Trending Topics

Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross Talks Staying Motivated in Downtime

Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross is having a big week.

She’s gracing the August cover of Women’s Running magazine  — her first solo magazine cover — while her new reality TV show, “Glam and Gold,” premieres on WeTV.

We caught up with the gold medalist and American record holder (in the women’s 400 meter, with a time of 48.70 seconds) to talk motivation, determination and, of course, breakfast.

What was it like shooting your first cover?

It was amazing. Women’s Running is amazing. Plus, I’m a woman that runs, so it was awesome to be on there and help inspire other women to the do the same. Running has brought me so much joy and happiness and, of course, success. Of course, I’ve had my failures and obstacles too, but those have helped shape my character. This is my first solo cover, so that’s a big deal. It was an amazing opportunity.

In the Women’s Running interview you discuss some of those obstacles, as well as the fact that you’re always training. How do you keep going without burning out?

I set intermediary goals. I always have long-term goals, like starting to train for the Olympics, but I love training and enjoy getting closer and closer to my ultimate goal. I like to say I have a bad memory — I quickly forget my successes and start to set new goals very quickly. I learned not to hold on to the good or the bad too long to keep pursuing the next goal.

Speaking of the Olympics, what are you hoping for in Rio?

London was amazing, it was my first time winning an individual gold, I got to accomplish a dream I had since I was 9 years old. I say it was running into my destiny. I really want to defend that title. I hope to get healthier — I’ve been kind of sidelined by toe surgery — but I have three more years to get ready and train really hard.

Did you have any favorite cross-training activities that you did while you’ve been recovering?

I ended up doing a lot of biking. It’s okay… but I realized when I had to do other workouts that running is what I enjoy the most. I would just wish I could be on the track! I did a lot of pool work. And I did a lot of running on an AlterG treadmill.

What helped you stay motivated through that?

I’ve had my share of obstacles — we all have. In 2007 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to continue running. In 2010 I pulled my quad. I have great faith and I believe everything happens for a reason. I stay very encouraged because I feel like my best is still yet to come. The benefit of obstacles is they give you additional motivation. I’m looking forward to giving it 110 percent in my training.

How does diet and nutrition factor into your training? We’re crazy about breakfast here!

I am crazy about breakfast, too! I never miss breakfast. If I do I am the most grumpy person in the world. I have peppermint green tea, egg whites or something full eggs, then I have some fruit and either a bagel or pancakes for some carbs. If I don’t have eggs I’ll have oatmeal. For lunch, I’ll have a grilled chicken salad or tuna sandwich on wheat bread. Especially when I’m training I’ll supplement my meals with a protein shake. Then dinner is grilled salmon, a baked potato and vegetables. I’m a really boring eater. I don’t try a lot of things. It’s easy for me to stick to a healthy diet because I’m so picky.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity and length. As told to Sarah Klein.


Back to top