So what you know about that Track Life? Pro Sprinter Olivia Ekpone breaks down a few hacks that will make it easier!
The notion that I am a competitive professional track athlete has been the most rewarding feeling of my life. I have played and competed in many sports growing up (from figure skating to softball to volleyball to golf. You name it, I did it!). Yes, don’t get me wrong, there have been days when I had questioned, “Why did I not just stick to golf?!” (This is mostly during tough track workouts, but my heart just could not get enough of it.) But during the past 11 years of running track competitively, there have been 5 key factors that made my track career easier.
1. Having a Mentor
One of my training partners, Natasha Hastings, and Olympic gold medalist, Sanya Richards-Ross, have helped me on and off the track. They both have taken me under their wings and have given me great advice on how to be successful.
Find someone in your community who you feel comfortable talking to, who can inspire you to be the best that you can be, and who would give you advice on how to be better.
2. Having a Strong Support System
Without the support of my coaches, training partners, family, friends and boyfriend, I would not be the aspiring athlete that you have come to know today. The members of my support system have given me a gentle push in the right direction to be a successful athlete. Keep people in your inner circle that will always support you through the thick and thin. If you can, find yourself a running body! See who can run the furthest or the fastest. Try running marathons or competing in track meets together. Push each other, but do it positively!
3. Running Journal
Having a running journal can be a successful tool for any athlete. My journal consists of workouts and lifting sessions (how fast I ran each rep and how much I lifted), inspirational quotes, goals (for the week, month, and year), and thoughts on how I felt during and after workouts (emotionally and physically). It shows me how much progress I made throughout the year.
4. “Trust the Process”
Trusting the progress can be a difficult thing for athletes, including myself. We all want to run fast all day and every day. In reality, that may not happen. By trusting your coach and training, you can begin to trust that your times will start dropping when it’s time! Just remember, you have worked so hard and probably have overcome many difficult obstacles along the way. Believe that your time will come. Patience is the key, but stays consistent.
5. Subscribe to Athlete’s Blogs and Read Books
Many track athletes are starting to write blogs and books, as well as creating YouTube vlogs about their track experiences, which we could all learn from. I had the opportunity to read Sanya Richards-Ross’ Chasing Grace and Lopez Lomong’s Running for My Life. Both of these books are inspirational and have helped me understand that even the best track athletes had hiccups and hurdles during their careers. Learn from those hardships so you may grow into a better track athlete.
Check out Olivia Ekpone featured on Natasha Hasting's Youtube Channel (and subscribe!)
These 5 tips have helped me understand track from a different outlook. I have also learned A LOT about myself as a professional track sprinter and what it takes to be at the top of the podium. Crossing my fingers that some of these tips would help you for your upcoming indoor and outdoor track seasons! Wishing all you tracksters the best!
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