Megan Rapinoe has a lot going on. As part of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, she’s officially heading to the 2020 Olympics this summer — almost exactly a year after competing on the team that won the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Plus, she and the USWNST are suing the United States Soccer federation over equal pay. All that, and she still manages to find time to keep up with her pink and lilac highlights.
I got a chance to chat with the midfielder about what her routine looks like these days. Spoiler: It hinges on her favorite breakfast sandwich.
What’s a typical day in your life as you’re training for the Olympics?
An ideal typical day: When I’m home, I try to get up a little earlier. Between 7 and 8 [a.m.]. I have a good breakfast and then I try to chill out in the morning. I like to have that time.
I’m a “morning workout” person, so around 11 or so, I get my workout going. If I don’t do it then, I’ll think about it all day, so I like to get it over with to start my day. Then I have a good lunch, do some errands, I might have a photoshoot in the afternoon. I try to get my "real job” done.
And then I relax at the end of the day. I wash my face, brush my teeth. I typically also do some stretching before bed. It calms me down and gets the aches and pains out from the day, and then I can sleep easily. Self-care — not from a mental and emotional standpoint, but also from a physical standpoint — is key. Especially as I get older in my career.
And then I like to read before bed. It calms me and makes me fall asleep. It takes me so long to read books because I fall asleep. The last book I read was Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
That was so great. I mean, it was so many things.
So many things. We need another interview for that.
Seriously, so true! So you start with breakfast, the most important meal of the day. What’s your go-to breakfast for Olympic training fuel?
It’s an egg sandwich with onion and spinach on an English muffin. It’s a Sue Bird special — [my girlfriend is] the best at making them.
So then once you’re fueled, what do your workouts look like? Are there parts you like, and parts you don’t?
There are definitely parts I don’t like. [My workout is] a combination between cardio, strength training, and on-field work. It’s a balance of all of those three. When I’m in my club team environment, it’s more soccer. When I’m away from that, I focus more in the gym on the strength work. I try to build that base. A lot of Pilates, interval cardio work when I’m in the gym, too.
Is there one part of the workout that tends to seem most daunting to you? How do you push through it?
Some of the longer running intervals are terrible. It’s like running as fast as you can for as long as you can. It’s terrible!
Doing them on the treadmill, they might be three-minute intervals for 40 minutes. Those are challenging. To push through, I think: Just get to the rest — it’s only a few more minutes.
In general, I try to keep in mind: This part sucks, but the worst thing is to go out on the field and not be ready. Then you’re just out there and exposed. You can’t do the things you want to do. You’re not as dangerous. Or as productive. So when I’m struggling in those moments, or don’t feel motivated, I think, I’d rather be hurting now than feel that way on the field.
Great tactics. Do you ever try to distract yourself with music or podcasts? Or is it “eyes on the prize?”
Oh, I love podcasts. I’ve listened to The Wilderness, Pod Save America, I’ve done all of Serial. I started podcasts because music just wasn’t distracting enough from the workouts. I found myself antsy. But this gets me into a good flow where I’m both mentally and physically stimulated at the same time. I feel like I get the information better, and can multitask while I’m working out. It’s also a way for me to keep myself informed, and that’s a time I carve out to do that.
Why is it important to you to stay informed — especially in America in 2020?
I want to be an informed citizen. The more informed we are as people and the more we’re participating in democracy, the better it’s going to work for us.
I’m a pro athlete, and [we are] having our own fight [with] our federation and wanting equal pay in general. And trying to move those movements forward. The more we’re informed, the more impactful we can be with all the stuff we’re doing off the field.
Right. Being informed is so important, but I think it can also be taxing sometimes, especially right now.
Hmm... I think you need to find the medium that works for you. If you want to carve out an hour to read a newspaper. Or if you like podcasts better. You don’t have to do everything all the time. I think just staying relatively informed is better than feeling overwhelmed. Some people don’t know what to do, so they don’t end up doing anything. I think even just dipping your toe in some of these mediums. You need to figure out what feels best for you, while still balancing everything else going on in your life.
Is there a product you lean on when you’re training?
I think a lot about nutrition. I try to only put things into my body that will help me get what I want out of it on the field. I have a great relationship with BODYARMOR. It helps me stay hydrated, which is so important. I love the strawberry banana flavor.
What are you keeping in mind as you get ready to take on the Olympics?
My whole thing is doing everything you can off the field to put yourself in a position that when you step out on the field, you don’t have to think. You can just play and your body’s ready. Your mind is ready. So you have your full self as an arsenal to play out there.
So smart. Well I hope everything goes well with your training, and soon you can celebrate Tokyo with some more Veuve Clicquot and a parade!
Exactly! Do the work now, and then you get the fun stuff.
This interview has been condensed for length and clarity.
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