How Ajeé Wilson Prepared for the Tokyo Olympics


The past year has been “unusual” for Olympian and 800-meter United States record holder Ajeé Wilson. For the first time since she started running, she hasn’t had any races in the summer, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With races cancelled, Wilson continued to train despite it being uncertain whether she would be able to compete or if the Tokyo Olympics would even take place.

“Initially it was difficult because, for the first maybe six or seven months, I was pretty much by myself. My team and I didn’t meet up,” she says. But once it was safe for them to start training again, Wilson says that “small piece of normalcy made training a little bit easier.” Like most professional athletes, her team was flexible and adapted, creating fake races and doing time trials to tap into the competitive mentality and simulate what racing would feel like whenever the opportunity arose to do so again.

This season has been full of challenges, especially with the back and forth of races being scheduled and then called off, but Wilson has maintained focus on her goals. As she reflects on all she’s experienced throughout the pandemic, Wilson says the biggest lesson she’s learned is how to be intentional. “That’s been with how I spend my time with my family, who I’m growing with, and going through life with. How I’m training, how important this is. I feel like I’ve focused more on my health. I focused more on how I work out. I focused more on the smaller details.”

With one Olympic experience already under her belt, Wilson says the biggest takeaway from the 2016 Rio Olympics was how important her health and diet are to her performance. “I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to in 2016. After the season, I found out that I was borderline anemic, and my iron was super low. It made sense why the year and my performance at the games kind of went how it did.”

Since then, she’s learned how to take better care of herself from the inside out and fill in the blanks when there are deficits, she says. “That was probably the biggest lesson that I learned. And I think building off of that, it’s why I’m so excited about the Better Health campaign with Thorne.” She credits Thorne products like the iron supplement and recovery drink for making her “a more complete, healthier athlete” and improving her performance on and off the track.

As she approaches the trials, Wilson is taking it one day at a time, and whenever nerves occur, she reminds herself of all the challenging training sessions she’s had leading up to race day, which improves her confidence and her self-belief.

“There’s of course nerves and excitement about those big moments. But I think just breaking it all down, I’m just excited to race. I’m excited to be competitive and I’m excited to have the opportunity to kind of go after some pretty big goals. It’s been super up and down, so to feel like those moments are getting closer and closer is super exciting.”

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