2018 has been a season of euphoria mixed with disappointment for middle-distance runner Sarah McDonald.
From competing in the 1500m final at her first multi-sport games, to missing out on selection for the European Championships within just a matter of months, it’s been a rollercoaster year for the Birchfield Harrier.
However, after finishing the season with a succession of impressive PBs, McDonald has renewed optimism ahead of what promises to be a busy campaign in 2019.
“Obviously I’ve had some really big highs, but also some major lows,” said McDonald.
“Not making the European team for Berlin was a huge hit for me and I had to go away from that and reflect. I went and trained hard and relaxed a bit in myself and I came out with some huge times towards the end of the season.
“I ran a 2-second PB at the Birmingham diamond league and that was a huge moment for me. I ran a PB every race but two.”
In fact, such has been McDonald’s improvement over 1500m, that where she finished in 8th position in the Commonwealth Games final, her new PB of 4:03.17 would have instead earned her a bronze medal.
The task of peaking twice to be competition ready for this year’s Commonwealth Games in April, and then again for the European Championships in July, offered a difficult challenge to overcome. But is one that puts McDonald in good stead for 2019.
With the European Indoor Championships taking place in March and the World Championships in Doha happening much later than usual in October, the experience of conditioning for a double peak season will be vital for the 25-year-old’s preparations heading in to next year.
“It was hard to do a double peak because obviously you had to be track ready in April and then bounce back and be ready in July," added McDonald.
“Next season will be like that too because we’re looking at the World Championships in Doha being in October which is the complete opposite of what we’ve had this year.
“Obviously the calendar around the European races in the Diamond League doesn’t really change in preparation for Doha so you have to look at what you’re going to do in training and pick your races accordingly.”
Despite the unknown test of competing over an unusually extended season, McDonald will certainly be one to look out for next year with her new-found form leaving her more than capable of running medal contending times.