Olympic training secrets: how to run like a Ferrari

Nine-point-69 seconds. That's how long it took Jamaica's Usain Bolt to become the fastest man on the planet in 2008.

Since then, Olympic hopefuls have spent countless hours training for critical seconds.

Here is a look inside the gym, and inside the minds of track stars, to get their training tips and hints.

What looks like an Olympic photo-shoot, is a rare rest day with fans. But for a glimpse into their daily grind, all you have to do is ask.

While your work may never get you here, there are ways to improve your training, starting here.

"The most important thing as a runner is that you have to push through on your down days, the days you don't feel good are the most important days,” said 100/200 meter sprinter Curtis Mitchell.

Olympians say, to push through, do what you love.

"I love abs. I love the weight room," said Damu Cherry Mitchell who does the 100 meter hurdle

"Anything that gets me looking nice, like muscle beach style," said Justin Gatlin, Olympic gold medalist in the 100/200 meter sprint

World champion Tyson Gay runs for a living, but there are also two other "r" words on his mind.

"I believe in rest," he said. And re-hydration, never forgetting to fuel up.

"You're a Ferrari,” said Coach Dennis Miller. “The fuel you put in your Ferrari dictates how that car runs from day to day."

It is something that Justin Gatlin preaches. Gatlin won gold in 2004, but lean meats and portioned meals helped him trim more than just his run time.

"I was like 210, 205 pounds, now I'm down to 182," he said. And gold is not the only reward.

"That one cheat day of the week where I eat whatever I want," said Olympic gold medalist Debbie Ferguson-Mckenzie

She is not the only one.

"Oh my gosh I love gummies and cupcakes," said Damu Cherry-Mitchell

So what is former Olympian Dennis Miller’s best training secret?

"Well I'd tell you, but as everyone says I'd have to kill ya," said Miller

2012 SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES: The games of the XXX Olympiad, will take place in London, England, United Kingdom, from July 27 to August 12, 2012. London will become the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times having previously done so in1908 and in 1948. Athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees are expected to participate. As of June 5, 2012, 185 countries have qualified at least one athlete. The 2012 Summer Olympics features 26 sports and a total of 39 disciplines. The 2012 Paralympic Games has 20 sports and 21 disciplines. For the first time, women's boxing is included, with 40 athletes competing in five different weight classes (Source: www.olympic.org)

OLYMPIC TRAINING: American Council on Exercise spokesperson Todd Durkin offers tips for training like an Olympic athlete:

* DIET AND HYDRATION: For Olympic-level performance and off-the-chart energy, you must eat properly including eating a breakfast of complex carbohydrates and lean protein, then eat again every 3-4 hours and within 90 minutes of working out. Consume half your bodyweight in fluid ounces of pure water and if exercising intensely or for long duration, consume a sports-drink such as Gatorade.
* SNOOZE: High-level athletes that are training hard need 8-10 hours sleep. Focus on quality of sleep by going to bed before 11 p.m. for optimal hormonal release don't use a computer or watch TV within 30 minutes of sleeping to avoid effects of electromagnetic waves and make your sleeping environment as dark as possible.
* PROPER WARM-UP AND RECOVERY: After 10 minutes of a light jog or jump rope session, spend 10-15 minutes on dynamic warm-ups such as skipping or reverse lunges to (improve flexibility, coordination, rhythm and naturally prevent injuries from occurring). After your workout, incorporate recovery techniques and stretching/flexibility exercises to reduce pain or soreness.
* GET CREATIVE: Instead of only using fixed-pieces of equipment, try medicine balls or Swiss Balls and integrate diagonal and rotational actions as well as unilateral exercises. Run. Jump. Throw.
* LIFT HEAVY: In order to be great, you must challenge yourself to attain maximum strength gains. Attempt 2-3 sets of a "big" lift of 4-6 reps once a week. In addition to getting strong, lifting heavy will maximize hormonal response.
* TRAIN EARLY IN THE DAY: Olympic athletes do it. So can you. You are much less likely to get distractions early in the morning that will prevent you from your workout and you will feel great all day.

(SOURCE: Men's Health)

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