Joseph Millar: No times like the present


Having registered personal bests in the 100m and 200m in the last three weeks he says he is now aiming to break national sprint records.

1 You're flying at the moment with personal bests in the 100m and 200m in successive weeks. Can you pinpoint the reasons why you've hit such a purple patch of form?

I've hit a patch of my life where more things then usual are going right. I went through the whole of last year without getting sick or injured. I met a bunch of new people, including Usain Bolt, who have changed my perception of what it is I am trying to do. I also have a growing network of friends and support who want to see me succeed.

I'm getting closer to the day where all my dreams will come true, so it gets easier to push myself because there's less time to wait than there was yesterday.

2 There are just three New Zealanders ahead of you on the all-time 100m lists. What would it mean to you to become the fastest of them all and the first Kiwi under 10 seconds?

It would be the most surreal feeling ever, a dream come true. I have looked up to those guys for years and at times even accepted I would never match them let alone surpass them. But until that day comes, there's no time to rest.

3 You appear to have bulked up quite a bit in the last year. How many hours a week do you train? How important is developing that additional power?

I have worked really hard over the winter, to build up the muscles I believe are key to sprinting. The main areas I focused on where my glutes, hip flexors, hammys and shoulders. I put on about 9kgs since this time last year and am far more powerful than a year ago.

On average I train six times a week: two days on the track; two days on the grass or hills and two days in the gym. Outside the gym I'd spend one-a-and-a-half to two hours training, inside the gym I'd spend anywhere from two to three hours.

4 What are your career goals, both in the short term and long term?

This season I want to retain my national sprint titles at both the NZ champs and Aussie champs, drop my times in the 100m and 200m down to qualify for the World Champs and break a few records. The national records are 10.11 for the 100m and 20.42 for the 200m. The residential records [fastest by a New Zealander in NZ] are 10.27 for the 100m and 20.61 for the 200m. I think these are realistic goals.

Long term I want to finish top three at the Commonwealth Games next year and also make the finals at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

5 You met Usain Bolt in Auckland last year. How long did you spend with him and did you pick up any genuinely useful tips?

I spent just a little under an hour with Bolt talking drills, starts, training and all sorts. At the time a lot of what he said didn't exactly sink in but later on before races or during the night I'd suddenly remember something he said and it would all make sense. I guess I just wasn't ready to hear it at the time. He said I reminded him of himself when he was younger. Had the speed. Had the power. Just needed to get the mindset right. Got to be a beast.

6 Who were your sporting heroes growing up and why?

I didn't really have sporting heroes growing up, I was more about my super heroes. Sonic and Flash were big but my biggest influence was Goku, because he trained hard and worked for his strength whereas everyone else was blessed.

7 Who have been the biggest influences on your career and why?

Probably my mother. She gets nervous before my races, probably more then I do. I don't like to see her upset and winning races seems to make her happy so that's what I do. She looks after me and I work hard to make her proud.

8 Have there ever been times, apart from in the sporting arena, where your speed has come in handy?

I recently used my speed for errands such as shortening the waiting time for the flying fox and getting milk from the dairy (on The Crowd Goes Wild) but it comes in to use when I am late for class. Last week I was running two minutes late. By the time I had sprinted to class I was five minutes early. Turning off the light and getting into bed before the room goes dark has its benefits too.

9 Only one white man, France's Christophe Lemaitre, has ever gone under 10 seconds. Can white athletes seriously challenge in a sport so dominated by Caribbean, African and African-American sprinters?

I used to believe there was no way to break into the levels that Bolt and [Yohan] Blake are at but at the same time I also didn't believe I could get to where I have today and have it be so easy. When you focus on the goal and leave out all the rubbish about how tall you must be, how much you have to squat, what island you have to come from, it's quite clear how the whole thing works.

At the end of the day, when you line up at the start line, no one cares where you come from, how you look, the colour of your skin.

10 Is there anything about being a top athlete most people would not know?

It's a bit like controlled chaos. You can't be "normal" like everyone else but you need to be able to control the imperfections. Most top athletes have some pretty crazy stuff going on in their minds.

Different personalities swing from one emotion to the next, we're all addicted to something whether it be winning or training. Controlling it all and keeping a lid on it can be hard when you feel like exploding on the inside.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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