25 NOV 2013 Feature Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Work, rest and play – Luguelin Santos

Luguelin Santos at the 2013 IAAF World Championships (Getty Images)Luguelin Santos at the 2013 IAAF World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright

In the latest in our series where we delve into the work, rest and play of a leading athlete, we focus on Luguelin Santos, who is among the world’s best 400m runners.

The athlete from the Dominican Republic got the silver medal over one lap at the 2012 Olympics and followed that up with the 400m bronze at the 2013 IAAF World Championships.

Luguelin will be bidding to get on the 400m podium again, and hopefully stand on the top step at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, which take place in Sopot, Poland, from 7-9 March.

Luguelin at work


What is your favourite training session?

Luguelin Santos: 4x200m at 24.0 seconds with 30 seconds rest. I like this session because I know if I have done it well, it signals that I'm ready to compete and that I am in top shape.


What is your least favourite training session?

LS: 2x450m at 90-92 per cent with 10 minutes rest, because it's difficult for me find the rhythm of the distance to achieve good times.


What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?

LS: To understand know more about different countries cultures. To stay healthy, physically and mentally.
To serve as a motivation and inspiration to others.


Where is your favourite training venue?

LS: In the mountains of Rancho Guaraguao in Constanza in the Dominican Republic. It is situated more than 1700 metres above sea level.


What is the worst thing about being an athlete?

LS: For me, being an athlete is a blessing from God, I like this life, but the worst thing for me is when I can't do a workout as my coach instructs.

Luguelin at rest


What is your favourite music to chill to?

LS: My favourite music to chill to is the likes of Laura Pausini, Adele and Bruno Mars.


Describe your perfect day without training.

LS: I’d wake up at noon, eat some dumplings (Dominican style) and then watch TV with my coach and teammates all afternoon. I would then go to the beach, relax, eat some fish at the beach and go back home on the evening to watch some TV and relax again.


What is your favourite stress reliever?

LS: My favourite stress reliever is to go to the movies with my friends and play video games.


If you could pick any other athlete in the world to relax with, who would it be and why?

LS: Jeremy Wariner (the 2004 Olympic and 2005 and 2007 world 400m champion) because he's my athletics hero. I would like to spend all day talking to him about his great career, and his good and bad life experiences.


Where is your favourite place to relax?

LS: My favourite place to relax is to sit down on the stadium stairs, when nobody is there. I look at the track and see the past, present and my future of my life.

Luguelin at play


What are your first memories of playing video games and when did your passion start?

LS: My passion for video games started at the age of six when a friend of mine had the Mario Bros game. I remember playing Mario Bros, although after about one minute the video game screen said Game Over. I tried to continue playing the game but I didn’t know how to restart the game and I felt rather sad.


Do you have a favourite video game?

LS: Of course, Fast and Furious (a car game).


Does your background in athletics help your video-game-playing skills?

LS: Yes, because when I was young I had to fight to survive many adversities in my life and normally all the video games have a similar goal: beat adversity to achieve success.


How often do you play video games?

LS: In the past, it was every day. But now, on the recommendation of my coach, I only play video games at the weekend, on a plane or in my hotel room to relax.


Do you ever play athletics video games and are you any good?

LS: Yes, the Olympic Games video game and my favourite event is, of course, the 400m. I also enjoy playing the 100m and triple jump.


If you played an athletics video game over 400m between you and Olympic 400m champion Kirani James, who would win?

LS: In a close race, I would be the winner. Ha ha ha ha!


Steve Landells for the IAAF