Today is Global Running Day, which is a celebration of the sport of running. On this day, we’re excited to have the opportunity to talk to someone who’s an expert on the art of running, Track and Field Professional athlete, Dominique Blake (DVB). Poised, accomplished, determined and inspiring are just a few of the words we’d use to describe Dominique. We sat down to talk about her life, career and the legacy she’s creating.
Ellie: Let’s start at the beginning. It’s not typical for a child to know exactly what they want to be and then actually grow up to be that. But you, even as early as kindergarten, knew that you wanted to be an Olympic athlete. Where did that passion come from and how has that childhood dream shaped you as an adult?
DVB: That passion came from having terrific parents who knew no boundaries. They raised me (at a very young age) to think independently and instilled the mindset of “work hard, win easy.” It’s a total game changer when you raise your kid to be passion driven, while not allowing society to shift the narrative to mediocrity as we often see.
Ellie: That’s a really beautiful gift they gave you. Do you have a mantra that you live by because of their teachings?
DVB: I live by and encourage others to live by one principle. That principle is, “We can all be, do and have anything in life. As long as we choose to commit to excellence.”
Ellie: Speaking of excellence. You are an amazing athlete and we’re really interested in your journey to prepare and focus before a race. Is there a particular aspect of your training that you really enjoy? And also find really challenging?
DVB: The thing I love most about my training is feeling my limits being pushed and acknowledging in that very moment it’s happening. The idea that I’m better in that moment than I was when I attempted whatever it was in training before, is exhilarating. The most challenging thing is maintaining consistency even when it’s not your winning season. As human beings and athletes, the thing that separates greatness and being the best in the world is a winning attitude even after you’ve been defeated or beaten down. The mastering of the mind is more challenging than anything you’ll ever do physically.
Ellie: Tell us about your pre-race rituals? Do they change depending on the importance of the event?
DVB: My pre-race rituals include:
- Listening to high tempo dancehall, EDM and hip hop music
- Making sure I’m super hydrated
- Having a quick talk with my coach no matter where I am in the world
- Saying a specific affirmation/prayer before I get into the blocks
Ellie: What about Cryo-Therapy. We know you LOVE it and talk about it often. Talk to us about why/how it makes a difference in your training.
DVB: Cyro-Therapy is amazing for athletes and also the average person. It has phenomenal benefits for the body’s recovery. I’ve partnered with Restore (Rodgers) Hyper Wellness to be able to spread awareness for this specific kind of unpopular form of recovery. As time goes by, technology gets better and we keep on improving techniques to better help the human body function at very high levels. A few benefits of Cryo-Therapy are decreased inflammation, increased cell rejuvenation, improved skin tone and reduced signs of aging. It's commonly used as a spot treatment as well.
Ellie: Today is World Running Day - what does that mean to you?
DVB: World running day means a great deal to me. It is the acknowledgment and respect for runners all around the world. Running to me is not just an activity. It is the ability to master your mind and body at the same time. All runners know the many challenges that come with it, whether it be marathon running, sprinting or leisure running. The great respect comes from surrendering to the belief that we will consistently get better over time if we eliminate cutting corners in the process. I believe running is my and many other people’s religion. It holds you accountable, builds you up, tells no lies, and allows you to stay true to the idea of “whatever you put in, you will absolutely get out.” Isn’t that the most basic, fundamental and awesome principle in life?
Ellie: How do you mentally prepare for a race?
DVB: My mental preparation comes from weeks and months of training prior to the actual event. 24 hours before the race, all the work is done and the outcome of the race will absolutely depend on your level of confidence. I can’t stress enough that preparation ultimately determines how much confidence we have in all areas of life. All my confidence comes from the preparation before the big show.
Ellie: What do you usually eat while in training? Do you maintain the same kind of diet while not in training? If not, what does that typically look like.
DVB: I’ve gotten really good with diet and nutrition as I’ve gotten older. A lot of the mastering of your potential comes with understanding your body type and how to feed your system during each season of training. When I’m training and competing, I keep my (processed) sugar intake super low to achieve this lean arm you see. Eating frequent small meals are very important to keep because it keeps my metabolism high. The last important thing I implement in my diet is being conscious of complex carbs like bread, rice and pasta. I rarely indulge in this but when I do, I try my best to do it before 4 pm. Why before 4pm you ask? Well because typically that’s when we are most active during each day. After 5 PM we typically go into more of a restful and relaxed mode before bedtime. (Don’t tell my coach but my guilty pleasures are Welch’s fruit snacks and sour cream doughnuts). I dream of the days when I can indulge.
Ellie: (We promise not to tell!) Throughout your career, you have faced—and overcome—your share of trials. How do you maintain a healthy perspective through all of it and stay mentally strong?
DVB: My triumphant story and attitude is again attributed to my upbringing and having a winner mindset. Life will deal us all kinds of cards. It’s our ability to take a good deck and a not so good deck and create the best outcome no matter what. I truly believe the most successful human beings have faced a significant amount of adversity, trials and pressure that may have seemed impossible. Our character will always be put to the test to reveal who we are and what our understanding of life truly is. The biggest and best part of my story is that I get to leave a legacy and help other people. When it’s all said and done, if I can’t say I helped others, it’s not worth it to me.
Ellie: That’s beautiful. And brings us to giving back. We know that giving back is a big part of who you are, can you tell our readers about the organizations you are a part of and why you give back?
DVB: Giving back made me who I am. I truly think our success (or lack thereof) comes from someone taking the time to either care enough to help another or not. I realized very early in my life that if you water and nurture your seeds they will grow and flourish the way you want over time. Someone took the time they didn’t have to and invested it in me to become greater than they were. I’m referring to my parents, high school coach, college coach and mentors.
A few organizations I’m passionate about are:1. The Boys & Girls Club.
I have partnered with the local Boys & Girls Club here in Fayetteville, Arkansas to ensure I always have direct influence and reach to children when it comes to enriching their minds and spirits. Whenever clients choose to visit my company Diamond Training, they train with us at the Fayetteville Boys & Girls Club.2. Bohemia Cares.
I partnered with Bohemia Cares because they mirrored my values of empowering students, women, and men to reach their full personal and career potential through education, mentoring, and cultural enrichment. What more needs to be said! Our mission together is to inspire individuals to build strong self-esteem, become leaders, and discover untapped talents that will lead to a prosperous life.
3. The University Of Arkansas Women’s Track & Field Program.
As a professional athlete, my training base is here in Fayetteville, AR. The city is known as the track capital of the world. My days training with my coach and professional training group are facilitated around the college athletes and the University’s facilities. I’m passionate about guiding their steps, mindset and being an example of life on the other side of college sports. For the ones who decide to run professionally, it can be a scary idea of what’s going to happen next and if they can’t hack it. Being there helps them understand the liege of professionalism and intensity that can follow after collegiate sports.
Ellie: What’s next for you?
DVB: Next for me is continuing to master my craft in business and athletics, focusing on my goals for 2020 (Tokyo Olympics) and setting up my lifestyle to start a family in the next few years. I embrace change and transitions to be able to achieve all the success I desire.Take it from Dominique, it doesn’t matter how fast you run or how far you go—what’s important is that you commit to excellence, have fun being active and inspire others to join you along the way. Read more about Dominique’s journey here and follow her on Instagram.