Kendra Harrison Along with 10 Olympic & Paralympic Athletes and Hopefuls Share Their Wellness Routines

Photo Courtesy of NBC OLYMPICS/USOPC

How do you stay motivated?

I stay motivated by remembering my goals that coach and I set for myself. Remembering the overall goal allows me to continue pushing myself to be better than I was the day before. In this sport, if you aren’t willing to put in the work and constantly make yourself better, there’s someone else out there who will, so you always have to ensure you stay motivated to give it your best at practice and in competition.

What’s your wellness routine like?

My wellness routine revolves around training and taking care of my body, physically and mentally. On the physical side, I train hard five days a week, with a combination of sprinting, lifting weights, and hurdling. Hurdling days are my favorite because I love working on the technical aspect of my craft. On the other two days, I recover and rest, which is essential for my overall wellness, as it allows my body time to heal and grow. I also ensure that I eat right and get essential nutrients. Mentally, I take care of my wellness by hanging out with friends, working on crafts and projects, and overall giving myself an outlet to take a break from the track and remember the other parts of life besides competition.

How do you practice self-care and take care of your mental health?

Self-care is a huge part of my routine. I listen to my body when I have indications of soreness or injury and ensure I get treatment, massage, training, and rest that work on the weak area before it becomes a bigger problem. I also enjoy doing yoga to work on my flexibility and get my body ready to conquer the hard training that day.

Mentally, I use meditation as an outlet to help me cope with the daily stresses and anxiety that can occur. It can be difficult to always be mentally tough and self-confident both on and off the track, so I’ve had to work at becoming more resilient. Meditation helps, and I also talk regularly with a sports therapist that guides me through handling my thoughts and anxiety.

Do you have a personal motto or affirmation?

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7). This encourages me on all levels because I know the value of hard work and what can be achieved. I’ve had many instances in my career where a race didn’t result in the outcome I was expecting, and I’ve had to continue fighting even when the easiest path would have been to just give up.

What’s your pre- and post-competition routine?

My pre-race routine centers around calming my nerves and getting rid of any anxiety. I write in my journal and listen to gospel music. It reminds me that there are things out there bigger than just me and my race I’m about to compete in. Understanding where I fit in and remembering the talent I’ve been blessed with helps restore some mental balance before I compete. After competition, I like to look back at the race and see where I could make changes or what areas I need to work on to improve for next time. I’m always striving to make the most out of the talent I’ve been given, and analyzing what I can work on helps keep that goal in mind.

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