Here are my top tips to every athlete… fortunately and sometimes unfortunately each one has been tried and tested!
1. Hide. Snacks. EVERYWHERE.
Hangry. It is real, and it may kill you. I have muesli bars in my work drawer, Tupperware with nuts in my handbag, dried apricots in my swim bag… there’s a little hidden glycogen boost wherever I look to avoid the athlete unavoidable – hangry. Snacks to an athlete is like an epi pen to anaphylactic, you should not go anywhere without one.
2. Wash your helmet in the shower
I can guarantee most people reading this don’t wash their helmet. Think about the amount you sweat plus dirt, rain and sunscreen that goes into that little bit of foam, rubbing your forehead for all those hours. I take my helmet into the shower with me weekly. This also applies to your HR monitor strap and any other fabric you allow to rub your sweaty body for hours at a time.
3. Buy and love Tupperware
Athletes are busy and need to eat well. The only way I have managed this is to live in a wonderful world full of Tupperware. I use up to 10 pieces of Tupperware a day, and it is all thanks to these fantastic plastics that I ensure I always have healthy food at my fingertips.
4. Turn on aeroplane mode on your phone
Us athletes are a precious bunch and need their beauty sleep. I can guarantee most of you go to bed earlier than everyone else you know, so turn your phone onto aeroplane mode. There is nothing worse than just as you drift off to sleep get a text from a friend, or 20 minutes before you are meant to wake receiving an email from some sports brand in the US whose mailing list you signed up to in hope of winning a round the world ticket to the Tour de France… because you totally had a chance of winning. Unsubscribing is too hard, just turn on aeroplane mode!
5. Wash your sports bras in shower
The shower is a wonderful place to save time. I wash my sports bra’s after every session in the shower with me meaning I always have one ready to go (plus it saves them wearing out so quickly from the washing machine – win win).
6. Love your freezer
God forbid, I use to not understand or utilize the power of the freezer! It is now my soul mate. Cooking for one is tough, cooking for 4-6 makes sense. One serve for dinner, one for lunch and one or two for the freezer. That’s if the recipe serves 6… I’m still not sure where the other two servings go…
7. Set up a charging station
Being the geeks we are we have a lot of high tech equipment flying around being used for every session. If you’re like me you have a different charging outlet for your front light, back light, watch, bike computer and god knows what else. Put all the cables in one spot next to a power point with a USB adaptable charger permanently in the wall. Now – DO NOT EVER move any charging cable! Keeping them together means you can always quickly charge something because there’s no wasted time hunting for those damn cables that look the same but are one tenth of a millimeter different than the one you have in your hand.
8. Get some washing disinfectant
The amount of lycra we wear, and sweat we produce in it, of course it makes sense to disinfect your sports clothes. Lycra generally needs to be cold washed to save the garment but hot wash kills things better. Do yourself a favour, and buy some washing disinfectant pronto.
9. Have a spare house key
Constantly flying out the door for a ride or run, it makes sense to have a single house key that you can stuff into those tiny invisible pockets your running shorts have. But please tell me I am not the only one who has taken my house key off the main set of keys for a run, then left for work with the main set having forgotten to put the house key back on… Disaster. I did a tally and have 6 house keys… well covered!
10. Wear an eye mask
We go to bed early, we get up early. And we’re temperamental to anything, let’s be honest! I never said I was cool, and this has now cemented it, but I bet a sleep better than those who don’t wear one, so get onto it people!
11. Have spare undies in your desk drawer
We’ve all been there… do I need to say more?!
12. Be nice to your mum
Trust me, if there is anyone you need to treasure more in your athletic life, it’s your mum! Be kind and she will bring food parcels, collect dry cleaning or nurse you after an accident… No one does it better, so be kind.