Rewind four years when as a nation we collectively conquered the biggest sporting event in history. There’s no debate; we did the motherland proud. Fast forward and in less than six months the summer games will be held in the city of Rio De Janeiro, home to the looming Zika virus, but that won’t stop them. The competitors will be on their mark, getting set and going for the biggest moments of their career in front of a 900 million strong global audience. So how exactly does a world-class athlete manage to keep motivated and energised under this immense pressure?
Well, I spoke to some Team GB athletes on motivation and nutrition, and the stresses of being one race away from an Olympic gold medal.
Suldan Adde, Team GB 400m runner says; “It’s hard keeping yourself motivated, especially when you have to race. When you have to race you are going to be nervous – if you aren’t nervous then you aren’t going to perform.”
The 26-year-old explains that in order to keep calm and in a winning frame of mind, it’s important to “spend the energy that you do have on the track.”
For Luke Lennon-Ford, who’s also a 400m runner with a notable PB of 45.23 seconds, staying on top of his game is crucial to maintaining a strong mind set.
He says: “Self-motivation has to happen all year round!” says Ford. “Even when I’m not racing or training, I’ve got to have that self-belief and keep myself positive because I know that when I get to the starting line I need to be ready to race any opponent.”
Training six days a week at Brunel University’s Athletics track is not for the light hearted. Blood sweat and tears form the foundations of commitment required to build an international sporting star. Another 100m sprinter, Rion Pierre says that trying to control your nerves isn’t a priority when it comes to competing. “I don’t keep calm, I don’t try to control myself, this is natural. I was made to do this and was trained under high pressure, so competitions aren’t really anything different. I just go out there set up, keep cool and try my best.”
With high hopes of taking part in and representing team GB at the Rio Olympics, the impressive 400m runner Nigel Levine talks about his own way to cope with stress from the games; “I listen to music, a lot of Lil Wayne, 50 Cent or a bit of drum and bass to take my mind off the pressure.”
You are what you eat
Spending 4-5 hours training six days a week, Suldan admits that what he eats is just as important. He says that having muesli before training works well for him as the perfect pre-workout snack. Followed by a protein shake post workout to help build and mend muscles.
Lennon-Ford says: “I like to have bananas as my pre workout snack,” says He explains, “They give you 90 minutes of energy so it’s a great source of vitality before a training session.” Having protein-rich foods such as chicken and nuts is also something he favours.
Given the unmistakable roster of these determined, athletic heroes pooling together from Team GB’s Olympic Universe, bear in mind Rio is only but a few months’ of training away, (starting on the 5th of August to be exact) so let the countdown to the showdown begin!