Tomorrow Starts Tonight
An interview with Team USA triathlete Ross McGraw
Ross McGraw is an internationally ranked Team USA Triathlete who races and trains around the world. All while maintaining a successful career in marketing in New York City. How does he adapt to a life of ever-changing time zones? “I rely on cycles to keep my life in order," he says, "and naps.”
“When it comes to my training, work, friends and family come first. In order for my training to be successful I need to know that those other priorities are in a good place.”
As seen on a typical morning at home on the Upper West Side in Manhattan where it’s 6am and Ross is enjoying an espresso with his wife, Jordi. Their chihuahua, Taco, is nearby having his breakfast. “That means to keep my stress level manageable I may bump a session to keep things on track in the office or to see my niece's play or have a fun date night with my wife.” In a moment, Ross will hop on his stationary bike for an hour before he takes off to work for the day.
“When it comes to cramming in 23+ hours of training in a 40-hour work a week, nutrition and sleep are just as important to me as training to help recover.”
“Day-to-day I plan every hour to be as efficient as possible with my time.” Lacing up his training sneakers and packing a change of clothes in his runner’s backpack, today Ross is optimizing his morning commute into Midtown Manhattan with a running session through Central Park.
After putting in a few miles of tempo running, Ross arrives at his gym just a few blocks from his office to shower and then it's to the Viacom cafeteria for oatmeal before getting to his desk at Nickelodeon. “Sometimes I'll sneak out for a swim at lunch if I missed my morning session.”
“Finding the right mattress is a lot like finding the right aero position on the bike. It's all about finding the right balance between comfort and efficiency."
"Why shouldn’t you be just as selective when choosing the right mattress as you are with your equipment? There was an initial research and trial period to see all the options and ultimately a very calculated decision on which airweave was right for my needs. I went with a very firm mattress that applies pressure to my skeletal system and not a soft mattress that rests on soft tissue."
In 2017 Ross swam, biked or ran in 12 countries, 4 continents and 14+ US states, and he has no plans of stopping.
"My wife Jordi is a travel writer, so often our travel is a function of her work, but other times it's for races, training and just plain fun. Even when I'm in the midst of the season we find ways to balance our time together whether that's a fun run to explore together or Jordi timing my intervals in the pool. Sometimes we have to be a bit more focused and Jordi writes while I do a serious training block." That focus that Ross maintains got him placed in the top 3 in 5 out of 6 races, and placed 11th in his age group for the world triathlon grand final in Rotterdam.
“Without the right sleep and recovery plan to help my body bounce back for the next day, training and stress ultimately result in injury or sickness and can erase all the hard work that has been done.”
"I travel a lot to train and race, which can be fun, but brutal for maintaining a routine. I find a quick nap can help get me back on track after a long trip and allow me to stay up for dinner before heading to bed and starting my next training session in the morning. I also find keeping regular sleep habits has been a huge help in both keeping my body in check and planning my day. No matter the time zone or day of the week I head to bed before 11pm and wake up around 6am. There is a little flex in there, but the regularity helps me keep my body on a schedule."
What’s next to come? Winter training in the U.S. and Europe, exploring Antarctica, and getting ready for the next season of races.
“I take full advantage of the off-season and easy days to socialize with friends and keep things in perspective. On the other end of the spectrum, I am lucky enough to have friends and family that know and understand when I disappear for a training block during the peak of my season. They know that I will re-emerge on the other side a happier and better person.”
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