle-distance runners trying to emulate his success.

"My mind has started to switch on to the next thing now, building towards the summer and building towards the Worlds," he explained to us. "We've started this new training block on Sunday after a few easy days, a bit of junk food, chilling out and just spending some time with friends.

"I've been a normal person for five days and now I'm back into it. My mind is switched on for the summer and to be in the best shape possible!" 

2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships - Day Three

Athletics: A lonely sport?

But any normality in his training setting is not apparent in his mentality - an elite state of mind that allows the 24-year-old to light up the track over 800 metres. Webb will admit that glory in Glasgow has seen him reach 50% of his goals for 2019, yet a potentially life-changing 18 months are ahead with the World Championships in Doha and the Tokyo Olympics next year.

The quadrennial nature of athletics' flagship competition makes the title of 'Olympian' both a rare and treasured one, something Webb knows all-too well after missing out on Rio. "It can be a lonely sport. There was a point after last summer where I found it quite lonely - and that's why I jumped in with the Run Yard here," Webb remarked.

"It's a really good group here and that really helps, it stops it from being anywhere near as lonely. I do all my runs on my own but on Tuesday night and Thursday night hills I'm with these guys. It definitely helps having training partners and people to run, especially on the days when you're not feeling great. When you're in hard training, you can slot into the pack and grind out a session."

Webb contested an 'upside down pyramid' on the Tuesday night, starting with a 1,400m, incrementally working down to a 400m and then eventually climbing back to the start. Every stride of the way his coach Barry watched on with his whistle and stopwatch in hand, ensuring every recommended time was met and the pace was being adhered to. 

SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships - Day Two

The road to Doha 2019

Of course, there is a fine science to each and every training session, especially when Doha falls at the intersection of September and October. Webb is wisely planning to start his outdoor season late and is gunning to ensure he reaches the British Championships in peak condition.

"We've got a plan all the way until the start of the summer," Webb explained. "I think it goes without saying that it will be a late season, so if I want to be in Doha and making an impact, I can't be running a PB in May. It simply doesn't work, especially after an indoor season.

"The plan is to have the qualifying standard ticked off, make sure I'm in great shape for the trials and then organise a month-block before Doha so I can make an impact there. Most athletes you ask will be saying the same thing, it's about not rushing anything and building that base. My mind is on the next 12 weeks, our next block before we start grinding through the summer gears.

"It will be 12 weeks of being a 5k runner again and getting those winter miles in, which is slightly easier now that it's light in the morning!"

The strategy is in place, but Webb is under no illusion that the execution will simply come in tandem. His race tactics were far more polished over the weekend in Glasgow, ensuring that he played to his own strengths and didn't allow his rivals to force a slow race - something that proved costly in 2018.

23rd European Athletics Championships - Day Two

Getting better with every race

Webb uses a network of coaches - including his father - that break down every fine detail about his rivals, identifying their strengths and working to exploit any weaknesses. "I'm not prepared to be beaten in these slow, sit and kick races anymore. If they're going to beat me, I might as well have put everything on the line," he vowed with a steeliness in his voice.

"Before every round, we break down where we think everybody's strengths are, how they've ran races this season, where they ran their PBs and in what type of races they ran their PBs.

"Realistically, I'm not as quick as these guys over 100m but it's not a 100m race, so why let it be? Why not play to my strengths? Most of these guys can't run 14 minutes, they're not that quick over 5k, so I've got to play to my strengths instead of playing into someone else's hands. That's what I've learned these indoors, I think I've got better with every race."

From two meets in Birmingham to standing atop the podium in Glasgow, it's hard to argue with Webb's pride in improvement and it provides him with a perfect springboard for the summer. Juggling life in and out of the classroom won't be easy, but we can certainly vouch for Webb's determination to achieve something special in Doha.

It will be far warmer on the Persian gulf, yet with each stride on a cold night in Battersea, the closer Webb becomes to a truly memorable 2019.  

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