THE BLOG

What Makes the Commonwealth Games Extra Special to Me?

30/06/2014 17:48 BST | Updated 30/08/2014 10:59 BST

Since the Olympics have come and gone I have made a lot of changes, which I feel I am starting to show. I have changed my training base, changed coach and given a bigger emphasis on my hurdling technique, and I already feel like a different athlete. The race feels easier to run for a start, although I still get lactic acid burning in my muscles. I am back training with my very first coach, although he gave up coaching for a period, I managed to persuade him out of retirement. I'm glad he did. Nobody understands me as an athlete better than him, albeit he has been the Olympic 4x400m relay coach previously and coached a world champion, so has plenty of experience on what makes me tick.

I started athletics when I was 16 and like most kids I always did plenty of sport at school. I was Welsh swimming champion at under 15s, training nine times a week at this stage and also played county Rugby. But I always wanted to be an athlete and it was not long before I won every age group title in Britain and Europe in the 400m hurdles. My sister represented Great Britain juniors in the 400m hurdles, my brother represented Wales also. My dad was previously an athlete representing Wales at the Commonwealth Games in 1970 however he turned his attention mainly to rugby playing for Llanelli, Wales and the British Lions on two tours. It was my sporty family that introduced me into the sport I love.

I have always been a grafter, thinking training harder is better, harder is better! But from spending time with many elite athletes I realised quickly this was a recipe for early injury and not the way to success. I have learnt to train smarter as I have got older, emphasising moving efficiently and spending more energy on recovery strategies. Although it might seem obvious it is surprising how long we can hold on to deeply held beliefs sometimes about what will make us successful.

I was very grateful to have the opportunity to represent Wales at my third Commonwealth Games. I think the smaller nations tend to shout about their success more than the bigger nations, mainly because we see ourselves as under dogs most of the time. It is different putting on the Welsh vest compared to the British vest, and being rivals with athletes who are normal on the same team as you. But that is all part of what makes the Commonwealth Games extra special and to me it's as special as the Olympics. I was fourth in 2006, third in 2010 so this time I want to go even better.

Training this year has gone great. I have produced personal best times in training and in the next few races I am hoping to show some good form. I was ill at the start of the season and I had to work had with my nutritionist in finding out what was causing my fatigue. Thankfully we found out a hay fever product, that I thought was helping, was actually hindering my performance. I am now training at my very best in perfect time for this weekend's British Championships and European trials.

Standing as the current European Champion of the Men's 400m discipline, Rhys Williams will have every right to fancy his chances of adding to his impressive career medal haul in this summer's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Originating from Cardiff, Rhys Williams's finest achievement to date was that of taking Gold in Helsinki in 2012 European Athletics Championships, making up for the misfortune he suffered four years earlier as he was forced to miss the 2008 Olympics after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot.

Supported by the GLL Sports Foundation, a leading foundation that independently supports young sporting talent, Williams follows a strict regime training up to 6 days a week to get into shape and competition ready. Incorporating a mix of track workouts with gym sessions, Williams uses Technogym equipment, official fitness equipment supplier to the Commonwealth Games.