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This is how Dafne Schippers stays in top form at home

In this exclusive interview, the Dutch Olympic sprinter Dafne Schippers (27) shares how she stayed in shape at home and she gives some tips. As a result of the pandemic, great champions also faced freedom-restricting measures.

What did you do to protect yourself against the virus?
I am always very concerned about hygiene as an athlete but also in my personal life. I have always washed my hands regularly and as a professional athlete, you are extra careful because illness has a huge impact on training and competitions. It appears the coronavirus can cause permanent damage to your lungs. That would be the end of my career as a sprinter. Although I don’t belong to the risk group in terms of age, I don’t want to run any risks. My social life is on the back burner and I consistently keep a distance of a meter and a half.
The training base at Papendal Olympic training center was closed. How did you solve that?
That's right, the sprint team selection was not allowed to use the sport facilities in recent months. We started looking for creative alternatives. It was very strange that as a top athlete you could find yourself sent away from a place while you were only trying to practice your profession. I realize that sport is secondary to the measures to reduce the impact of the corona crisis but I don’t find training in a forest that much safer than training on a running track. What I really appreciated, however, was the support I received from Technogym. They immediately helped me by providing strength equipment so that I could do my strength training at home. I already had a Technogym treadmill and an indoor bike, and I was able to carry on training at home. That was great!.
Does Technogym equipment contribute to achieving your training goals?
I can't go into detail about my training methods but thanks to Technogym I now have barbells, weights and medicine balls, so I can do everything I normally do at Papendal at home. I use the squat rack at least three times a week. I can do all kinds of exercises with the rack, varying from the ‘clean’ and squats to bench presses. Strength training is extremely important for an athlete. You need power for the entire race: an explosive start, acceleration and to sustain the momentum. Technogym equipment is of excellent quality, which is necessary when you want to get the best out of yourself. All details must be correct, so the equipment you train with must meet the highest standards. I also like the design of the Technogym equipment.

There are currently no competitions and the Olympic Games have been postponed for a year. How do you deal with that?
It feels very unnatural not to run any races during the competition season. On one hand, it means that I don't have to be at my peak but on the other, I have to keep training and stay fit. Fortunately, I can do that now the athletics tracks have reopened. And I have more time to adjust things that can be improved. The preparation may be longer in the end but the goals are still the same. Staying top fit is important but I did temporarily adjust the intensity of my training at the start of the restrictions. There was no point in constantly pushing my boundaries. I have been around for a few years and have already completed many large tournaments so taking a little slower for a while was not that bad. And now I'm training intensively again!.

Do you have any tips to emerge stronger?
Perhaps the most important tip is to stick to your rhythm. Eat healthily, get enough sleep and keep exercising, then you stay in balance both physically and mentally. It may be tempting for many people to hang out on the sofa and stream contents but you will feeling better in the end if you keep taking care of your body.

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