A year in review by James Ellington
Community is an important element that makes up Lifeplus. That’s why we’re so committed to driving initiatives that help others to succeed – on every level. And we’re delighted that our continued partnership with Olympic athlete, James Ellington, enables us to support his comeback through our quality products and enthusiastic community.
James continues to inspire us all with his journey. Recently we’ve sat down with him to find out how he’s feeling after his first year back competing following his crash in 2017. Read the full interview below to discover his 2021 highlights and find out what is coming up for him.
Catching up with James Ellington…
What three words best describe how you’re feeling at the start of 2022?
Excited, hungrier and determined.
How do you think 2021 went for you?
From everybody else’s perspectives, it probably went better than they believe as I still managed to rank top 20 in the UK. From my perspective, it was a disappointing season because I expected more. But at the same time, I understood that my body had to adapt to my first competitive season back. It just needed time and I can’t be too hard on myself. It just means I’m more ready than ever for this year.
What are your highlights from 2021?
It has to be my first race back last year which I won with a time of 10.39. It was a great start to the season!
What was your experience like for your first year back competing?
It was good to be back, it felt like I was back at home where I should be. I thought I’d feel a lot more, but I think the reason that I didn’t is because I know there’s a lot more to come.
What would you say is the best part about competing?
The best part about competing is fulfilling your potential and this is different for each race I take part in. If there are big names in my race, the adrenaline is stronger along with the fight.
What do you do to calm your nerves while you compete?
To be honest I don’t like to calm my nerves, I like to keep them because I run better when I’m nervous. If I’m standing on the start line and I’m too calm or relaxed, that’s when I’d be worried.
What was your experience as an athlete competing during a pandemic?
I had already been out of competing for 2-3 years. I wasn’t able to do as much on the track until last year so it probably didn’t affect me as much as other athletes that were in the season competing at the height of the pandemic. The biggest challenge for me was finding the time to travel, following the restrictions and quarantining in time for each race. As I’m not being funded, I technically don’t have the ‘elite athlete’ status which governed you to travel freely for races. This was a disadvantage for me as I missed out on vital training time compared to other athletes.
How was it training in Dubai Vs training in the UK?
The good thing was the weather but the disadvantage I had was that I didn’t have a training group to run with in Dubai. Every now and again, my friends would train with me but it’s not the same. I would definitely pick the training group over the weather.
What are your goals this year?
My goals this year are to be Britain’s number 1 sprinter again – and this is something I see as realistic. I also want to make every team for the big competitions coming up – Commonwealth, European and World Championships.
Do you set these goals independently or with your coach, friends or family?
Usually I set them by myself. I don’t really sit down and write them down, although it’s good to visualise them. They’re already in my head and I probably do say them out loud which my family have got used to over the years.
What drives you to set them?
I would say it’s very much down to my competitive nature. In the past, I’ve had people that have put me down but it’s made me push myself even more. That’s what drove all my success in 2016. I believed in myself when I was kicked off funding in 2015 and I said I’d be back the following year. If you’ve got something, you know. The pressure I put on myself is always realistic, it’s more about believing in myself.
What are your next steps?
I have my first race back on the 13th February then I have a big block of training, just before the Spring/pre-season part of the year comes to life. At the end of March/beginning of April, I’m flying out to Tenerife for a 4-week training camp. It will be my first time back there since my crash which is crazy. After Tenerife, the season kicks off!
What are your favourite Lifeplus products? Has this changed at all since you’ve started using them?
There are so many products, I’ve sampled lots. I love the Solis powders (specifically the Raw Cacao and Green Medley). I didn’t take the Solis products for two weeks and I noticed the difference. When I have them, I notice the difference instantly mentally and throughout the day, I feel the physical benefits. I also like the bars and take the protein shakes every day to support with training.
With vitamins, I have my fish oils on repeat order, as well as the vitamin D&K and iron – they’re my go-to everyday essentials.
What are you looking forward to most about working with Lifeplus again this year?
I’m looking forward to the ongoing support and the genuine feeling I get with the sponsorship. I’m really looking forward to attending some Lifeplus events (fingers crossed) and finally getting to meet the community in-person!
The products also keep me going and do wonders for my body. Training everyday really does take its toll on your body. There isn’t a magic pill that fixes that, it’s about consistently taking your supplements to keep going.
What does the day in the life of James look like recently?
I’m either on the track, at the gym or sat on my sofa recovering. I’m training so hard at the moment, I can’t really do much else. My training days are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and the other days are for recovery.
Will you be taking up any new hobbies this year?
When I have more time, I always wanted to take up golf. I love being in nature and in the outdoors and it seems like a peaceful sport. But the only thing is, I know if I start, I’d want to get into it properly and that’s when my competitive side comes out.
How does being an athlete inspire you to do good?
It gives me discipline, integrity and commits myself to something – which can all be transferred into everything else you do in your life. I could only look myself in the mirror if I knew I was doing something completely genuine.
Follow James’ next steps…
2022 looks like it could be a huge year for James and we’re excited to follow, support and get inspired by every step of his journey. You can find out all about James’ approach to nutrition, mental strength and resilience by reading through his articles here. And don’t forget to follow our social media channels to see how he’s getting on and what exciting plans we have coming up in this partnership with Lifeplus. Just like James’ ambition, the opportunities are truly endless!