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“The training was hard, but not smart” – Former Cheltenham & County Harriers George Watson’s reflection on athletics in America

Former Cheltenham and County Harriers trained George Watson reflected upon his time over in America in the last two years, where he made some unforgettable memories.

“I had the time of my life. It was awesome. Met some awesome people. Went to some awesome places and got to go all in for running.

“It was a set up where, yes, I was studying a degree, but ultimately I was being paid to run. That took as much of a priority as the degree. It was a great set-up to really commit to that.”

Watson acquired a two-year sports scholarship at Bradley University in Illinois, and throughout his time in America, the major difference Watson found between the UK and America was the training patterns.

“The training was very different from now, it was very high in volume and not as forgiving, but I had less on my plate, so I could essentially absorb it a little bit easier.

“My body got more time to digest training in America. So it was a great two years to get super healthy, super fit and I had a great time, although I would say [with] the training; it was hard but it wasn’t necessarily smart, and that’s what I’m starting to learn a lot of now at Loughborough.”

George Watson competing in the British Milers Club 3,000m in Sheffield in early January

Currently working in Loughborough, after graduating from the University there, Watson trains under coaches Chris and Sonia McGeorge, and has found himself in a perfect position ahead of the summer track season starting in the coming months.

“I really believe in my coaches here, and we’re training so smart. In America, I had to be in pretty much 100% shape all year round, but here at Loughborough, I can be at 80/90% for most of the year, and then I’m hoping to be at 110-115% – ready for the summer.”

“In America, I constantly had to be on top form and mentally and physically it’s tiring, where here we’re playing a long term game, trying to catch the trajectory at the right time and try to be a little bit more tactical.”

The middle-distance runner has broken multiple senior men’s records at his former club. In the 3,000m (3km) outdoor race in 2023, Watson ran an impressive 7 minutes and 57 seconds, as well as 28 minutes and 49 seconds in a 10,000m outdoor event (10km).

To top off an experience of a lifetime, it was also a successful time in America for Watson, winning the Missouri Valley Conference Championship Men’s 5000m, with a time of 14 minutes and 27 seconds.

“America was fun, and I do miss it sometimes but equally I’m in the right place and I think doing the right things, but only time will tell.”

Watson continues to train and prepare for the upcoming races in the summer, alongside his working life.

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