A Day In The Life of Tatyana McFadden


Consider the time and energy Usain Bolt spends to become the world’s fastest sprinter. Now imagine he was also training for a marathon. And studying for classes.

That is a day in the life of Tatyana McFadden.

McFadden, who is known as “The Beast,” covers more than 100 miles per week as she trains for races ranging from the 100m to the marathon. 

“Every day feels like Groundhog Day,” she said. 

McFadden described her training schedule to NBCOlympics.com while attending the Women’s Sports Foundation’s 36th Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards gala. 

6:40 a.m.: Wake up

McFadden sets her alarm clock extra early to allow herself the flexibility to hit the snooze button several times before she starts her day at 7 a.m.

As soon as she gets out of bed, she reaches for her water bottle and begins hydrating for her morning workout. She eats yogurt and gets her mind in training mode. 

like to be light in the morning,” McFadden said. “I really don’t eat too much.”

8 a.m.: Morning workout

The 10-time Summer Paralympic medalist adjusts her workout throughout the year. 

In the spring and summer, she focuses on sprinting and getting faster. In the fall, strength and volume is the priority as she gets ready for marathon season. She lifts light weights in the winter, strengthening her back, shoulders and wrists to speed up recovery. 

10 a.m.: Breakfast 

After her grueling morning workout, McFadden eagerly looks forward to breakfast. Her favorites include pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, smoothies and more yogurt.

“I make the biggest breakfast ever,” McFadden said. “I am trying to recover quickly.”

McFadden, who was born paralyzed from the waist down due to spina bifida, wants to use her experiences to help children overcome their own obstacles. Her goal is to become a Certified Child Life Specialist, which the Child Life Council defines a professional who helps “children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events.”

McFadden graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in human development, and served as child life services intern for the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network in 2014. She continues to take classes as she works towards the certification.

“It’s great to keep your mind busy,” McFadden said.

1 p.m.: Lunch

Unlike breakfast, McFadden keeps lunch “medium sized” with a mix of protein and carbs. A typical lunch could include spinach salad, pasta, fruit and some form of protein. 

She then eats another snack at around 2:30 p.m.

“I’m eating all day,” McFadden said.

3:30 p.m.: Afternoon workout

McFadden gets to explore Champaign, Ill. during her 12-14 mile afternoon workout. She regularly changes her route to keep from getting bored. She also takes advantage of the terrain to work on various techniques, such as turning and going uphill and downhill. 

“It’s nice not being on the track all of the time,” McFadden said. 

6 p.m.: Dinner

A large, well-deserved dinner awaits McFadden after her afternoon workout. She aims to consume at least 2,000 calories per day.  

“Marathon training is really strenuous,” McFadden said. “You need all of that food to recover.”

She unwinds by studying or watching a movie. She also eats a snack before bed.

10:30 p.m.: Bedtime

“I get ready to do it all again!” McFadden said.

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