We got to sit down with Carmelita Jeter, Fastest Woman in the World, Olympic Champion and World Record Holder, to learn about her workout routine, how she motivates herself and what kinds of workouts she recommends. Check out the full interview below!
How often should you sprint if you are a competitive runner?
Once a week to twice a week if you are a distance or marathon runner. Sprinters will do them more often.
Everyone should have some form of sprint workouts in their workout. It’s not about being Olympic fast or Fastest Woman Alive fast, but it’s definitely about adding some speed to your workouts.
When you are watching international races or competitive races, the distance runners are able to have a kick at the last 100 meters of the race. How do they get that kick? Definitely not just from running long distance. They jump into sprint workouts. This allows them to win, get medals, and make Olympic teams. Sprinting is very, very important.
What’s your opinion on treadmills versus running on the track?
Well, running on the track and on treadmills are very different, but it’s all based on the individual. You can still get the same workout in on both. People think that if you’re a sprinter you can’t get on the treadmill because it’s going to make you slower. But, sprinters can also get on the treadmill. You just change the workout and how you want to work out on the treadmill.
The treadmill is also great for sprinters if they’ve been injured. And they get a chance to hop on the treadmill get their legs back going.
What does a typical workout look like?
It depends. Some days I like to run on the track, some days like to run on the treadmill. Lately, I’ve been traveling a lot more, so I usually just go to the gym inside the hotel and jump on the treadmill.
Sometimes I feel like doing a long run – maybe 15 minutes – which is pretty long for me because I’m a sprinter. Or I’ll do a real work out on the treadmill where I’ll do a three-minute warm-up, which is a small jog and then I’ll get off the treadmill, stretch, and jump back on the treadmill and go a percentage for 45 seconds, rest for two minutes, and repeat.
I would definitely tell people not to set a workout the day before. When you wake up in the morning and go by how you feel, you’ll notice that your workouts will be so much better.
“When you wake up in the morning and go by how you feel, you’ll notice that your workouts will be so much better.”
We know that it’s possible to work out too much. How do you feel about rest days?
People think that if they take a break that they are going to lose it. If you are going to lose it at 24 hours, then you never had it. What people fail to realize is that, just like anything, if you don’t take a break, then the mind and body is going to break down. You are not going to be able to get your full workouts in like you would like.
I suggest you go for two days, you take a break the third day, and repeat. Change it up on the rest day so the muscles that you are used to using are actually resting. Instead of running and jumping on the treadmill or jogging outside, do a circuit in the gym with a medicine ball or just do something different.
Any tips for competitive runners?
Set goals, but it needs to be a goal that’s actually attainable – a goal that you can touch. When you reach that goal, set another goal. And then, guess what, set another goal after you reach that goal.
We can’t just wing it because if you’re winging it, you don’t really know where you’re going with it. If someone else is looking at you thinking ‘oh, you can’t do that,’ show ‘em.
What about tips for beginners who are looking to start running?
My tip for beginners: Start. That’s my tip.
Sometimes people are intimidated about starting. You might get intimidated by going into the gym and thinking that people are looking at you or staring at you. So what! Who cares? You have to start. Once you start, then motivate yourself to keep going, but you have to start!
What are your favorite strength workouts?
So being that I was a power sprinter when I competed, I still have that power mentality. I love to do squats. I love to do leg press. I love to do cleans. I love to do leg curls. I love to just take free weights and do lunges or standing lunges.
Just back squats or front squats too?
I like front squats but, I’m not gonna lie, I like back squats because they usually work pretty good for my jeans. I just like how
it makes my physique step out and you can tell that, even though I’m not competing internationally anymore, I still look like I’m a sprinter. I still look fit.
Should you focus on upper body exercises to help improve your running?
A lot of people don’t understand how important it is for the upper body to be just as strong as the lower body. It allows you to run a lot of farther, you’re so much stronger, and then you’re balanced. You are swinging your arms, you’re picking up your knees, you are dropping your feet and coming back up.
Sometimes people think, ‘oh I need my legs to be so strong.’ No, you need your upper body to be strong as well because you have to be able to swing your arms.
Favorite cheat food?
Okay, so a lot of people are probably going to get upset with me when I say this, but I do not believe in being an athlete and then not enjoying the things that you like.
I just feel like when you’re out there busting your buns and you’re working really hard, what’s the point in being unhappy. If you like ice cream, I wouldn’t say go and eat a pint of ice cream, but hey, if you had a great workout and you’re feeling some type of way, go have a small scoop of ice cream.
I love sweets. I love cupcakes. I love the sprinkles on Georgetown cupcakes. I’ll have some cupcakes once a week because that’s what I love.
How do you motivate yourself to run when you don’t want to?
Sometimes you have to coach yourself. You have to say, “okay I need you to get up. I need to do something.”
We have to speak life into ourselves. Sometimes, we have to speak greatness into ourselves.
You have to be willing to be your own cheerleader and motivate yourself. Stop waiting for somebody else to motivate you, you know? Stop waiting for somebody else to clap. Stop waiting for someone else to cheer. Get up and clap for yourself.