“I do feel lighter and faster but I don’t know if that’s the weight per se. I think that’s also been a peripheral point to getting in some really good training. If you’re training well and you’ve got enough volume the weight falls off you.
“I’m definitely the strongest I’ve ever been, all my training data suggests I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been. The key thing is, can you do it when it counts, in competition?”
Browning admits last year he over-thought his running, which might sound odd for the most basic of athletic events that only asks you to run in a straight line as fast as you can for 100 metres. But, like a golfer thinking of everything about their swing except hitting the ball, Browning admits to being consumed with technical points of his set-up, start and body position and less about being mentally free to just do what comes naturally.
“You can’t focus on those fine motor skills when you’re trying to massively exert power in this really graceful way,” he said.
“This year I’m trying to keep it really simple. Get out and get into the spirit of competing and enjoy it.”
“I’d probably only be two kilos lighter than I train at. I’m not the sort of athlete who deviates weight much, I used to train at 79, compete at 77. Now I train at 77 and I don’t necessarily see myself deviating from there.″
Browning, who has a PB of 10.01 seconds and is routinely close to breaking 10 seconds (he broke 10 once with an illegal tailwind), has made the semi-finals at the Olympics and world championships and won three national titles. He has been the poster boy for athletics for years.
He was excited for her and what she can become but also even at just 26 he could offer her avuncular advice about the non-linear path for teenage athletes.
“It takes a long time. I’m in my 10th year of being a full-time athlete, training six days a week, totally devoted to the sport and I feel that I’m just getting to reap the benefits. Now I feel like I’m entering the peak years. I’m 26 so I should be.
“I remember when I was 16 and I ran that wind-assisted 10.18 in that well-known race with Jack [Hale] and I was thinking ’10.18 this year, a year ago my best was 11.1, next year I’ll run sub-10 no problem’. That just seemed liked the next step.
“But it just doesn’t work like that, progression isn’t linear.
“When you get to the top of that curve of diminishing returns it just gets harder and harder.
“That can also be the curse of getting that perfect day with perfect conditions where all the stars align and you run really well. That’s really impactful but it can be hard to get back there.”
Browning and Lewis will run at the Maurie Plant Meet in Melbourne on Thursday night at Laskeside Stadium in Albert Park.
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