No stranger to struggle, sprinter Manteo Mitchell might know better than anyone the hard work it takes to reach the top. Four years ago, Mitchell broke his leg during the first leg of USA’s 4X400 relay. The Olympic silver medalist refused to give up, finishing the race and helping his team advance.
Now, heading into the summer months, Mitchell knows it takes more than talent to compete with the elite — especially after an injury. He told us how he prepares and builds his confidence, both physically and mentally.
As a sprinter, Mitchell takes a two-pronged approach to his workouts, focusing on both explosive power and endurance in order to increase his speed.
“If I had to pick a favorite workout right now, it would be my open runs and my sled runs. So, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I’m in the grass or on the turf and I’m running 20s, 30s, 40 meters of sleds. It’s all power explosion and making sure I’m hitting those angles. I do two or three sets of that, and then I go into open sprinting. I’m using those same mechanics without the sled, and then we go right back to see what my body does when I get back on the sled. Mentally, if I’m able to attack it the way I want to, then I can prepare physically to be ready to attack anything that I want.”
“Tempo. So, today was a tempo day and it’s just continuous 100m, walk half of that, 200, walk half of that, 300, etc. So, today was actually 2800m of speed endurance. I’m running 14-15 second pace with minimal rest and it’s continuous. Believe it or not, when I do it, it’s crazy, because I’m able to run at a pace that I couldn’t run before with less rest. It’s crazy how your body can respond to different types of training. I’m pleased with the way things are going. It’s a tough workout — it’s probably one of the worst workouts that I do.”
Getting In The Zone
Mitchell is all about confidence. While some of that comes from knowing he’s put in the work, physically, a large portion also comes from the way he feels.
“Music is big for me. It fuels me. It keeps me grounded. Just having a sound playlist with a little bit of everything, from classical to country, to R&B to rap, to techno, whatever it may be. However I feel, I just flip the switch and it goes to it.”
Look Good, Feel Good, Perform Well
“Gotta get the hair. The hair has to be on fleek, as they say. I’m a firm believer that if you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you perform well. That’s just something that I live by. Ladies that run track, some of my professional friends, they get all done up. They put makeup on, pin their hair back, all that stuff. That’s part of my uniform, making sure my hair is right. If my body feels good, then I’m going to go out there and at least perform a little bit better.”
Mitchell has been preparing for greatness ever since high school, and we were right there with him, providing the gear he needed to succeed.
Get The Best To Be Your Best
“I remember my first encounter with Eastbay. It was in either 8th or 9th grade, right when I started playing organized football. I remember everybody talking about, ‘Hey, let’s get these cleats.’ So I tell my mom, and I’m looking in the stores, and I don’t see these cleats, and then I get to school and I remember someone having a magazine with Eastbay in yellow writing.
“‘What is this? You can just go here and get whatever you want?’
“Five or six of us ordered Under Armour shirts for when it got cold, cleats, wristbands, all this cool stuff, and that was my first encounter with Eastbay. I remember all throughout high school and even into college a little bit, just getting stuff off the Eastbay catalog, getting a catalog every month, and seeing who’s on the cover, and all this cool stuff. I think I even kept a few of the covers from back in the day.”