Playing for the U.S. women’s national soccer team is demanding — there’s no denying that. Allie Long, a professional midfielder on the OL Reign and the USWNT, burns through endless energy through practices, scrimmages, games and her fitness routine off the field. To stay healthy and at the top of her game, she relies on a solid training and recovery regimen.
Below, the soccer star shares the ways she stays physically and mentally prepared to hit the field.
On starting things off on the right foot:
“Every off season, I make specific goals and go to training with a purpose. There’s always something that I want to work on and I leverage the off season to work on my long-term goals by setting and achieving the short-term goals to get me there.”
On her prehab essential…
“Hydration. Always hydration.”
…and her rehab essential:
“After practice, I’m all about getting fuel into my body. In particular, I love grabbing a ZonePerfect bar — they’re perfect when I’m hustling between practice and the gym or traveling with one of the teams. Honestly, I’m obsessed with the taste. I think the Fudge Graham is my forever favorite!”
On her pre-game ritual (or lack thereof)
“I don’t actually do things too differently the night before a match. I like to keep my routine consistent regardless of whether I have a game the next day or not.”
…Except for watching old footage:
“I like to be prepared so I always review film from scrimmages so that I can visualize how I want to play going forward.”
On the importance of recovery:
“My recovery after a strenuous workout or a big match is something that I take so seriously. The better and faster my muscles can recover, the better I’ll be on the field — and ultimately (and hopefully!) avoid injuries. Recovery is something that helps me be able to do everything.”
On her love of massage:
“I get massages weekly, which is great. Actually, I probably do it a couple of times a week…a couple more times than I should…”
On her other favorite (and freezing!) form of recovery:
“There’s a cryotherapy machine at the gym in my apartment complex, and I’m there pretty much every single day. I’m able to jump in for those quick three or four minutes a session typically takes and actually decompress. I’ll also do some focused breathing in there—it’s something to get me through the cold! — but breathing helps to calm my mind, too.”
Regardless of which recovery activity Long is partaking in on her ever-evolving training cycle, she keeps her mind calm, cool and collected. “The difference is staying present in the moment—don’t think too far in advance and don’t worry too much about something that happened,” she says. “That disappointment could be the difference between making the team or not.” Long applies these same principles to other areas of her life beyond the soccer field, too.