Tim Adams speaks to a highly experienced international sprinter who has no intention of slowing down just yet

Age: 33; Coach: Benke Blomkvist

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey is a two-time Commonwealth and European champion, as well as being a world medallist. He holds six major championship medals spanning nine years and doesn’t plan on bringing his sprinting career to an end anytime soon.

All of his major success has come either in the 100m or 4x100m relay and his personal best over the distance is 10.08. His aim in 2022 is to go under 10 seconds for the first time in his career.

The 33-year-old also holds sprint masterclasses and recently led a group in Southwark in conjunction with online training platform Withu. He is keen to pass on the expertise and experience gained through his career from coaches such as Raina Reider and the late Lloyd Cowan.

“It was really nice to get people down from different backgrounds, whether that be in running itself or just fitness fanatics,” says Aikines-Aryeetey of the evening during which he covered form, specific speed and power drills, starts and the first three steps and speed maintenance.

“A lot of people gave me feedback on how enjoyable it was to do something different. I think what they took away from it was just understanding how to move their body and training in another way.

“I wanted to create a bit more community around track. Athletics itself I think is lacking something like this. If you look at the CrossFit or runners community, typical sprint work doesn’t have that so it was nice that people have enjoyed it to the degree they did.”

Harry-Aikines-Aryeetey in Manchester (Mark Shearman)

The 2020 British men’s 100m champion has had to endure a quieter 2021 after pulling up and being stretchered off at the European Indoor Championships in Toruń back in February.

The multiple targets of World Championships, Commonwealth Games and European Championships to aim for in 2022 have helped him to stay focused, however.

“I want to run sub-10 and be as competitive as possible,” he says. “I want to be present at every championships and be consistently within those boundaries, running 10.0s and 9.90s. If I do that then I’ll be in a good spot to make the team.

“Then it’s about being as competitive as possible and being part of the relay team to then win some medals.”

Favourite session 

“Blocks I’m all over. Competitive work is really important for me as it gets me up to the point where I need to be. It’s something that I’ve struggled with over the past few seasons, when I’ve been training by myself during Covid, and it’s always a nice way to prepare yourself with a group.

“You get an opportunity to work on these things under pressure. When you work on these movements you think you’re in the best shape of your life and then you go to a race and you’re like ‘woah, what just happened?’.

“Most people know my favourite session is about 3x120s with about 10-12 minutes in-between. That’s like my taster session if you like before most competitions and it lets me know at the end of the camp where I’m at as I know I can hit certain times in that session.”

Least favourite session 

“My least favourite sessions are usually during the winter and they’re 250/300ms. I’m asthmatic and I’m also fairly dense in muscle so I get a lot of lactic and my lungs struggle.”

Training panel

A typical training week 

Aikines-Aryeetey is based in Sutton & District Athletics Club and is guided by Benke Blomkvist.

Monday: Acceleration with a bit of gym afterwards

Tuesday: A double day where you usually carry fatigue into the next day. It’s normally speed endurance depending on what time of year and session it is.

Wednesday: Gym day with the majority of ballistic movements I need to do

Thursday: Recovery day

Friday: Sprinting on the track

Saturday: Gym day

Sunday: Rest day

For Aikines-Aryeetey, training volume differs depending on the time of year. From October to December, the focus is on greater volume and rebuilding engine capacity. Towards the end of December, however, he adds a little bit of speed, working towards February and the indoor season.

» For the latest athletics news, events coverage and updates, check out the AW homepage and our social media channels on TwitterFacebook and Instagram