Glasgow 2014: Laura Weightman praises coach Steve Cram

By Gemma CollisBBC Newcastle
Laura Weightman celebrates as she crosses the line to win the 2014 British Championships
Weightman has come back from injury to regain the British title she last won in 2012
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Dates: 23 July to 3 August
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Scotland, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, tablets and mobiles

Laura Weightman has praised her coach Steve Cram as she targets medals at both this summer's Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

The two-time British 1500m Champion has worked with Cram since 2009.

Within that period she has taken 14 seconds off her personal best, reached an Olympic final and won silver at the European Team Championships.

"I wouldn't have made this kind of improvement without him guiding me," Weightman told BBC Newcastle.

Cram, himself a middle-distance runner, had a very successful career, which included Olympic silver, World, European and Commonwealth titles and numerous world records.

The Morpeth Harrier described her coach as having "been there and done that" and admitted she feels "very lucky" to have him by her side.

"He's achieved everything an athlete could ever want," added the 23-year-old.

"When I get to championships I feel quite relaxed because I've got him there by my side guiding me through them and believing in the training that we're doing."

Despite her progress, last season was ruined by a foot injury sustained during a fall at the British Championships.

The Leeds-based athlete continued on to the World Championships in Russia, where the impact of the fall was evident as she failed to progress past the first round, a long way off the form she found in 2012 to reach the Olympic final on her senior major championships debut.

"I think last year I didn't quite get to show the potential and the improvements that I made last winter due to the fall," she said.

"I think coming in to this year I've got a lot to make up for from that year and I think that really helps you to push forward and prepare for those championships."

Having recovered from the setback, Weightman has recorded personal bests both in the Pre-Fontaine Classic in May, and more recently at the Paris Diamond League meeting.

In Paris, she narrowly missed out on dipping below the four-minute mark, finishing in 4:00.17 just behind British compatriot Laura Muir, whom she has had a fierce rivalry with this season.

The duo also battled it out down the home straight for the British title, with Weightman that time coming out on top.

Muir, who will be competing for Scotland in Glasgow, is one of a number of athletes - including Hannah England - who represent a challenge to Weightman, with strong British competition across the middle distances.

"Domestic competition is hugely important because if you're the fastest by a long way you are not going to want to get out of bed to train in the morning," Weightman continued.

"You think you've got it easy but with it being so strong, you can't leave any stone unturned, you can't be lazy.

"You can't think 'Oh I can't be bothered today', because if you're not running you can be thinking 'Well they are going to be running so you better get out of bed and get up for this run'."

Weightman is relishing the opportunity to compete at both the Commonwealths and Europeans this summer, after sampling the Olympic experience two years previous.

"I'm in best shape of my life having run that fast in Paris and just last weekend in Glasgow I beat the very good Kenyan Helen Obiri," she said.

"That gives you the confidence that you are able to beat these athletes who last year you would have thought were far too far ahead of you to even challenge."

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