With the London Games less than a month away, we can barely stay in our seats with anticipation. Now imagine what it’s like for an athlete who’s actually competing. We talked to gold medalist Abby Wambach about how she feels in the days leading up to the Games, her training and the lessons she’s learned along the way.
How are you mentally preparing for the Olympics?
It’s an ongoing process; for me it’s been a 30-year process and lifelong dream to represent our country in the Olympics. It’s an honor and even though I’ve been in the Olympics in the past, I still feel like pinching myself. Right now, I’m training my hardest and focusing on the little details to give us the edge.
What’s a typical day of training like for you?
Training varies depending on the schedule of the tournaments and games. My daily routine involves waking up, having a smoothie for breakfast, working out or going to practice with the team, going home and having a sandwich. In the afternoon, I’ll either lift weights or do something regenerative like a cold plunge or a massage.
When you’re not playing soccer, what other fitness activities do you enjoy?
I like all kind of sports: tennis, mountain biking, anything that involves cardio. It’s nice to go for a run without a watch or a heart rate monitor; anything that keeps me active while having fun.
What do you eat before and after a game to stay energized and to refuel?
Before a game, I’ll have a sandwich with whole-wheat bread. I like having lots of vegetables as toppings to keep me fueled. After a game, you need protein to recharge your muscles so I’ll usually have one with turkey, cheese, tomato and avocado. If it’s in season, I always have avocado on my sandwiches.
Do you have any rituals to get fired up for a game?
I find myself naturally fired up before a game in general. My daily routine like training and pre-game foods put me in a frame of mind of being ready and confident.
What was it like to have Mia Hamm as a mentor?
Mia Hamm’s off-the-field personality is something I still learn from. She’s all about the team. I try to use what I learn on and off the field to help make the team better.
What have you learned from your other teammates?
Being an older player, I want to continue to evolve. It’s not my way or the highway. Leave your egos at the door. It’s all about working together and about how you can deal with the problems on the field. The teams who can focus on the problems at hand are those that those that come up top.
Besides soccer, what are you looking forward to in the Olympics?
It’s hard because we’re in our little bubble to get ready for our own competitions. But what I love about the Olympics is that it’s about the bigger team. We’re all there with the goal to bring the most medals for the country.
Want to know more from Abby? This summer, you can learn soccer from the Olympian herself. Enter for a chance to win Arnold and Orowheat Bread’s Grain to Glory Sweepstakes here and you can get a one-on-one training session.