LaShawn Merritt

Full domestic season on tap this spring for Merritt

Olympic 400m champion LaShawn Merritt anchors home USA 'RED' in 2009 Penn Relays (Kirby Lee)Olympic 400m champion LaShawn Merritt anchors home USA 'RED' in 2009 Penn Relays (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

After a winter and spring training regimen that he describes as his most intense ever, Olympic 400m champion Lashawn Merritt has resumed competition, and for the most part is very pleased with his progress.

“I ran my first 400 (44.50) about two weeks ago in Guadeloupe. It was pretty cool. My calf was a little tight before the race so I didn’t want to overdo it. I could have gone a little harder but didn’t want it to cramp up. But I felt really good after the race. Mid-44 was what I was shooting for and I pretty much got it on the nose! The 400 is a race where you have to work into getting into your rhythm so it was a good start. I feel good about the season.”

“I actually opened the season with a 20.17 in the 200, and I was also pleased with that. I just wanted to test things, and you can’t complain about a 20.17 in April.”

“I also anchored the winning USA team at the Penn Relays a few weeks ago. It was great! I always enjoy the Penn Relays. Even though we didn’t have our ‘A’ team and the Jamaicans didn’t have their ‘A’ team, it was just great for the USA team to come and win. It’s kind of a boost for the American team.”

“I’m healthy and feeling good, my training’s going well, my diet’s going well. I’m stronger physically and mentally than I was last year.”

“I’ve got a busy spring coming up. I’m running the 200 at the adidas Track Classic (16 May) this weekend, the 400 at the Reebok Grand Prix (30 May) in New York, a 300 at the Prefontaine Classic (7 June) and then the 400 at nationals. I actually hold the sea-level best in the 300, but I’m not sure yet what we’ll be gunning for there.”

“But I’m really focused on the world championships. I’ve never won a world championship, and everything is pointing to that so when I get to Berlin I’ll be ready.”

“Before the season we don’t really put an emphasis on time goals with my coach. Last year we improved to 43.75, so this year I’d like to get 43-mid, or 43.3 or 43.4. But that’s not even that important as long I win the race.”

“We’re just spending a lot of time going over races. And learning more about races. Everything needs to be improved, from start to finish – body position, hitting a certain zone. I’m still learning the race. And I’m still learning myself in the race.”