Feeling inspired as we enter Olympic and Paralympic year? Elite stars offer advice for readers wanting to further their own athletics careers or push on in their training

While the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the target for the world’s top athletes this year, they will also have a number of other goals and a lot of experience and knowledge to share.

Here a number of track and field stars offer their advice for our readers who wish to further their own athletics careers or push on in their training.

Two-time Olympic and four-time world triple jump champion Christian Taylor

“The piece of advice I would give is to make sure to love what you do. A lot of people confuse this with something being fun. Being a professional athlete or collegiate athlete isn’t always fun and there are so many things that come into play, but if you LOVE what you do then you will always find a way to get better, to push through when others won’t, and to eventually reach your goals.”

World 50km champion and world record-holder Aly Dixon

“Don’t be scared to change things but don’t make massive changes all at once. If you plan on increasing training loads or introducing new elements do it gradually one part at a time so that you can monitor progress and adjust where necessary and always remember that rest is just as important as hard workouts – it’s where the adaptations and gains occur so don’t neglect it!”

Two-time world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm

“Trust the process and make sure you have plenty of fun.”

Photo by Mark Shearman

British hammer record-holder Nick Miller

“The one piece of advice I would give is to set both big and small goals. It’s easy to get lost when you can’t see the end result coming. But if you set small goals along the way to your big goal then you can see the improvements happening and it helps to stay focused and for you to enjoy the process.”

Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi

“Keeping doing what you love. I think it applies for those pursuing an Olympic dream, those just running for their health and those that just like to watch our sport. Nothing keeps you healthier and happier than doing what you love so keep doing that!”

Multiple World Para Athletics sprint champion and world record-holder Sophie Hahn

“The harder you work in winter training the better prepared you will be going into competition season and the success will come. Be the best that you can be.”

2019 British 200m No.1 Miguel Francis

“Be happy with your small achievements in training. It will all add up as the season goes on.”

World long jump finalist Abigail Irozuru

“See every challenge as an opportunity or a gift and control the controllables, for example your response to situations, whether than situation is good or bad. And … smile and be thankful, ALWAYS!”

World 1500m finalist Jake Wightman

“It’s the tough days that make you. The sessions where you don’t feel great, the weather is bad and it’s your least favourite session, are the ones that will give you the biggest rewards.”

British pole vault record-holder Holly Bradshaw

“Find a way to keep it fun. Many people think you need to be super serious to succeed but the way to success is through enjoyment and fun. When I take things too seriously, I overthink everything and force it and I end up doing worse!”

Photo by Mark Shearman

World Para Athletics Championships T64 high jump gold medallist Jonathan Broom-Edwards

“Challenge yourself to see training and the ability to push yourself to your limits as a privilege rather than a chore. Our minds can be our greatest assets if we spin the mindset to an opportunistic one rather than a defeatist mentality. Friction allows us to grow, so help your mind get used to the toughness of training by pushing beyond the initial barrier your mind will put up when it tells you you can’t do it, and go get it.”

Welsh half-marathon record-holder Charlotte Arter

“Consistency is key. Focus on the process of your training and the results will show.”

World Para Athletics Championships T36 800m champion Paul Blake

“Although racing has been my life, life is not a race. Enjoy every moment as you work towards your goals big or small.”

Scottish record-holder and world 5000m finalist Eilish McColgan

“Join a local running group or arrange to meet up with a friend. It will make you accountable to your running goals if you know there are others motivating you to do the same!”

European indoor 800m silver medallist Jamie Webb

“I find targets make everything easier. Set a goal you’re working towards and hit the stepping stones along the way. Consistency is key!”

» If you’re looking for training tips and advice remember to check out our dedicated performance section online here

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