Have you ever taken a moment to think about what an elite athlete goes through in order to make it to the World Cup, Wimbledon or the Olympics? How long before they got there did they start their training? Let’s take some time to explore this a bit more.
For those of us weekend warriors, maybe this will inspire us to reflect on our own training and focus, or maybe it will just make us respect those athletes and their journey that much more. Elite athletes will start long before the big event, developing a specific training schedule laid out over several years! In comparison, most of us plan no more than an 8 to 12 week schedule. And while we can aim for a minimum of 3 times a week, they are training 3 times a day for 6 days a week. They are also eating around 5,000 calories a day when the normal daily caloric intake is between 1,600 to 2,800. An athlete also needs to supplement all this activity with a good sleep schedule.
When we sleep, it gives our body a chance to recover, so it is normal for an athlete in training to sleep 10 or more hours a night and even have a midday nap. On the medical side, these athletes will undergo rigorous testing looking at their strength levels, body mass index, heart rate and post activity recovery, lung capacity for oxygen uptake as well as their lactate tolerance. There is also the psychological side of all of this. Remember that this schedule leaves little for family time and social activities which is stressful for many. And for those in many sports, they often have to beat out their teammates or people that they have been training with in order to move forward.
Imagine a tennis player that trains in a specific club. They get close to others training in that same facility but eventually they need to play against them and only one will win and move on. That is an entirely different level of stress. It takes hard work and dedication, blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice to get to the World Cup, Wimbledon, the Olympics and other major sports events. We will follow this post with further details on this topic in the future so check back as we dive further into the world of an athlete.