What It's Actually Like To Train With Professional Athletes

Not as scary as you'd think

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If you think walking into a room with two sets of very young, incredibly talented athlete twins (all with legs that go on forever) is a little intimidating, imagine what it’s like to go training with them.

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Cheriece and Shannon Hylton, both 18, and Lina and Laviai Nielson, both 19, who are fast (literally) on their way to becoming the next best British sprinters, have invited me on a track taster session at Battersea Park Millennium Arena.

The girls do three track and two gym sessions a week. I, on the other hand, have only ever been on a track once before. 

After warming up with a steady jog around the track, we set off to find a bar for some dynamic stretching.

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Watching Cheriece and Shannon is impressive – both are trained ballerinas, who used to dance almost every day until they realised they just didn't like it. ‘It's so important to find a sport you actually enjoy,’ Cheriece tells me. And it seems these four have certainly found theirs in athletics. 

As we move back over to the track, Laviai and Lina attempt to teach me how to get into the starting position. They tell me that as you set off to sprint you should feel like you’re about to fall on your face. The fact that I actually nearly face-planted must mean that I was totally nailing it.

Laviai was kit carrier for Jessica Ennis-Hill at the London 2012 Olympics and says that she aspires to be just like Jessica ‘I want to be an inspiration to women around the world like she is,’ she tells me as we practise.

The three things they tell me to take away as advice for anyone that wants to get into running:

1. Enjoy it
2. Don't be afraid of it
3. Train with someone

Both sets of twins admit that one sibling is stronger and one sibling has more stamina. You'd think that both might have the same strengths and weaknesses, seeing as they're identical twins, but it's not the case, and each one helps the other in their area of weakness.

Throughout the entire session it’s clear that these girls are a force, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that they support one another. That they have their siblings there, telling them to get up and do it, and to ‘keep pushing’ and that gets them through when they can't always motivate themselves.

Watch out, Rio – these girls are coming for you. As for me, I shall be sticking to Hyde Park.

The twins wear Adidas UK's new Ultra Boost in frozen yellow – available from today.

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