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Olympics

A Day in the Life of Olympic Hopeful Taylor Spivey

A look inside what it takes the make the U.S. Olympic team.

With the final automatic qualifying event for U.S. athletes this weekend at the World Triathlon race in Yokohama, Japan, we’re checking in with the hopefuls vying for a spot on the team. American Taylor Spivey took 8th at the first qualifying event in Tokyo back in 2019—but missed locking down a qualifying spot when teammate Summer Rappaport took fifth and earned the first Olympic berth for the women’s squad.

Spivey gives us an inside look here at a training day as she prepares for the big race. She recorded this diary for us last week, as she finished her last training block with her squad in Portugal.

RELATED: Tokyo Olympics: Here’s How U.S. Triathletes Will Qualify

Wednesday, May 5 (Cinco de Mayo!)

It’s about 10 days out from my first race of the year—World Triathlon Champion Series in Yokohama Japan. I’m finishing up a five-week training camp in Monte Gordo, Portugal, with my coach, Paulo Sousa. There are about 15 athletes from multiple countries here which makes it a great training environment for both motivation and camaraderie.

6 a.m. – Alarm goes off! I don’t normally get up quite so early, but since I’m traveling to Yokohama, I need to start adjusting to the time zone in Japan. This week I aim to go to bed 30 minutes earlier every day and wake up 30 minutes earlier.

6:30 a.m. – After a coffee and a banana snack, I do about 10 minutes of mobility work then head out for a 50-minute run to start the day. Here in Monte Gordo, there are incredible trails from my doorstep. I’m able to do all my easy running on soft surfaces to keep the body healthy as possible.

Taylor runs on the trails in Monte Gordo.

7:20 a.m. – I return from my run and have just enough time to eat some oatmeal, with berries, brown sugar, and Greek yogurt, before heading to the pool for a squad swim.

8:00 a.m. – Meet coach Paulo on deck at Piscinas Municipais de Vila Real de Santo Antonio. We’re fortunate to have a great set-up for swim training here in Portugal with our squad sharing three lanes of a 50-meter pool. I spend about 10 minutes doing some dryland activation work before jumping in. Today’s main set is three times through 12×50 solid effort on 50 seconds and 3×100 cruise on 1:40.

9:45 a.m. – Swim done, so I’m heading back home for a second breakfast. After a hard swim set, I need some protein as well as carbs to replenish, so I scramble some eggs and make blueberry pancakes, as they’re easy to digest ahead of my afternoon training session.

Pancakes help fuel for afternoon sessions.

10:30 a.m. – I have about an hour to relax before I need to start prepping for a bike session with the squad. I try to maximize recovery during these brief respites between sessions. I close my eyes and manage to get a 30-minute nap.

11:45 a.m. – Time to hustle out the door to meet the squad for our afternoon bike ride. I put two Science In Sport isotonic gels in my pocket, prep my bottles with SIS electrolyte mix, slop on a handful of sunscreen, and rush out the door to meet the team. Today’s workout is a paceline focused session with some intermittent sprints. Pack riding skills with variable surges are crucial to World Triathlon racing. We practice these skills weekly.

2:00 p.m. – Head back home for a late lunch. I’m ravenous so I make a Science In Sport rego chocolate protein shake to hold me over while I prep a bowl of quinoa mixed with veggies, topped with some smoked salmon. Then put my feet up against the wall to relax for a little bit while I go through all the emails to make sure I have all the documents required to enter Japan to race during the pandemic.

4:00 p.m. – I drive to the bike shop just over the border in the small town of Lepe, Spain. The border between Spain and Portugal has just reopened after Portugal relaxed its COVID-19 state of emergency due on May 1. It’s a relief to be able to travel so easily again between the two countries as the shop in Spain has the best mechanics locally. With the Yokohama race just around the corner, I need to update my chain and cassette, and make sure all the gears are working smoothly. The mechanic helps me install fresh tubeless tires with sealant to my CADEX race wheels. I take it for a spin around the block. Everything is working smoothly and the bike is race ready!

The bike is ready to go!

6:00 p.m. – I’m back from the bike shop and very hungry, so it’s time to make dinner. Since I’m leaving for Japan in a few days, I’m trying to clean out the fridge. Tonight’s menu is chicken tacos (it’s Cinco de Mayo after all!) and a large green salad with home-made balsamic dressing. Dessert is also a must, to keep the calories coming in. I make a yogurt and fruit parfait, which is basically a mix of kiwi fruit, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, almonds, honey, and biscuit crumbs. These little desserts are my way of getting in a few extra calories on big days like today.

Tacos for Cinqo de Mayo.

7:00 p.m. – Dinner is done and it’s time to relax a little bit before bed. I check my emails and review some more documents for the upcoming Japan trip (the COVID-19 protocols for travel and racing are very detailed to help keep us all safe), then I watch a little Netflix and FaceTime with my boyfriend who is currently in Girona, Spain getting ready for his own race too.

8:30 p.m. – The scheduled bedtime tonight is 8:30 p.m., which is not so easy when the sun sets at 8:22! I’m thankful that the house here in Portugal has shutters so I can keep the room cool and dark to help me sleep. Good night!

ed note: SIS and CADEX are a sponsors of Taylor’s

RELATED: The Triathlete Hour Podcast: Taylor Spivey Is Living Her Best Life