Dalilah Muhammad is no stranger to the pressure that comes with the eyes of the world watching. In 2016, the 31-year-old track and field star from Jamaica, Queens won Olympic gold in the 400m at the Rio Games. Now, she’s setting out to reclaim her title in Tokyo. Only adding to the anticipation of the much-hyped race is her recent loss to American teammate Sydney McLaughlin at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon last month. But as the last year and half has proved, setbacks only make Muhammed stronger.
“I’ve overcome a lot this year and I just want to show people that anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” Muhammad, who suffered a hamstring injury and has battled COVID-19 twice, tells Vogue. “I think there are a lot of unknowns walking into Tokyo, and I’m excited to experience it. I think it will go down in history as being the most unique Olympics ever and it’s amazing to to be a part of that history.”
Needless to say, training for the notoriously intense 400m race, in which runners have to demonstrate speed and agility while clearing ten evenly-spaced hurdles, has been no small feat. Think: Rigorous track and field drills seven days a week, with weight training to build strength five to six days as well. Of course, managing stress and staying clear-headed off the track requires Muhammad to take time to slow down, establish a routine, and practice mindfulness on her own terms. Here, Muhammad shares how she’s found balance while training, from taking restorative baths to embracing her personal style (Yes, that was her modeling for the SKIMS x Team USA campaign).
Hot or Cold, a Bath Always Does the Trick
I recently met the CEO of the brand Pursoma and have been really into her products, especially the bath salts. I love a good bath to wind me down and detox [the body]. After hearing about her story and journey, she definitely got me on to taking that personal time that we all need as humans to unwind and find our center again. I try to take a bath at least once a week, but even more if I can. When I want to unwind, I definitely always do a hot bath, but a lot of the time, especially when it’s hot outside—I’m in Texas right now, and it’s really hot—it’s more warm, like room temperature. I also do ice baths as well, but that’s moreso for training purposes. After training, I’ll hop in an ice bath to get my legs flushed and ready for the next day.
Unplugging Is Essential
I’ve been sticking to what I’m familiar with and [focusing on] not having too many outside distractions. Just kind of getting into my little cocoon, I would call it. It’s what I do to block out the outside world just for that small period of time because when you’re in such a nerve-wracking or a heightened state, the littlest things can take away your focus. So for me, I’ve been doing my best to stay off social media, stick to talking to the people that I speak to on a daily basis, and just follow my normal routine. It’s important because there are so many distractions, so many things in the media. There are so many races that are hyped, my race is definitely one that’s been hyped up going into Tokyo, so I definitely want to ignore all of that and focus on me, and being physically and mentally ready.