Our first ever interview!! We got so lucky to spend some time with Laura Garcia Caro! She has recently been in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and has achieved awesome results in her career. Silver medal at the European cup in 2019, Bronze at the European cup in 2021 and 9th at the world champions in 2017. On top of this, she is also an Oysho ambassador!
We feel privileged to speak with her and we really recommend reading what she has shared with us! Our top physiotherapist Alejandro Torres run the interview, so without further ado let’s go straight to it!
Welcome Laura and thank you very much for meeting us today. First of all, this first question is a must: what does it feel like to be an Olympian?
A dream come true. In my opinion, once a certain level has been reached, every athlete dreams to live this experience. Honestly, I had always imagined that it would be spectacular, magical. But experiencing it is a feeling that goes far beyond expectations.
In my case, it was exciting from the very moment I qualified: the previous months, the start of a demanding but equally beautiful preparation, the nerves before getting there, the arrival of the Spanish Olympic Committee clothing, etc.
Once there, staying at the Olympic Village was the most impressive of it all. To be able to live such an adventure with the best athletes in the world, walk past, see them in everyday life situations, the giant dining room, etc. The competition is just another international race, but of course, it has the Olympic aura and we prepare it to the smallest detail. And about my Olympic experience, my race did not go as I expected (disqualification with 2 ’Pit Lane for technical penalties in my walk) and I was left with a bitter taste than I would have liked. This made me feel devastated, but I am trying to keep positive and remind myself of what I lived and experienced in this TOKYO 2020, which has been quite a lot.
Overall, I am proud of the journey for having given my best, and for the renewed enthusiasm to continue giving my best to reach Paris 2024.
In addition to being an athlete and a nurse, you are a psychology student. How important do you think that psychological preparation is in high-level sport?
Being mentally prepared is key. It goes from planning our day-to-day life, our routines, emotional state, and so on, to preparing and facing the competition itself. The high-level competition requires a high level of commitment, dedication, perseverance, and healthy habits.
We dedicate 100% of our energy, we travel to attend training camps, rest time, eat, etc. This leaves us with almost no time to enjoy our social life and leisure, and we need to learn how to handle all this happening at the same time. To manage it, we have to recharge our batteries and treat ourselves with some joyful and caring time that we all need. Personally, I believe maintaining this balance is very important, and whilst the limits of what elite athletes can do, elite athletes also need to find the time to enjoy themselves.
Often, as in many sports careers, we find setbacks, injuries, low energy levels, and illnesses that compromise our performance. I believe this is one of the most difficult tasks for athletes. Being able to keep calm in the lows, manage our emotions, and carry on doing what is under our control, so our own concerns will not interfere with our recovery processes. I think this is very important to succeed.
You have been practising the same discipline since you were very little and you have lived a very gradual process to reach the top. What would be your takeaway from sub-16 amateur athletics and from professional athletics?
Athletics at an early age is the stage that engages you to continue practising it in the future. During that period, I had a very positive reinforcement as I had so much fun. In my opinion, athletics is a very healthy sport, we live all together and travel with people from all the different disciplines. This was a very enriching experience and I made great friends out of it, which is what I really take away from all those years. And if I was already having good results, that enjoyment really gave me that little boost to continue with my training.
Elite athletics is a very different story, but it also has a very beautiful side. We normally target one or two main events per year and we do it with great care. I make sure I give the best out of myself and put all my will to deliver and achieve my goals: “How far am I able to go and improve as a race walker?” That is the question that is always in my head. And the most important bit is to enjoy the process, every training session, my daily routine with my teammates, the privilege of being able to be full-time on it and the great feeling of competing with the best in the world.
A new Olympic cycle begins – this time only 3 years long – and therefore, new planning. Which are your goals until Paris 2024?
The European and World Championships will be my next stage until the Olympics in Paris. And I want to do them with the same enthusiasm as the Olympics. Although they are shorter-term challenges, they also stimulate us to face the big event. Below you have my list:
– 2022 World Championship. Eugene (Oregon).
– European Championship 2022. Munich (Germany).
– World Championship 2023. Budapest (Hungary).
TankToppers tries to convey to our community the importance of “the invisible training” (resting, nutrition, multidisciplinary health team, etc.) beyond just the workout sessions. How would you try to convince an ordinary citizen who lives a sedentary lifestyle to change their habits?
Taking care of the “invisible training” is essential to maintain adequate physical and mental health. Developing healthy habits enhances our focus, makes us feel better about ourselves, and helps us regulate the functions of our body (which is continuously looking for balance). In short, it would be the basis of a healthy life, helping us to prevent diseases and being in tune with the body-mind connection. Certainly, we make our life easier when we follow a good sleep pattern, a diet according to what we need and when we exercise in relation to the needs of our body.
And now, a quick cheeky test!
Tell us one exercise that you would make do to someone you don’t like:
2km- hills interval training.
Your last ‘cheat meal’:
A pre-competition habit:
Talk to my brother before going out on the track.
An alternative sport to athletics:
CrossFit (well, it is not a sport as such, but another exercise that I love and I am looking forward to practising regularly).
A city in which you did not compete and would like to do so: