One of the fastest woman in Europe over 100m

Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova is one of the fastest woman in Europe over 100m, she has won the crown at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki in July. At London 2012, she made it to the semi-finals of both the 100 and 200 respectively, only just missing out on the final in both cases.

She is still the tenth fastest woman of all time, having run 10.77 for the 100m.

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How did she become an athlete?

As a child in Sophia Ivet discovered an old tracksuit that belonged to her father who was also a sprinter. He told her that if she wanted one, she would have to become a good athlete.

It wasn’t long before she was making progress and started training seriously. From the beginning Lalova knew there were sacrifices to be made.

You have to grab whatever you can from life. I come from a country where young people are wild, want to party and try everything. But for me there was never that choice… you choose to be ok and go training tomorrow, or choose to go out and party tonight.

Moving to a new environment

Lalova now lives in Italy and explained that it wasn’t an easy move – she had to move away from family and friends and from her old coach who had become like a second father to her.

She’s now trained by one of the top sprint coaches in the world professor Roberto Bonomi in Rieti. Lalova tells us how Bonomi is a great person and coach.

To be a good coach you must be a good psychologist and I see that in Professor Bonami. He knows just by looking at you at 10am how you are today!

Finding motivation

Bonami realised that Lalova needed motivation, as her times had not been improving as they should, “I need stimulation to keep working, for example  he brought another female sprinter into the group to train with us. He knows that her presence would push me to give my best, even if I say, ‘no, no, I’m not running with her!”

In Rieti she trains in a big group that contains Collio and top long jumper Andrew Howe, she believes that this has helped her improve over the last year.

Ivet Lalova_3Training

Lalova trains five times a week, there’s perhaps not surprisingly a big emphasis on running. “In the group we do a lot of running, everyday we are running, whereas in Bulgaria we did it maybe three times a week. It’s always quite competitive and running with the boys means you can never really take it easy”.

Over striding runs & transitions

Included in Lalova’s training are ‘over striding’ runs, where the athlete makes a conscious effort to make each step slightly longer than their normal stride length. This is similar to bounding but the phases are not as long.

She also works hard on ‘transitions’, which involves running slowly and then switching to high speed very quickly.

This can be done in a variety of ways, such as running ‘slow into quick’, ‘quick, slow, quick’, and ‘slow, quick, slow’, for example. The main aim of this running is to trigger the fast twitch muscle fibres into working optimally – applying more power and therefore more speed.

Weight training

Weight training is something she and the group work on, particularly squats, but this is mainly done in the Winter, outside of the competitive season.

Lalova believes that when racing, staying focused is the key to running fast. “When I’m running in a big competition, I don’t look at anyone, not the crowd, not other competitors, I just focus on my running.”

Ivet Lalova’s profile

DoB: 18/5/1984
100pb: 10.77
Career Highlights
– 4th Olympics 2004 100m
– Gold European Championships 100m 2012
– Gold European Championships 200m 2005
– Gold European juniors championships 100 & 200m 2003

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