Photo credit: @coopsrun (Chris Cooper)
This year’s summer of sport has been full of excitement for everyone involved. We’ve been lucky enough to catch up with sporting superstar and honorary Bread Head, Daniel Rowden, and asked him all about his experience, what it was like to compete in the 800 metres event, and, most importantly, what foods he ate to fuel up for his races!
Keep on reading to see what he said:
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Baker Street’s Daniel Rowden Q&A
Congratulations Daniel on your achievements this summer! How does it feel to have represented your country?
It’s honestly wonderful. I still feel a little disappointed with my result. I was 0.05s off making the final and I know that if I’d run a smarter race I would’ve been able to close that gap. But overall, I’m delighted to be able to call myself an Olympian. It’s been a dream of mine since I was 10 years old. To be able to put on the Team GB kit was incredible.
Tell us what a typical day was like for you.
So most of my time in Japan was spent in the holding camp in Yokohama. There we were able to acclimatise to the Japanese heat and the time zone. Most days would involve an early 6am start before breakfast. Then I’d go off to train at the track or at another venue.
After training would be physio, an ice bath and then back on the coach to the hotel for lunch. Next up would be a nap, and then back to the training venue for some more cardio before returning for dinner, a little socialising and then and early night.
What kind of meals were you eating – did you get a chance to eat much bread?!
In the holding camp it was mostly the usual food that we’d eat in the UK. So, for breakfast I’d have my usual scrambled eggs on toast with porridge. Some carbs, meat and veg for lunch and the same for dinner. It was a little on the boring side but it kept us fuelled and lean.
What food did you see and try that sticks in your mind?
In the village the food was a bit more exciting. I loved the dim sum, gyoza and waffles and chips once I’d finished competing.
What was the atmosphere like over there?
The atmosphere was great. I’ve never been at a competition with such a buzz even though there were no spectators. People were just happy to have made it to the Olympics after the year that we’ve all had. We didn’t know if it was going to happen at all.
Did you get to meet any of your sporting heroes or people you admire?
I did get to see a few walking around the village. There were stars everywhere you looked. I saw Adam Peaty once at a mealtime and I got into a lift with Laura Kenny at the holding camp in Yokohama. But best of all I got to chat to and congratulate Tom Daley in the line for dinner after he won his gold medal.
What was it like for you in the build-up to competing and on race days?
The build-up to a race is always a bit strange. You’ve trained every day for months and months where your body is barely just hanging on. Then suddenly you take a few days off and your limbs no longer feel like they want to leave you for a more sedentary lifestyle. The body feels fresh but there just an undertone of nervous excitement. I couldn’t wait to get out onto the track.
What are your takeaways after competing for your country?
I took away a lot of positives, that I can genuinely mix it with the best in the world. And I took away another promise to myself that I would never leave another competition feeling like I should have committed more of myself to a race.
What were you most looking forward to when coming back to the UK?
Just seeing my family, my girlfriend, my friends – all the people that I’d missed! And also getting back to eating my mum’s cooking!
How did your friends and family welcome you home?
My dad and my sister came to pick me up from the airport in their Team GB supporters clothing, which was lovely. I haven’t seen them in weeks so it was lovely to give them a big hug! We went out for a family meal in the evening after my mum got home from work before I absolutely crashed from jet lag and all the travel I’d done.
What have you got planned for the rest of your summer?
So the season isn’t over which means it’s straight back into training before a few more races towards the end of August and into early September. I’ve still got unfinished business with the 800m this year, so I’m looking forward to these last few competitions to end the season on a high!