As October’s 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships draw ever closer, it is the turn of Finland’s champion wheelchair racer Leo-Pekka Tahti to talk us through a typical day for our ‘Workout Wednesday’ series.
The ‘Flying Finn’ continues to top the global rankings for the 100m T54 – an event he has dominated in recent years, with multiple Paralympic, world and European gold medals to prove it.
The 32-year-old will be hoping that his great success on the track continues in Doha next month; here he reveals what his life involves to maintain that impressive form.
Normally I wake up maybe at 09.00, or maybe 10.00. It’s my occupation so I can sleep in the mornings. In fact, it’s one of the best things about my occupation – I can sleep very late! Then I eat breakfast – bread and some Finnish porridge - kaurapuuro.
Maybe 90 minutes or two hours after that I do my first training – so it might be around midday. I go to the athletics stadium - it’s only five kilometres drive. In the summer I also push there with my racing chair.
I finish maybe about 13.00. I am a sprinter so we do a lot of training over 150m, or 80m, start training – that kind of thing. I train alone with my coach.
We finish around 13.00 or 14.00 then I go back home and eat again – I might cook something like pasta. I like cooking, and my wife does too although she is out at work so I am often home first and cooking for both of us.
Then I take a short sleep maybe 30 minutes or so, then at 17.00 I have a coffee – I love coffee – sometimes I drink too much, and I can’t sleep!
Normally in the afternoons I stay at home, or I might meet my friends – the normal life outside of sport. I try not to think about sport all the time otherwise it gets in to my head too much. It’s good to have a normal life outside of sport too, and to take some rest. I don’t like shopping though – I leave that to my wife.
At 18.00 I might go for my second training, or sometimes I have basketball training, or I might go swimming. This year I have been playing for St Petersburg – I have been a keen basketball player since I was a young boy. That might last around 90 minutes, so I will finish around 20.00.
Then I go back home and shower and have something to eat. I might watch television to relax, or I just like to spend time with my wife. Because I travel a lot it is nice to spend time together. We like playing tennis together too. I like to read too – I am learning Spanish as well. Or I might read sports books, or world history.
Then it is time to go to sleep. I try to sleep at 23.00, but sometimes I go much later. If I haven’t drunk coffee too late then it’s not a problem – I usually sleep very well. The problem is when I stay in hotels, and I’m not used to the pillows. It might be a good idea to start travelling with my own, but I have so much stuff already there is never enough space for that too!