Tips for sur­viv­ing as an elite ath­lete

Cambridge Edition - - SPORT -

‘‘I re­ally love to eat what I want, what I crave and what makes me feel good.’’

Life as an elite ath­lete is quite sim­ple in some ways. Fuel your body to train hard, rest your body so that it can con­tinue to train hard. Strengthen your mind, your soul and do things that take you out of your com­fort zone as of­ten as pos­si­ble.

The body is tough and it can with­stand a lot of stress, but there comes a point where the pain plea­sure thresh­old gets too far out of bal­ance. Pun­ish­ing the body on a reg­u­lar ba­sis can be drain­ing. Train­ing is tough, re­hab is painful, so is gym/weights, and I find it is so im­por­tant to keep the bal­ance in life. Find­ing some­thing that you love to do or feel nour­ished by is so im­por­tant.

Nu­tri­tion for each ath­lete is vastly dif­fer­ent. For me, eat­ing a bal­anced diet is very im­por­tant. Fruits, veg­eta­bles, meat and dairy is what I live off. Nu­tri­tion/food more im­por­tantly, for me, is a time where the bal­ance can shift back again.

I re­ally love to eat what I want, what I crave and what makes me feel good. I es­pe­cially like to in­dulge in sweet treats and cof­fee to make the process all worth the hard work that I put my body through. I am­train­ing two-to-four hours each day, ev­ery­day, and there comes a point where you need the lifestyle to be main­tain­able. An ad­di­tional ben­e­fit of train­ing full time is that you need to re­fuel, and what bet­ter way to re­fuel than with foods you love to eat.

In the past, I have fo­cused more on what I think I should do, or what oth­ers do, rather than what my body needs. Fo­cus­ing on train­ing, re­cov­ery and mind­ful­ness as a com­plete cir­cle, and ded­i­cat­ing will power, en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm to over­all well­be­ing has re­ally helped me to im­prove as an ath­lete. Be­ing more in tune with my body has lead me to be a health­ier and hap­pier ath­lete.

In or­der to achieve a goal, one must fully be com­mit­ted to the chal­lenge. The jour­ney is what mat­ters, and set­ting up the plan for the jour­ney is the most im­por­tant part.

Once you have a goal in sight, set about fo­cus­ing on how you will achieve it, then put the goal to the back of your mind and start liv­ing the process day in, day out, ev­ery day. Make the day to day process chal­leng­ing, but man­age­able. Give your­self small re­wards along the way so that you can main­tain this. Set out ways in which you can stay healthy and happy.

This week I amin Ja­pan, where I am­pac­ing the elite women’s Nagoya Marathon.

Next week is the New Zealand Na­tional Cham­pi­onships where I am com­pet­ing in the 1500m, and March 31 I am­headed to Amer­ica. I will be rac­ing and train­ing to qual­ify in prepa­ra­tion for the World Cham­pi­onships held in Au­gust in Lon­don.

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