Tom Bosworth is a Team GB 20km Race Walker and four times British Record Holder! (Most recently, Tom won the British indoor 3km race on Sunday 2nd Feb!)
Tom’s personal bests in the walks are better than most seasoned runners! Just take a look at these:
- 3k 10:58
- 5k 19:00.73
- 10k 39:36
- 20k 1:22:20
Pretty awesome if you ask me!
If you are new to racewalking, then this might help you out:
Racewalking is an event that combines the endurance of the long distance runner with the attention to technique of a field eventer. Race walking is different from running because it requires the competitor to maintain contact with the ground at all times. It also requires the competitors leading leg to be straightened as the foot makes contact with the ground, and to remain straight until it passes under the body. This is why racewalkers look so different to runners! During races, there are judges who assess whether athletes abide by these rules, and the judges can disqualify athletes who don’t follow them! Tom explains this all in more detail below!
We recently interviewed Tom to find out a little more about him, his training, his racing and his plans for 2016. Read on to find out more:
1. Can you start us off by explaining, very briefly, what the rules of race walking are?
So the race walkers have to abide to the one rule that is made up of two parts on which judges are positioned around the course to ensure you are abiding to. You can receive a caution (this is the judge indicating to the athlete with a paddle that they are in danger of breaking the rules) by a judge for either “breaking contact with the ground”, meaning you always must have one foot in contact with the ground to the human eye. If the judge thinks you are not then they will give you an official “warning”.
The other part of the rule is the athlete must land with a straight leg, this eliminates the drive at the knee which you’d get if you were running. This is often known as the “bent knee rule”. Again the judges can give an official warning for this too if they feel the athlete is landing with a bent leg. Each judge can only put in one warning for each athlete. If an athlete receives 3 warnings from 3 different judges then they are disqualified.
2. How long have you been race walking? What got you started?
I joined Tonbridge AC in 2001 when I was 11. I joined a running group, whilst my sister did some race walking with the group at the club. A year later I joined the walking group as I wanted to give it a go. I ran and walked for many years until I specialised in race walking in 2009.
3. What do you think has been the single biggest game-changer in terms of your training?
Mental and physical strength. Over the last 5 or 6 years I’ve built up my endurance strength so now I can maintain the high speeds, and hopefully break more records! I’ve always been strong mentally, so that just came naturally.
4. What is your favorite session?
It all hurts, but there’s nothing better than finishing a big session such as 5x 3k/1k. The session works where you try and go as fast as you can for 3k, then taking it easy for 1k. You repeat that 5 times. It hurts, but it’s a key session that makes a big difference for me.
5. Do you have a least favorite session?
Sometimes you can have a bad session at any point in the week, and that could be due to fatigue or sometimes you just don’t feel like pushing your body that day. In those sessions you just have to focus on completing it. That could be anything from a steady 10k walk, to a speed session on the track, or an easy run at the end of the day.
6. What do you think is the key to your success?
Persistence. I never thought I’d get to this level and just love surprising my self. There must be some natural aerobic talent in me somewhere to have achieved what I have, but I need to keep working hard to move onto that very top level.
7. Is there anything that would surprise people about your diet?
I probably don’t eat as “healthy” as many think. I have done a lot of work in recent years on my diet and I enjoy eating really healthily, but trying to fit 4000 calories in a day is never easy, so it means I get to eat lots of carbs every day. I try to get 10 pieces of fruit and veg and 3-4 litres of fluid in on a normal day. I’m also trying to eat more oily fish at the moment too. I’ve studied sports exercise nutrition at masters level so know enough to keep me moving in the right direction.
8. What is your favorite pre/post-workout snack/ meal?
I’m currently addicted to making smoothies post training. Straight through the door I go to the blender and throw fresh fruit, veg and seeds and love experimenting with flavours, keeps it interesting and has made a huge difference to my recovery.
9. What is your biggest vice?
I love a Chinese take out after a race as a big of celebration with a glass of wine or two!
10. What races do you have lined up over the next few months?
I will do a few 20k races once I have finished with the indoor season. I will race across Europe before racing the World Race Walking Cup in Rome in May. Then another big block of training through June, altitude training in July before the Olympic Games in August.
11. Have you got any advice for aspiring race walkers?
Enjoyment must come first. Remember that many people cannot run as fast as you can walk! Being slow as a junior athlete means nothing, give it time and keep training hard!
12. Anything else you’d like to share?
Thanks for showing interest into the day to day goings on of a race walker. Balancing training and Physio/massage and media along with visits to the sport psychologist makes it a busy lifestyle. I’m lucky I don’t have to work because I’m on lottery funding, however am looking for sponsors for the 2016 season.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram, like my Facebook page and subscribe to my YouTube channel, so everyone can follow my journey to Rio Olympics and beyond! Thanks again!