Katarina Johnson-Thompson relishing chance to train on her old stomping ground

Katarina Johnson-Thompson has been enjoying training on familiar territory after escaping her regular base in France during the coronavirus pandemic.

The reigning world champion heptathlete has been back home in Liverpool after the strict lockdown that had been in force in France forced her to relocate in order to keep up even basic training.

“It was difficult at the start for sure,” the 27-year-old said on Athletics: How Dina and Kat struck world gold, which will air on BBC 1 at 3pm this Sunday.

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Johnson-Thompson was crowned world champion in Doha in October (Martin Rickett/PA)

“It was a lot easier than being in France. I have my old running, stomping ground on Camp Hill in Liverpool. It’s a hill session – a ‘lactic death workout’ which I have been able to do, week-in, week-out.

“Then I have a mini gym in my basement. I have been able to keep up fitness quite well. But what I have been lacking are the technical work I am missing from my coach.”

Johnson-Thompson was hoping to be in the final stages of her preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, where she would have been looking to build on recent progress and better her sixth place from Rio four years ago.

But the IOC announced in March the Games will now not take place until the summer of 2021.

“When the Olympics were cancelled, I took that quite well,” she said. “I had weeks to expect that.

“But what I struggled the most with were the Europeans getting cancelled in Paris (scheduled for late August). Not even postponed but outright cancelled. That was tough for me. then I didn’t have any focus to train for.”

Dina Asher-Smith File Photo
Dina Asher-Smith has also had to change her routine during the pandemic (Martin Rickett/PA).

While Johnson-Thompson is training on familiar turf, lockdown has forced sprinter Dina Asher-Smith to change up her routine, with the 200m world champion focusing on endurance rather than speed during recent runs in a deer park.

“It was so unusual,” she said. “In a weird way, it was enjoyable. The sprinters always joke that we don’t understand how the longer-distance people go on those long runs.

“When the scenery is so pretty I was starting to understand it. Running in a park among deer is definitely not what I would normally be doing…

“It was strange but it was a peaceful change.”

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