David McNeill, an Australian Olympian and former NCAA athlete, is one of the first Australian selected athletes to compete at this year's Olympic Games. With his Australian National Championship 10k in December 5th, David ran the Olympic Qualifying time of 28:03.69 (he also ran the Olympic A standard with 27:45.01 in the 10,000m at the Payton Jordan Invitation in May 2015).
In the 2012 London games, David ran the 5000m.
While running at Northern Arizona University, David was a 9X All-American. He has since moved back to Australia where he runs 100+ miles/week. How does he recover from his training, what's his favorite workout, and how does he mentally prepare for hard efforts? See what he has to say 'bout all that:
What is your favorite motivational quote?
I don’t think I have one. People tend to motivate me more than quotes.
David McNeill running his Rio "A" Standard time in the 10k. He's one of Australia's first selected athletes to compete at this year's Olympics.
What is your favorite pre-race song? Favourite songs come and go. They also depend on the pre-race mood. Sometimes, I don’t like listening to music before I run. But when I do listen to music before I race, they’re usually on the mellower side, to help keep me relaxed. London Grammar was my band of 2015 (Metal and Dust is my favourite song of theirs.) If I’m feeling a little more upbeat, Odesza was my go-to option for 2015 (Sundara being my favourite).How do you recovery immediately after a race or hard workout? For me, it’s all about food and hydration. Stretching and rolling out usually come later. Most of the time, I start the recovery with a smoothie (blueberries, vegan protein, almond butter, chia seeds, water). After that, it’s usually the triple threat: eggs/avocado/tomato on toast. Sometimes scrambled with turmeric, usually poached or soft boiled. Guest appearances from goat cheese and smoked salmon on the toast, or occasionally a veggie scramble turned into a breakfast burrito. Of course, on race day, you don’t always have immediate access to a kitchen afterwards, so I’ll either have a smoothie pre-made, or I’ll have some bars packed in my bag.
I usually want what I can’t have! I’m living back in Melbourne these days, so I miss Flagstaff, AZ dearly! But when I was living in Flagstaff, I missed being able to run on the beach - specifically, on the hard-sand at low tide in Queenscliff, Victoria (90mins from where I grew up). Both places have a serenity about them that really quenches the spirit…really makes you feel alive, reminds you of how small and insignificant you are being surrounded by such vast beauty, and just makes you feel so grateful for life!
Do you have a go-to pre-race meal? I don’t. I learned to be adaptable when I was in college. Every different place you race has different offerings, and sometimes, choice doesn't really factor in. But given the choice, at best, I avoid a big plate of carbs - I like having plenty of veggies, maybe some fish, and then a little grains/legumes to accompany it.
David will race at the 2016 Rio Olympics this fall, follow his journey on Twitter and Instagram @rundmc_niell. Read his columns on Runner's Tribe.