Meet Dominique Scott, the unbelievable 24-year old Rio Olympian, Adidas athlete, and five-time NCAA Champion in women’s track and field. Dominique is totally crushing it and living her dream, so we couldn’t wait to get the chance to ask her about her training plan and personal life. As it turns out, even as a professional runner, Dominique struggles with motivation from time to time. We asked Dominique about running and motivation tips, her athletic journey, and her current goals. Here’s what she told us:
Tell us a bit about your background. Were you always athletic growing up? When did you start long-distance running?
When I was seven years old my mom was the cross-country coach at my school. Every Friday afternoon I would accompany her to the races where I would wait for her runners to finish. I was always bored, constantly asking when could we go home. One Friday afternoon she said, “if you’re so bored, why don’t you run.” Joining and running with the cross-country team had never even occurred to me as an option. But the next week, a little bit out of spite, I stood on the start line about to compete in my very first cross-country race. I had filled the pockets of my shorts with jelly beans and during the race I stopped occasionally to eat my candy, kind of having my own little picnics along the way. Despite all of this I actually really enjoyed myself. So the following week I lined up again, this time with a few less jelly beans in my pockets. Every week my competitive spirit grew and I wanted to place higher and receive a lower number on my finishing card. That’s how my journey of running began.
Who is one person who has inspired you on your fitness journey?
My mom has always inspired me. My mom was an elite marathon runner in South Africa, while raising two girls and being a full time teacher. There are a couple qualities and traits I learned from her which have helped shape me into the woman and athlete I am today. She showed me what discipline looks like. She would wake up a 4am to get her training done before having to help my sister and I get ready for school. She never let herself have an excuse. She didn’t let the weather dictate her training nor an injury. She always found time to get her training done and never complained about it. She showed me what hard work is.
Do you do any other types of workouts to supplement your track and field training?
When I turned professional I felt that working on my strength was one area I could improve on without putting more miles on my legs. I workout in the gym with my personal strength coach twice a week for an hour. We focus on my weaknesses and the muscles that I need to be strong for racing but don’t necessarily get strong by simply running. My strength coach, Reuben Raina, is a former Olympian himself having run in the 1992 Olympic Games for America in the 5,000m.
What’s a piece of advice you’d give to beginner runners?
I would like to encourage beginner runners to create a goal for yourself and setting a timeline for that goal. Setting a goal is the first step. For example your goal could be to run your first 5km. Select a 5km race or fun-run and determine the date. Write your goal down and put it in a place you’ll see every day, like your bathroom mirror. This will remind you of what you are working towards and keep you motivated. I would also suggest telling people about your goal. This will keep you accountable. And remember, its not meant to be easy! If is was, every one would be doing it. But you’ll be stronger for it and won’t ever regret it.
What’s your daily diet like?
My daily diet is not super strict as I find that my weight takes cares of itself from my high intensity training. Through my training cycles I get leaner towards the end of my track season, due to the months of hard work I put my body through. I cannot stay at this lean race weight very long before my body breaks down. My philosophy is “everything in moderation.” I try to avoid processed food and try to cook as many meals at home. I find that when I eat out I tend to over eat. Cooking and eating at home allows me to know exactly what I’m putting in my body and eliminates the temptation of ordering the unhealthy option. However, I don’t deny myself. When my body is craving something like chocolate or pizza I allow myself to have that, but in a reasonable amount. I find that by listening to my body and not denying it I don’t have binges or need cheats days. I truly believe in listening to ones body, respecting it and taking care of it.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?
Coffee! I first thing I do in the morning is crawl into the kitchen to make myself and my husband a cup of coffee. I can’t do anything without my first ‘cup of Joe’ in the morning. The last thing I do in the evening, is kiss my husband goodnight. He’s not a cuddler but I make sure I get that kiss before he closes his eyes.
We can’t get over the fact that you ran in the Rio Olympics in 2016. What was your favorite moment from the experience?
There are many moments and events from the Rio Olympic Games that will stay with me forever. However I think that the most special and surreal moment from my experience at Rio was running from underneath the stadium through a tunnel onto the blue Olympic track about to compete in the women’s 10,000m. My parents, sister and husband had gathered along the rails of the tunnel, watching and supporting me live out my childhood dream. I had the biggest smile across my face. It was the moment when all the years of hard work and sacrifices became worth it. I will never forget the feeling!
Do you ever have those days where you just don’t feel like training? If so, how do you deal with that?
Totally! I am so blessed to be able to do something I love as my job, but occasionally there are still those days that I don’t want to “go to work.” Whether it’s freezing cold, or my body is aching or I don’t have any company. I feel that it’s pushing through those bad days that make us tougher and mentally stronger. Sometimes it takes playing some kind of mind game or bribing oneself. For example, one morning I needed to do a 8mile recovery run. It was freezing cold, I was going to have to run alone and simply did not want to lace up my shoes and go for the run. So I drove down to a local coffee shop and ran from there, telling myself that after my run I would treat myself to a cafe latte. Sometimes it just takes something small and silly to encourage you to lace up your shoes and get out the door. One thing I always remind myself is that I won’t regret it!
Do you ever have times when fear you’ll fail or you feel like giving up? How would you advise someone to keep working hard?
Like the saying goes “don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” You cannot let the fear of the unknown keep you from trying. I always get nervous before races, because I’ve trained for many hours and it’s important to me, but after crossing the finish line, no matter the result, I never regret it.
You’re only 24 years old and you’re already so accomplished. What’s next on your agenda?
Thank you! Currently I am training hard to be the best athlete I can possibly be and represent my country and Adidas at the highest level. However inspiring the next generation of athletes and giving back to the running community is what’s becoming more and more important to me lately. Running has opened so many doors for me and given me countless opportunities that I feel the need to give back. I love connecting with young athletes who support and follow me. This inspired me to start a running group for 8 – 12 year old girls. The group is called the Dom Squad. I have 15 young girls who are eager to learn and take that next step towards high school sports. Interacting with these girls is amazing! They inspire me to be the best version of myself and role model for young athletes.
To join the #DomSquad and follow Dominique on her amazing journey, follow her on Instagram at @domscottrunSA