Lisa Weightman: The Path to Olympic History

Last month we interviewed the extraordinary Lisa Weightman, a four-time Olympic marathon runner and two-time Commonwealth Games medalist, as she embarks on her journey to a historic fifth Olympic Games - a milestone no other Australian track and field athlete has achieved. Lisa's dedication to marathon running and her impact on the sport, both at home and internationally, speak to her commitment and passion.

Join us as we dive into Lisa's inspiring story, on balancing work life, motherhood, training whilst supporting her health and recovery. Enjoy

Can you share your journey with us? How did you get started in athletics, and what has propelled you to aim for the Olympics?

I started running in school and despite suffering from recurring stress fractures as a junior athlete I found my way as soon as I moved from the track to the roads in my mid 20s. I spent most of my teenage years focusing on my studies and dabbling in state level races and became a world championship team medalist at cross country in 2008.

I started running marathons in 2008 and qualified for my first Olympic Games in Beijing at my debut in London. It was a surreal experience being on the start line of that first Olympic Games and something I’ll never forget. I’ve since progressed to racing 25 international marathons in which I finished every race I started. These races include London, Berlin, New York, Tokyo, Chicago (I have just Boston left to complete the 6 world majors), 4 Olympic marathons, medalled at 2 Commonwealth Games and 2 World Championships.

I’ve qualified for my 5th Olympic Games and it’s been a nervous wait for the team selection announcement in May. If I am selected for Paris I’ll be the first Australian Track and Field Athlete to run 5 Olympic Games. I’m pretty excited about it as I am in my best form and have big expectations.

What does a typical day of training look like for you as you prepare for the Olympics, and how do you incorporate recovery and rest into your schedule?

I have a full time job as an Associate Partner at IBM here in Australia and I’m mum to an energetic and creative young man so it’s a busy schedule daily. But I also have a fantastic family, supportive friends and some amazing humans who are as invested as my husband and I are in making this Olympic dream come true

I run between 140 and 200km per week, every week. The week is a variety of workouts to stimulate the different energy systems required to run the marathon in the most efficient way – which ultimately produces the fastest time possible. I run with my husband, a few friends and my training group at Melbourne University. My nephew joins in with us too during his footy off season and my son, Pete joins us for a few laps from time to time. At times during the marathon block it feels like we never stop running!  

I like to relax by playing lego with Pete, drawing or having family movie nights.  
I’m also very fortunate to have a sponsorship with Solace Saunas, my husband and I enjoy some quiet time just chatting about our day in the sauna at least 3 times per week.  

Endurance Recovery Boots have been kind enough to kit me out with endurance recovery boots, an ice bath and an endurance recovery massage chair and Roll Recovery sent me their rollers for the back and feet which I absolutely love! I have recovery covered and I am very grateful!  
Balancing motherhood with the demands of Olympic-level training must require incredible discipline and time management. Can you share how you navigate the challenges of being both a mother and a high-performance athlete?

I think the most challenging aspect of the juggle is the time away from my son when I need to prepare for the heat of an Olympic or World Championship event and it’s winter here at home. I need my husband Lachlan to help me on the bike with the training. It is difficult for us to take our son, Pete, with us as we need someone to be there for him during these training times. He’s also at school age so if we take him out of school then he misses that fundamental learning time with his school mates. During these major championship preparatory events it does mean we have to sacrifice. We are very fortunate of the bond Pete shares with his grandparents and they step right into the role of mum and dad seamlessly. Without family support, this dream wouldn’t be possible. 

Hydration is crucial for athletic performance and recovery. How do you stay hydrated during intense training sessions and competitions?

Like everything, practice! Getting nutrition and hydration right is just as important as training itself. I’m fortunate to have a sports physiologist as my coach, Dr Richard Telford. He has guided me through my marathon journey. I have been working with Precision Hydration since 2022 and the results have spoken for themselves, my performances have improved since I first started using their products at Berlin in 2022.  

It also helps to have companies like Fressko who have brought reusable insulated drink bottles into our lives, as it’s so easy to keep track of how much fluid I take on board to recover during the day, plus the water never gets hot in the bottle or cools down when it’s in the coffee mug! It’s fun having a bubblegum coloured bottle and reusable travel mug in my work bag – I’m never thirsty and I’m always alert! Ha Ha

Motherhood brings its own set of joys and challenges. How has becoming a mother influenced your motivation in your sport? Additionally, are there ways in which Fressko products help you manage your hydration needs both as an athlete and a mother, especially when it comes to convenience and health?

Back in the day plastic water bottles were all we really had access to and the water would get hot in the bottle if left in the car or a bag, and you’d lose track of your intake. Now we have big bottles which keep things cool – it’s easy to fill one up and track how you are going across the day. I also need coffee to survive a day of motherhood, work and training. I have no idea how I’d get out of bed without it! 

Athletes are often on the move between training venues, gyms, and competitions. How important is portability for you when it comes to your training essentials?

I’m always on the move. It is actually fortunate that I have a Corporate job or I probably would never sit down! Week to week I rarely have the same schedule or daily experience. Some days I’m in the office, others out seeing clients or working from home. It’s a mixed bag and combine that with training at various locations around Melbourne and doing school drops and pick ups some days are a whirlwind! Having access to easy to consume food options, relaxing teas, uplifting coffee and the opportunity to take a smoothie with you is so valuable. Fuelling is just as important for an athlete and any human trying to perform at their best!

Mental strength is as vital as physical fitness in sports. How do you prepare mentally for competitions, and does staying hydrated play a role in your mental preparation?

Mental strength comes from practice, belief which is created by practice and healthy choices. I am at my most confident when I feel prepared. Preparation involves knowing what you’re up against, training for the conditions, eating well and hydrating well for the specific event and going into competition as relaxed as possible.  

Sustainability and environmental consciousness are significant today. How do you align your choices, such as using eco-friendly products like Fressko’s, with your values as an athlete?

My son Pete and I helped with the launch of ZeroCo when they came on the market. I love their mission and it was a perfect match with Pete’s passion about recycling and the impact trash is having on our planet. I also donate my excess uniform to young ladies of my mum's friends as I’m pretty tiny.

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring athletes, especially regarding maintaining physical health, balancing work/parenthood and choosing the right products for their training needs?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not good enough and that you cannot do something. If I had listened to that negative talk 20 years ago I wouldn’t have achieved what I have achieved today. And don’t be fooled, the negative talk doesn’t stop even at my age (45).  When I’m told that I’m not good enough now – it makes me even more determined if I want it bad enough – so I find another path!


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