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With the success of the London 2012 Olympics for the Great Britain team and the weight of expectation from the nation has never been so high! With pressure beginning to ramp up and less than a month to go to the Olympics we look ahead at what the top GB athletes are doing to prepare for this momentous event.

Routine & base training is key

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High level athletes such as those competing at the Olympics this summer will have been peaking their training plans in the last couple of months and therefore will need anywhere between 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is absolutely essential for both the body and mind when training hard and your quality of sleep tends to deteriorate when going to bed after 11pm so getting an early night could be the key to maintaining a certain quality of sleep and to get your mind and body into a routine.

Because the Olympics is every four years, many athletes will plan their training years in advance. For example long distance runners may spend years building up a base mileage or cardiovascular strength before then focusing their training on a specific event. By building a base level strength, athletes are limiting injury when training becomes more intense which is important because there is nothing worse than an injury hitting late in training which can unwind years and years of preparation.

When to train?

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Olympic athletes train early in the day, why? Because you are much less likely to get distractions early in the morning that effect or impact your workout, also it sets you up for the day ahead so get ready to feel great! Get a training partner, Olympic athletes are known to train together for years before that turn to competing against each other. Training with a partner helps motivation and will help you pick up the intensity of your training, especially on those days where you feel less than your best. Accountability is a big part of success and therefore if your head isn’t in it one day, you are not just letting yourself down by not training, but you are letting someone else down so your adherence to exercise tends to increase with a partner for that reason. Surround yourself with positive influences.

Mental Preparation 

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Olympic athletes spend a lot of time preparing psychologically for the big day and not just physically. This includes anything from reading inspirational books & quotes to rehearsing mantras. All of which can help you reach your fitness goals no matter what they may be. Continued focus on training for years does take a psychological toll on many athletes and it’s sometimes a challenge for athletes to stay motivated. Whilst performing in such events as the Olympics, a sports physiologist is often needed to consult athletes who feel the added stress of performing in front of an international audience against the best competitors in the world. Visualise your victory and you will stay on track.

Relaxation

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Taking time off is just as important as anything to a training routine. Our bodies need time to recover and our minds need down time to concentrate on the things that make us happy. This year it has been reported that several athletes are using yoga, meditation and even using their favourite TV shows to calm themselves prior to an event.

In fact athletes such as Laura Trott, Adam Peaty & Max Whitlock have teamed up with DFS with the launch of their limited edition sofa in the run up to to the Olympics called ‘the Britannia’ which celebrates Team GB and the importance of family and having a strong support system and home network amongst athletes. Adam Peaty has said “when you push yourself mentally and physically in the run up to the Olympics and training 35 hours per week, it is important to surround yourself and spend time with family and this is imperative in giving him strength and keeping him on track with his training.

The downtime is is hugely important to any successful athletes routine. DFS said,  ‘At DFS, we know the importance of home. The value of proper rest and relaxation can be sometimes overlooked, but it has the power to make us truly great. The athletes we’ve been working with have shown us that, and we can’t wait to bring that ‘home’ feeling to Rio for all of Team GB.’ Talent made in Britain, starts at home. Max Whitlock echoed this by saying that recovery is a massive part of a sport and having time at home and relaxing is important to repair and set you up for the next day of training. He understands what part his family have played in his success describing that without them he wouldn’t be in the position that he is.

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