''Motivated' McPherson'- Background prep sets the pace for 400m assault
Jamaican 400m standout Stephenie-Ann McPherson says she is looking ahead to the rest of the in expectancy after what she called her best preparatory background season ever, this after a morale-boosting second-place finish at the IAAF Diamond League in Shanghai on Saturday.
McPherson, the Commonwealth Games champion and two-time World Championships finalist, clocked a season best 50.98 to finish behind Bahamas' World Championships silver medallist, Shaunae Miller, 50.45, and ahead of experienced American, Natasha Hastings, 51.10.
The 27-year-old, who had earlier gotten her 400m campaign off and running with a 51.20 third-place finish at the Jamaica International Invitational inside the National Stadium, told The Gleaner that she has reported for the season in the best physical shape and expects the results to show.
She is, however, still trying to get things right where pacing herself and executing her race is concerned, a task that will be a focus of hers heading into the National Senior Championships.
"Normally, when it comes around to January, I tend to back off in training, but this year I had a serious talk with my coach (Stephen Francis), and he pointed out where I always go wrong because I always do fairly well in my background training, and when it comes to January I lose that a bit and end up losing a lot of speed and strength, so I have to work hard on keeping that," she said.
"I am working hard to keep myself healthy. I haven't missed any training, I have had a full background season, and so I am looking forward to see what this season will bring. Me not missing training and being healthy at this point is a big thing for me; I have never completed a full background season, and so I'm looking forward to the rest of the year," McPherson said.
The sprinter, who said she left last year's World Championships in Beijing with extra motivation after an encouraging performance - despite several injury setbacks - is now pushing on and says she is serious about improving the execution of her races as she looks to make better use of her speed and properly distribute her energy throughout the event.
"To compete in Beijing despite some serious injuries, my hamstring, my ankle - I hurt my ankle while walking down a step and that pushed me way back, I missed a lot of sessions. I would go to training one day and miss the rest of the week, so I was always in and out of training, so to compete like that, get to the final and come fifth and get a gold medal in the 4x400m, I am well motivated. I took a lot from that," McPherson said.
"I always think I can accomplish great things, but I always have a problem with execution. I am working really hard on that and on improving my technique. When I go out there most of the time, perhaps I am too excited, so I always start to run and go out too hard. So I am working really hard to control my speed because I am very fast and have done well in my 200m runs this season," McPherson added.