sport

Ohuruogu's tough balancing act

Christine Ohuruogu admits she will have to tone down her competitive drive this year in order to prolong her career.

The world 400 metres champion is still determined to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer, but knows she has to have one eye on preparing for the defence of her global crown in Beijing the following year.

Ohuruogu opened her outdoor season with a 200m run at the BT Great CityGames in Manchester on Saturday, her 30th birthday, which yielded a third-placed finish in 24.06 seconds.

"I've been running for 10 years now and pushing 400m for 10 years is incredibly hard on the body," she said.

"Very few athletes can do that. I've been running world-class times for 10 years and I think at some point you have to be realistic and say, 'We have to give the body enough time to rest'.

"I'm trying to look to push again for another three years. And those three years are probably going to be even harder than the last lot has been.

"Everything I'm doing now is just to make sure I can get it right for next year. So this year's a bit of a juggling act, trying to do enough to stay relatively fit, but not too much that I take away from preparation for next year.

"It's very hard, because I only know one way to work and that's to go at it full throttle. So to kind of say, 'Ok, you have to try and turn the notch down a little bit', I don't really have any idea how I'm going to do it.

"Me and my coach (Lloyd Cowan), this is a new experience for both of us.

"We have to try and be sensible, but obviously you don't want to fall off the radar too much so you don't have anything for next year.

"I definitely want to be part of the Commonwealth Games."

The Londoner is not yet sure exactly what being "sensible" entails, but it has included a fashion change - saying goodbye to her beloved high heels.

"I didn't probably do as much of the winter as I could have done because of my love of wearing heels," she said.

"I messed my knees up. I love my six-inch heels, so my knees couldn't quite cope with the running.

"They are fine now, but I'm getting old now, so everything is creaking.

"I think I've got to stop wearing heels or make them a little bit shorter, because my event is hard and it's a lot of impact on the body."

Her only indoor appearances were in the 4x400m relay at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot in March and Ohuruogu admitted she might have to call time on indoor competitions for the sake of her fitness.

That fitness is not at the level it typically would be at this point of the season, but Ohuruogu is confident it will be on track by the time the Commonwealths arrive in Glasgow.

Ohuruogu has two world titles, an Olympic gold and silver and a Commonwealth crown over 400m, as well as the British record, to her name and knows competitive instinct alone will not be enough to add another medal to the collection.

"You can be as enthusiastic as you want, but if you haven't done the work you've got no hope and no amount of enthusiasm is going to help you. I have full confidence I'll be fine. I don't have any doubts whatsoever."

Next up for the Londoner is the inaugural IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas next weekend.