The Olympics only come around every four years, and for many people that's about as much as they think about them. However as a professional track and field athlete and aspiring Olympian, it's on my mind every single day. Training for an Olympic games doesn't start on January 1 of the Olympic year, it starts many years before that. I started track and field when I was 9 years old, and every mile I have run since then has been preparing me for this year.
While it's hard not to feel added pressure, whether self-imposed or otherwise, the biggest and best piece of advice my coach has given me is to just keep things consistent. Don't try to be a hero and run extra miles, or grind out that extra second on the track. In regards to running, keep doing what we have been doing year-in and year-out. If there are places to improve it's on the "little" things like self-treatment, stretching, core-strength, sleep, hydration and nutrition, etc.
I put the "little" in quotations, because they really aren't so little! Everything from the time I wake up, what I eat, what supplements I take, to the time I go to bed all play a huge role in my preparation. I feel so lucky to have a company like Ultima in my corner! It has become a key part of my training here in the Arizona desert.
I am fitter than I have ever been, and setting big personal bests in workouts that we do down here in Scottsdale. One of the biggest being on a 6mi workout that we do. It's essentially a tempo run, but we do a hard surge up a hill, then into tempo for about 3 minutes, into a 3 minute surge on flat, then about 1 minute 40 seconds tempo before getting back to the hill and doing it again. My best average pace per mile coming into this year for that workout was 5:18. We've done it twice so far and I went 5:11/mi on the first time, and 5:05/mi the second time.
I definitely contribute my fitness to focusing on the "little" things. Regardless of the day, I have the same routine. I wake up at 7:30am, have my breakfast and a glass of Ultima. Do my morning activation exercises and head out the door at 8:45 either to do a track session, or hit the weight room for strength. I get home around 11:30 have a meal, take a shower, and get in bed by around 12:30-1:00pm and put on my mask connected to my altitude generator and relax for a few hours, often taking a nap. Then I get up, have a little snack before doing my activation exercises and heading out for my second run. I eat dinner around 5:30 every night. After that I relax and do some self-treatment and at 8pm I have my magnesium, tart cherry juice and go brush my teeth and get my altitude mask by 8:30, read for awhile and am asleep by around 9:30. Then I wake up and repeat! I have never been this dedicated to a routine and I can't believe how amazing it is making me feel!
I'm really looking forward to the year ahead and seeing what I can do on the track. I believe I'm in a place where I can really surprise some people, and probably even myself!
I'll be opening up my indoor season by running a 3000m in Seattle on January 30th. Then I'll run another 3000m in Seattle on February 13th and that will be the extent of my indoor races. After that I will be preparing for a couple of big 5000m races at Stanford University at the beginning and end of April where I hope to hit my Olympic standard! After that, we have our Olympic trials in Edmonton, Alberta at the beginning on July and that is where everything will be decided!
Until then, I am going to keep focusing on the "little" things and hope that big things come from that!
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