15 October 2019

#RoadToRio – Meet Marathon Runner Alyson Dixon

June 29, 2016

Sportsister spoke to Alyson Dixon, one of three athletes chosen to represent TeamGB in the Marathon, while she was based at the TeamGB high altitude training camp in the Pyrenees. Find out how she is preparing and what she needs to do ahead of the summer Olympics in Rio.


The high-altitude training camp

“It was a little lonely at first, but now the British trials have happened and the final selections made then more athletes will start arriving. At the moment it is just me and Mo. But it’s great to be away from all the hype and distractions at home. Just to be away from all the day-to-day excitement from family and friends. It has helped me switch from that place where I was still overwhelmed to be selected and was using up a lot of nervous energy, to now focusing on my preparation.”


“My programme means I am training 2-3 times a day. My alarm goes at 7.30 and I am out training by 8.30. I like to head higher up into the mountains for an easy run of about 15 miles. It’s warm though, so it’s never actually that easy! Then I have lunch and head to the gym before it’s time for a nap and then another shorter run of around 5 miles to finish up.”

Eating at altitude

“It’s really easy to start losing weight at altitude and obviously I want to avoid that. You eat more at altitude because your metabolism is working faster, just doing day-today stuff burns up more calories and that’s without the training. So we have to monitor everything, but we have a great support team that help keep everything in check.

It’s easy to eat well though, it’s self-catering here so I can just buy and cook exactly what I want – generally this means rice, pasta, sweet potatoes and some protein.”

Alyson with Everyone Active ambassador Colin Jackson

Monitoring everything

“We monitor everything from how well we are sleeping, to our recovery and hydration levels. When I am out running, someone will follow me on a bike and check how I am doing – just to make sure I am not struggling or hiding an injury. There’s no point doing that, we have all the support we need here and most things can be fixed, so it’s best to be honest.”

“It’s fine now, but everyone gets more irritable as the weeks go by because people are getting tired and also impatient to get on with it.”

The course in Rio

“I’ve not been out to Rio yet, in fact this will be my first trip to South America too. I arrive three days before I race and won’t really get a chance to see the course. I know a bit about it though – we start in a different stadium to the main one, then we head down to the coast and loop back. I am hoping there will be good support, it’s very different to a normal marathon where there are loads of people around –this time there are just the elite women athletes, so it’s quite a different atmosphere. “

Mental attitute

“I just have to think of it as any other race, despite there being a massive worldwide audience. One way we have been taught to cope with what could be overwhelming, is to try to enjoy the occasion and view it as a celebration of all that training, a kind of victory lap of your own. “

When the race is done

“Luckily for me, my race is early on in the programme so I will get to see some of the other events too – I’m a sports nut so I can’t wait! My top choice for tickets, aside from athletics would be to watch the track cycling. “

Alyson races in Rio on the 14 Aug at 9am (1pm -UK time)

Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Aly Dixon is sponsored by leisure centre operator Everyone Active as part of their Sporting Champions campaign








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