Olympian Victoria Mitchell likes to eat her cake too My fit life
It’s easy to measure yourself against traditional ideas of ‘health and fitness’, but for Olympic steeplechase runner, Victoria Mitchell, it’s as much about personal development as it is about getting over the finish line.
Despite suffering a number of setbacks throughout her career, the 34 year old from Mansfield in Victoria has competed at the international level for over a decade, including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Her approach to health and fitness is a far cry from conventional and her ability to go with the flow is at the heart of her success. We spoke to the Olympian to find out about her holistic approach to running, coaching, training and life.
What is your health philosophy? Has it changed in recent years?
My philosophy on health has changed just as I have over the years. The more I understand myself, the more I know what I need to be the healthiest version of ‘me’. Whether this is following my intuition, facing my fears, doing the extra training session or having that slice of cake. I also studied Kinesiology which gave me an understanding of how holistic health is and how our mind/thoughts/emotions affect our bodies.
I used to think I needed to subscribe to health fads and diets but now I just try to choose healthy options as often as possible and quality over quantity. My definition of healthy has probably changed as well — I always go for butter over margarine or other varieties and full fat over ‘sugar free’… whatever is more natural. Natural foods and natural environments seem the most nourishing for us.
What is your daily fitness routine in the lead up to a big race?
I run every day and do three quality sessions per week which includes workouts such as track intervals, hills, fartlek (speed play) and threshold/tempo runs. I also have a long run on Sunday.
What mental training do you do?
I don’t do any mental training outside of the mental training which naturally occurs pre, during and post workouts! For example, talking yourself into going to training when you are sore and tired, curbing the voices of self-doubt during tough sessions and reinforcing positive outcomes post training.
I have practised meditation and yoga Nidra, this ebbs and flows in my life but isn’t as consistent as the exercise.
What’s your favourite exercise outside of running?
I enjoy gym, boxing, dancing…pretty much anything apart from water related sports. I don’t really like swimming.
What do you eat on a general day?
This is always changing…today I ate an apple, at 5am yoghurt and a coffee for breakfast (piccolo). A bocconcini, tomato and pesto sandwich for lunch. Some toast as a snack before training and I will have some chicken pasta or yellow Thai curry tonight after training.
Usually though, its eggs for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, protein for dinner and snacks throughout the day, including energy bars.
What’s your favourite healthy recipe?
Poached eggs, avo, spinach and tomato on sourdough toast.
What’s your food splurge?
Lindt balls, cake, bakery goods!
What upcoming projects are you working on?
The World Athletic Championships next year. Many smaller races before that.
Is there a motto that you live by?
I just try to be a good person by being somewhat self-reflective and doing my best from the level of awareness that I’m at in any given moment. I like to remind myself and others that their thoughts and words are powerful by using this simple phrase:
If you say so…
(Being aware of what you think, how you act and what you create!)
What gives you the greatest joy – in your sport and also in life and what are the most challenging aspects?
My greatest joy is helping others in some way. I hope to be a positive role model in my sport and life. The most challenging aspect would be how tired I can get from training and then not being my best for anyone!
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