Photo: Dan Vernon
Name: Jordan Williamsz
Sport: Track and Field – 1500m
Years in the sport: I’ve been in the sport a very long time. I’ve probably been taking it seriously for about 8 years.
How did you get started in your sport?
It’s actually a cool story. I had a teacher when I was in the fourth grade that was, lets call it, ‘old school.’ He was pretty tough on us but in a good way. He realized pretty early on that I was very active and sometimes had a hard time paying attention to the task at hand. So he started to meet me before the day started and had me run, suicides on the basketball court or a lap of the cross country course were common. I guess I just got fit doing that every day, by the time school cross country came around I was really fit.
Goals for this year?
This year has just come to an end for us. But next year is Commonwealth Games; I’m hoping to be really competitive in the final for that. Also I think we will have a crack at rewriting my book of personal records – a few of them are looking a little dated at this point.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
It’s important to look forward and set goals for yourself, but five years might be just a little far for me to predict at the moment. I am looking no further than the Olympics in 2020.
I don’t really have a favorite athlete, I see different attributes in different athletes that I admire. Right now I’d have to say that Sally Pearson is someone I really admire. At world champs in London this year it was incredible to watch her prepare for the competition – so focused and so driven, she was always going to win. The level of professionalism she showed I’m not sure I’ll see it ever again.
What has been your biggest challenge as an athlete and how did you overcome it?
I had a really poor year in 2016, I thought that it may very well be the end of me in the sport. I finished college, got nowhere near the Olympics qualifying mark and thought there wasn’t much room for improvement. I came back after some time off, took it one step at a time and just got back to the basics with my new coach – he was able to get me out of the hole I was in.
The best advice that you have been given?
We were lucky enough to prepare for the championship this year in Avila, Spain, and helping us out there was Arturo Casado. A very good athlete in his day, European Champion no less, now holds a PhD in Sports Psychology. He drilled it into my head that anybody is good enough to overcome whatever they find in front of them, you just have to believe it. It sounds super cliché, but its true and I think it worked for me a lot this year – some belief takes you a long way.
If you were not an athlete, what would you be doing?
That’s a tough one, because I don’t really know anything other than being an athlete. I studied business at Villanova University, so maybe something to do with that.
No hobbies really, Track is very consuming so it makes the rest of it pretty difficult. I read a bit.
I like bands like The National, Interpol, Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I guess you could say Alternative music.
Right now I’m pretty heavy into the Game Of Thrones books. My favorite author is probably Hemingway, but I’ll give anything a go.
What does a typical day of training look like?
We will go for a Tuesday here: I wake up at 7-7.30 depending where I am, have a coffee and a few slices of toast with vegemite and then make my way to training. Training starts at 9.30, a typical Tuesday session is 8x1000m in 2.55 with 1 minute break between. Usually, we finish up around 11.30 where I make my way home and sort out some lunch. Next part of the day gets going around 3.30 so I try and rest and maybe take a nap if I can, or catch up with mates for a coffee. At 3.30 I get into the gym and do some strength and core work, I try and spend an hour in the gym if I can. 5.30 I get out for an afternoon run of around 7km or 30 minutes, this run is very important to help you recover from the session and gym. For the rest of the day I will take dinner and then relax. Tuesdays are bigger days so I’m generally pretty tired by the end of it.
Anything people be surprised to learn about you?
My Dad was born in Sri Lanka. I have pretty fair skin so it’s hard to tell, but he was. My father’s entire side of the family packed up and left Sri Lanka in search of a more stable way of life in 1965. My Grandmother actually held the Sri Lankan national record in the high jump at one point.
What is the funniest thing has happened to you/others while training?
I’m lucky to train with a solid group of guys, they always manage to keep it interesting.
Any pre-competition rituals?
No rituals at all really. We spend so much time on the road, you learn quickly to lose any superstitions or rituals you might hold. Chances are you will not be able to keep them up all the time.
Best movie and tv series?
Game Of Thrones of course.
Favourite food while training?
Bananas and eggs are a staple for me. This year I got really into smoothies, so usually I make one of them each day.
Results you’re most proud of?
London world champs this year. Penn Relays in 2015 is a close second.
What inspires you?
I don’t know to be honest. There’s no specific thing that drives me. I find motivation on lots of things. I guess I just really like winning.
What do you enjoy most about your sport?
I like the travel we get to do. I spent about 6 months out of Australia this year and I really enjoyed it. When I went away to college I dropped any notion of homesickness I had, and just widened my focus a bit. A lot of people would do anything to do what I do, that certainly helps me to appreciate it.
Advise that you have for someone starting the sport?
Get a really good coach and put all your faith in them. The less you have to concern yourself about, the better you will be. My coach Nic takes on a bit for us so that we can focus solely on running.
What is the most crucial part of your training?
The volume and threshold. As long as the volume is up around 150km per week and at least one quality threshold session, I know I can do really well.
Anyone you would like to thank?
Nic Bideau, my coach, has worked wonders with me and will continue to do so. Nike also has been great with all their support the last year.