How Olympic Athletes Train to Win the Gold

‘I get up around eight; it’s late but I’ve come to realise that recovery and sleep are vital, especially while I’m at university. The first thing I do is have breakfast: avocado on toasted rye bread with eggs, or Bircher muesli. While I’m eating, I’ll make my lunch and pack snacks, including protein bars and cans of Red Bull. I’ve loved athletics since I was five, when my dad first took my brother and me to our local athletics club, and I’ve been a Red Bull athlete for about two years. It’s amazing to be supplied with the energy drink as I have a can at every training session and it’s part of my routine when I’m competing, helping me stay alert for evening events. I use Lush Cup O’ Coffee scrub in my morning shower to help me wake up and apply Bobbi Brown face moisturiser after. I like to wear make-up, but I’m not very good at applying it! ‘I get to the track for 9.45am and spend 10 minutes with my physiotherapist. After some mobility work and a light warm-up, I focus on speed, power and plyometric exercises – I do a lot of jumping. Training alongside other members of the British athletics squad, I spend up to an hour and a half doing drills and practising events. In my 15-minute break, I’ll drink a can of Red Bull as I need something light yet powerful to get me through the next thirty minutes of bounding and plyometric work.’

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‘For lunch, I’ll eat pitta bread with smoked salmon and veg, or a salad with chickpeas, haloumi and chicken before heading to my afternoon gym session, which lasts up to two hours and involves fast and dynamic weight lifting followed by a core workout. During that, I’ll snack on a Nakd bar or Deliciously Ella Cacao & Almond Energy Ball and afterwards, I’ll have a protein shake to refuel, then a 45-minute massage or acupuncture treatment before either heading back to my shared student house or going to a seminar or lecture. ‘Being at Loughborough University means I train at the same place I study for my psychology degree, but trying to fit everything in can be a struggle, and I’m often tired after six hours spent at the track. If I have lectures in the afternoon, I have to finish training early, but then I make up for what I’ve missed later in the day.’


‘My training always takes priority – I want to do well at my first Commonwealth Games in Australia, and the European Championships in August, building on the success of my three gold medals. I won the first in 2014 at the World Junior Championships. My long-term goals are next year’s World Championships and the 2020 Olympics. ‘Living with friends helps me relax and unwind. In the evening, we cook our own meals, then eat together. I might make a chicken stir-fry or chilli con carne with lentils or tofu – I don’t like to eat much red meat, especially at night – then have some chocolate. Because of my packed schedule, I don’t get to indulge in the crazy side of uni life – I don’t drink alcohol or go out late when I’m training. Missing out on holidays, day trips and parties with my friends can be tough, but I know it’ll all be worth it. I focus on what I want to achieve and know my friends will always be there and there’ll be time to party during my scheduled break in September. I have a job I love and get to travel the world for competitions and meet amazing people. ‘I’ve been lucky to find amazing friends in athletics who share the same dream; and I’m really inspired by Jessica EnnisHill, Serena Williams, and social-media influencers such as Zanna Van Dijk – they’re such strong women. ‘After chatting to my housemates or watching Netflix, I’m in bed by 11pm.’


Listen to your body and don’t over-train – doing more doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll perform better. Rest can be good for you. ● Refuel after exercise – protein shakes, smoothies and bars are great. ● Focus on short-term goals and don’t get lost in your long-term aims. ● Keep your passion and enjoyment in your sport. It makes the sacrifices and hard work easier to deal with.

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