5 Questions With: Sarah Wells

G_20160318_Winners_Shot03_SWEAT_0493_R1_CMYK LargeSarah Wells is a Canadian Olympic hurdler from Toronto who will be representing the country at this summer’s Olympic games in Brazil. Sarah is an inspiring young athlete who hasn’t let injury or obstacles deter her from realizing her dreams. After a stress fracture in 2011, she tattooed the word “Believe” on her wrist as a reminder that she could still achieve her goal of becoming an Olympian. Low and behold, with much determination and perseverance she made her Olympic debut in London in 2012. Last year, she also took home the silver and bronze medal at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

This tattoo has inspired a collection that she will be launching in collaboration with WINNERS on June 1st. Her strong self-belief should be an inspiration to all of us. I hope you’ll enjoy the interview below.

1) What first got you interested in hurdles? When did you know that this would be something you wanted to pursue?

I was fortunate to have a high school teacher suggest I try hurdles. Under his coaching and guidance I fell in love with hurdles and hoped to become world-class one day. I really enjoyed the small sense of accomplishment of getting over the hurdles all the way to the finish line—kind of like life.

2) What does your weekly training routine look like? What are some of your favorite workouts to do while training?

My training day consists of 5 hours of training: A warm-up, reaction time drills, hurdle drills, interval training, circuit work, explosive medicine ball tosses, weight training, and stretching. My favourite would have to be the painful interval training because once you’re finished you know you’ve bettered yourself.

3) You took part in the 2012 London Olympics, what did that experience teach you as an athlete?

One thing learned for certain is that Olympic athletes aren’t superheroes. Like me, many have gone through challenges; I saw great success but heartbreak, too. I learned that facing and overcoming obstacles happens to everyone.

4) In addition to being an athlete you are also a motivational speaker. Why is it important for you to promote sports in youth?

I love public speaking to younger people because for me, I saw sport as a vehicle for so many opportunities and I want to encourage the younger generation to pursue physical activity as a way to find self-confidence, a sense of self, see the world, and learn important life lessons.

5) You will be participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics, what are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to bettering myself. The last Olympics I finished as a semi-finalist. This time I hope to make the Olympic final and put myself in the position to run for a medal.

Check out Sarah Wells’ new athletic wear collection in collaboration with WINNERS in stores next week!

5 Questions With: Phylicia George

Phylicia George - 100mH

Thrilled to have on the blog today an Olympic Athlete and also all-around inspiring woman. The timing couldn’t be more perfect with the Pan Am games about to hit Toronto and today’s 15k race in Toronto. Phylicia George is a track and field athlete from Markham, Ontario. She made her Olympic debut in 2012 in London and finished in sixth place in the 100m hurdles. I’ve been following her training journey these past couple of months via social media so I couldn’t be more thrilled that she took some time from her busy schedule to answer the questions below. Hope you’ll be just as inspired by her as I am. Enjoy my 5 Questions With Phylicia George:

1) What first got you interested in track and field? What is it about this discipline that you like so much?

My earliest memories of running was racing my dad in the parking lot. I loved racing kids on the playground and putting everything I had in me to be the first at the finish line.  So I guess you could say I’ve always had this innate competitive nature.  One of my first introductions to the sport of track and field was watching the 1996 Olympics. I instantly fell in love with the intense competition and the raw emotions that I saw. I love the fact that track and field is an individual sport. It’s very much a personal journey about pushing yourself past your limits. When you line up at the start line, It is literally you vs. 7 other people; your best vs my best, which is an amazing feeling.  It’s a sport that continually encourages you to grown as an athlete and as a person. It’s a very difficult sport to train for and takes a lot of sacrifice, however that dedication makes achievement all the more enjoyable.

2) You always have some very empowering and inspiring posts on your blog for athletes and also for women in general, who inspired you along the way?

I’m inspired by so many people. Anyone who overcomes the odds, strong women that defy societal standards, positive people working to make real change in the world, and the list goes on. More specifically my mother was a huge inspiration to me. She was a very strong woman with great values, who always encouraged me to be great. As well, my father is the ultimate humanitarian. I grew up seeing him helping people and going out of his way to make others lives better. I try to fashion my life and my impact after both my parents. They both inspired me to not only be a better person but to also be good other people.

3) You made your Olympic Games debut in 2012 in London and will be going to the 2016 Rio Olympics, what does a typical training week look like for you?

Training is pretty intense. I usually train 5 days a week. Sometimes I’ll have training blocks where I train 6 days a week. On average 3 days a week will be high intensity and 2 days a week will be recovery days.  Different parts of the year we have different things we focus on. For example at the beginning of the year, it’s all about conditioning and getting in shape, so it’s a lot of long runs, high volume, lower intensity. As we get closer to competition, we decrease volume and increase intensity. Throughout a training week I also make sure to have great emphasis on my recovery and sleep, which is a huge to make sure I’m getting the gains I want from my training.

4) What 3 tips would you give to people who are currently training for their 1st ever race or who are just getting into running?

1)     Don’t try to do too much too soon. That is the fast track to injury. Its easy to get really excited about training and take on more than your body can handle. Its important to have a plan to stick to which will help you increase smartly

2)     It’s a process. Things won’t always be amazing. You’re body won’t always feel great.  There will be ups and downs but during the downs its so important to trust in the process.  The path to success is never straight. 1 step back and 2 steps forward, is still moving in the right direction

3)     Set Goals. I’ve always found having something to work towards helps with my training. I usually set big goals at the beginning of the year and then small ones throughout the year. It really helps to keep you focused and it can be the extra motivation you need to help you get through those tough workout

5) What is your next career goal?

My main goals right now is winning an international medal. I’m aiming to be on the podium at World Championships this summer and then next year at the Rio Olympics. I’m also looking to break the Canadian record in the 100m Hurdles.