12 Apr 2018
MyRoutine // A day in the life of Martyn Rooney
Being an elite athlete can be hard to juggle around a growing family, but Martyn Rooney lets us know what it really takes to become an Olympian and European Champ alongside being a father.
08:00 // So my day can start very early as I have two young kids. With a two-and-a-half year old and a six month old, every parent will know that it can be quite unpredictable. But, my alarm goes off at 8:00am and I get out of bed and we try and have breakfast together around the table. It’s typically a lot of eggs, a lot of protein and some coffee! My kids have porridge or toast so that often ends up on my plate too.
10:00 // I’ll get to the track about 10am depending on what day it is. If I’m training with the rest of the student athletes then it’ll work around their lectures. Because it’s Loughborough, things are quite flexible and we can work things out.
10:15 // We do quite long warm ups and depending on the session it can be more dynamic, or more powerful if it’s a speed session; those sessions will be a lot more explosive with more jumping. Each warm up will take from 30 minutes to an hour, but that can include treatment and time on the physio bed too. I like to spend time stretching out my hips- I’m getting a little older and I need to stay as mobile as possible!
We’re very lucky at Loughborough to have this fantastic indoor facility, so it’s not too bad, but it's still really important to get as warm as possible.
The session can vary in time depending on the session. With the 400m, you have to focus on being strong, fast, have a good technique- and be mentally strong too. My coach tries to set up strength and fitness based training throughout winter and then we work on getting faster. Preparing for the Commonwealth Games, things are getting a lot faster.
If I’m at the gym, as I’ve got older I’ve realised there are certain things that I don’t need to do, like lifting with the 100m runners. I can’t compete with them in the gym, so there’s no point trying to push my body to the point where it’s damaging. I work within my own parameters to do hand cleans, box squats, core work (which is important as a tall guy), a lot of band step-ups and upper body conditioning to help stabilising. A few times a week we will do sessions in the sandpit to strengthen our feet and keep our calves and knees in good condition.
I try to get my gym sessions done in 45 minutes; if I’m there any longer then the session starts going downhill! Afterwards, I’ll spend time stretching: it can be physio or just my own routine.
13:00 // At the moment, if I have time, I love to go to Bom Bom Patisserie! Normally my wife and kids will have already had lunch before I get back, so I just try and have as much food as I can. It’s a big part of my recovery for the day. I have a lot of high carb or high protein food (cold chicken, salad, bread) and maybe some smoothies in the afternoon or evening.
14:00 // In the past my afternoons were a lot of ‘sit-down, switch off and relax’ and maybe run some errands. Now, with the kids, I'm just trying to spend time with them because I’m away so much with training or competitions. We try to cherish that time, going out for dog walks and things like that!
18:00 // My evening meals might be a little fancier. We try to put a bit of effort in! My wife is a far better cook than me. Sometimes I mess it up, so I quite often let her get on with it.
Once the kids are in bed, I might watch a bit of The Wire and go to bed myself!
Without the routine that I have, I wouldn’t be able to train at the level I need to train at and I wouldn't stay as focussed. If I didn’t stick to a routine then I wouldn’t find the time to spend with my children and have those moments together, so it’s about finding the right balance and sticking to it.
As I’ve got older, I realised I need more sleep so that means going to bed a little earlier. I’m not someone who lives a rigid or boring life, but I need to have some structure there or I’ll end up paying the price! I always remember than I’m an elite athlete and I must behave so.