You watch them constantly for two weeks straight once every four years; strong, confident, and full of national pride. Olympians take the world stage for just these few moments, and then for most of them, it’s back to a fairly normal life.
They have families and jobs just like you do, but they also dedicate an intense amount of time to perfecting their craft. So, what does a life of an Olympic athlete look like? What do they think about and care about? How do they manage to train and take care of daily life?
I interview elite athletes on the podcast fairly regularly. However, we don’t always have the chance to cover such a broad range of topics and ideas. Today with Molly Huddle we chatted about nearly everything related to her Olympic life, from her daily training schedule, to her thoughts on life after running.
With the 2020 Olympics right around the corner, your increased understanding of the athletes’ lives will have you cheering louder than ever.
The Daily Life of an Olympic Runner
To begin, we can look at the obvious interesting facts. How much time does Molly train for everyday? While this looks a bit different for every athlete, Molly’s dedicated daily schedule is something you can expect most athletes are doing.
Molly’s training has increased recently as she has decided to go from track distances, to the marathon. Some training has stayed the same, but the extra miles simply can’t be missed when you are preparing for such a long race. Not only that, but her hours spent sleeping has also needed to lengthen to recover from additional miles.
On a typical day, Molly gets out the door to start her first training at 10:00 in the morning. She finishes that session around 1:00 p.m. and then heads back out at 5:00. Before and after every run she will do something to make sure she is running her best. That often means foot and hip mobilizing exercises before, and a workout in the gym after. She also usually gets in to see a chiropractor two or more times a week.
Needless to say, she is putting in a lot of time to focus on her body. For Molly though, this is a full-time job. She is sponsored by Saucony, and as such, can and should be doing what it takes to run her best, even when it isn’t for an Olympic trial.
Running After the Sponsorship Days
Molly would like to run competitively for as long as she can, it’s one of the reasons she switched to the marathon distance. With each new running career phase, she thinks ahead to how she can be involved in running forever.
Right now, she is focused on qualifying for the Olympic team, but it’s not hard to see how she is setting herself up for a life time of running. She mentions that she wants to be involved long-term, including running and watching running. She has also become a voice in the running world, sharing her thoughts on her social media accounts and her new podcast.
For every professional athlete, there is the option to love and advocate for the sport, or to simply be in it while the pay checks are coming in. Molly’s view is clear; she loves the sport of running. She has hope in its future and has an optimistic view of where it can go.
Keeping a Clear Mind
An Olympian has a lot on their mind. Even the idea of doing a physical activity to the very best of your ability is a cognitive challenge. Talking with media, navigating sponsorships, representing your country, and dealing with nerves are just a few things they need to think about. The last thing that you want to give your time to is thinking about the other competitors, especially when it comes to cheating.
Every year, there are athletes caught doping, and it can be difficult to overcome that obstacle physically, but also mentally. While there are improvements to testing, there are always new ways to gain an edge unfairly, even when it comes to the only advantageous equipment in running—shoes.
Molly does her best to focus on herself, knowing that there are clean winners every year as well. She is willing and able to raise her voice about issues she cares about, but she also doesn’t let the cheaters affect her by thinking negatively about her potential compared to theirs. Staying hopeful and confident is what keeps her moving forward.
Running for Women
“Sport…is a place for women to thrive,” says Molly. While there are still improvements to be made, there are opportunities like never before. As her final thoughts in today’s podcast, Molly emphasized that women can learn leadership and develop a positive relationship with their body.
As you watch your favorite female athletes perform at the Olympics this year, think about their journey to get there. I hope you do, and I hope you are inspired to be a strong, confident woman too.
Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:
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Thank you to Molly, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.