On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
The London 2012 Summer Olympics was one of the most disappointing moments of Gwen Jorgensen’s life. Leading up to the games the professional triathlete had placed second at the 2011 World Championship Series in London, making her one of the favourites to win a medal, but some bad luck with a flat tire ultimately saw Jorgensen finish the event in 38th place.
The disappointing result empowered Jorgensen. “I am so thankful for that flat tire at the 2012 Olympics. It forced me to go all in with triathlon,” she revealed in an interview. “I was fully committed to making sure I was bullet proof in 2016. Obviously at the time I wasn’t happy to have a flat tire, but it forced me to look at what I was doing and where I could improve to become a complete triathlete.”
With her eyes on capturing gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Jorgensen worked with her coach, Jamie Turner, to overhaul her routine, focusing particularly on using data to track and optimise her training sessions.
“I never used a GPS watch until I started training with Jamie,” Jorgensen said in an interview with TrainingPeaks. “Since then, I have used GPS and an SRM power meter to track my data. Jamie then is able to use to this data to help me improve. He is able to look at data from races and recreate similar situations in training to help simulate racing scenarios.”
The major overhaul of her routine paid off. Jorgensen won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and became the first American woman to win the gold in the triathlon event.
It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Not many people will win Olympic gold, but you can reach your potential and follow your dream. Focus on yourself, make investments in yourself, and focus on the process.Interview with Olympian Gwen Jorgensen | The Black Shirt
Gwen Jorgensen’s training routine & diet
To prepare for the Olympic triathlon — which consists of a 1500-metre swim, 40-kilometre bike ride and 10-kilometre run — Jorgensen put herself through multiple gruelling training sessions per day. In an interview with Furthermore from Equinox, the Olympic gold medallist described a typical training day routine training for the 2016 Olympic Games:
I go for a 30- to 50-minute run as soon as I wake up. Then around 10:30-12, I’ll have a group swim anywhere from 3 to 5K. I do another session in the afternoon, sometimes another run and usually a bike ride between an hour and a half to three hours. I’ll also do gym work involving a lot of glute activation and core. I have some dumbbells, but I’m a little shy to tell you the amount—they’re super light. I do a lot of band exercises, and I also use TRX. It’s nice because you can travel with it anywhere.How athletes train: Gwen Jorgensen | Furthermore
After winning the gold medal at Rio, Jorgensen retired from triathlons in 2017 and started to pursue her new goal: winning an Olympic gold medal in the marathon event. As part of her training routine for the (now-cancelled) 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Jorgensen was running up to 120 miles per week, along with gym sessions seven days a week.
“Rest days are far and few in between,” Jorgensen said in an interview with myBody+Soul. “In the off season, I definitely take time completely off, but a lot of times a rest day for me will include maybe no running but I’ll do a bike, swim or a walk or something to just keep the body active. As a professional, we really don’t get many days off.”
When it comes to her diet, Jorgensen typically sticks to eating three big meals a day, with a few snacks sprinkled throughout, usually before a training session. An example daily meal plan looks like this:
For breakfast, I’ll have a couple of cups of oats with coconut oil, peanut butter, nuts, fruit and poached egg on top. I love it because it keeps me full and satisfied through my next workout. Lunch is normally a huge portion of rice, red meat, vegetables and some sort of sauce or cheese. I stay fueled before my third or fourth training session by having a snack: peanut butter, cottage cheese or full-fat yogurt, no sugar added, and fruit. Dinner is always lighter: potatoes, vegetables, cheese, a big salad, meat, chicken or fish. I’ll have another snack before bed, something with high protein, either yogurt or cottage cheese. I also eat dark chocolate after breakfast, lunch and dinner, but just a little square. I don’t want to restrict anything in my diet so I don’t.How athletes train: Gwen Jorgensen | Furthermore
Equally on-par in terms of importance with her diet and training is getting enough sleep and recovery. Jorgensen aims to get 8-9 hours of sleep per night, plus an early afternoon nap a few times a week.
“Every night I am normally in bed by eight o’clock,” she told Skratch Labs. “My husband and I usually watch TV for about an hour and a half and then we read. By 9:30 the lights are off and we are actively trying to sleep. Even if I am struggling to fall asleep by 9:30 I am shutting my eyes and relaxing.”
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