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What You Can Learn from the Fastest Man in the World

Puma

“The fastest man in the world.” That’s a pretty impressive title! And 28-year-old, 6’5'' Jamaican Usain Bolt owns it. He won the world and Olympic medals in the 100- and 200-meter events at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He also set a 4x100-meter relay record with the Jamaican team, making him the first man to win three sprinting events at a single Olympics since Carl Lewis in 1984. He defended all three titles in the London Olympics in 2012, and he’s not planning to give them up come 2017's World Championships. He told us at a recent roundtable interview that he wouldn't end his career if an opponent beat him by even .01 seconds.

The super-athlete is sponsored by Puma (he’s been working with the company since 2006), and was in town for the launch of their new IGNITE running shoe. "I start out with a running shoe to warm up before going into a spike, and I need a shoe that is comfortable and keeps my energy up. I love IGNITE for that, and can feel it make a real difference. It's a pretty good looking shoe as well," said Bolt in a press release.

But instead of talking to him about his training regime, diet, or favorite speed drills (because, let's face it, we're never going to match his speed), we got to sit down with him to chat about some strategies that we—and you—can actually apply to our own running routines. (If you are looking for speed tips, check out The Mental Hack for How to Run Faster.)

Show Up
Never underestimate the power of just showing up for your workout. “I’ve had a couple of bad seasons, but I’ve always come back and shown up,” says Bolt. "I need to put in a lot more work, so the program’s really been stepped up this season. All I have to do is continue on the same path, get a few races in, and I should be okay." 

Don’t Ignore Pain
Even the pros get hurt, Bolt included. After injuring his foot, he's more in tune with his body. “If I feel pain, I make sure I check it out," says Bolt. (Rather than think, “alright, maybe it’s just from training or something.”) You're better off taking a day off from the gym than working out and worsening an injury. (Make sure you know the difference between soreness and pain.)

Just Relax
Before an important sprint, Bolt says the key is staying cool under pressure. “I try to be myself, just be relaxed, and a fun person,” says Bold. “I try to find somebody who I know, try to talk and laugh and just relax and not think about anything else. And it gives me a different energy to go out and compete.” (Need some help? Check out Relaxing 101.)

Be Confident
“If you train hard, if you work hard every day of the week, you just got to go there and compete knowing you're in great shape," says Bolt. It's that simple. "If you are in the best shape you can be, it doesn’t matter if you lose, you know that you’ve done your best," says Bolt. Then, learn from that experience and figure out what you can do better next time. "That’s the key," says Bolt.

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