Wales and Northampton rugby winger George North on how he gets himself ready for action...
The previous day
The day before a game, it’ll be a lighter training day, so we’ll have a bit of a lie in. I’ll wake up, have my breakfast and head down to training.
We’ll get to training, get together and do some activation exercises to warm up. It starts off with low intensity jogging to get the blood flowing, and gradually it progresses into more intense movements like squats, lunges and twists to get mobility going.
We’ll do the Captain’s Run, which is a training session before the game run by the captain the day before. We’ll do some lineouts, restarts, plays off lineouts, scrums, a few defensive bits, and that’ll be it really. It’s basically the final dress rehearsal before the game, so it’s all about just going through the small details and making sure it’s all fresh in the mind, and all working well on the field.
Depending if you want it, we do a thing called ‘contrast’ after training. It involves going from a hot bath to an ice bath a few times, and I’ll wear my recovery skins for that. All of these things don’t make you feel brand new, but it just helps your muscles feel less fatigued, and so it helps to get you ready for the game the next day.
I’ll head home and have lunch. My main dish at the moment is spaghetti bolognese, which I think is a good combination of carbs and protein. I’ll make a big batch of it, then whatever’s left, I’ll have for my pre-match meal before the game.
The rest of the day is resting and chilling out. I try to switch off because I know I’ll be pretty flat out when it comes to game day. I tend to take my dog for a long walk to chill out.
Bedtimes vary, but if it’s a late afternoon game, I’ll try to be in bed by 10.30, and I’ll power down by looking at my phone for a bit before nodding off.
I time my match days around eating because I like to eat three times a day. A big breakfast – scrambled eggs with bacon, and a bagel with some porridge and fruit – sets me up.
If we’re playing at home, I get more time, so I’ll chill out again, take my dog out, have a light lunch and distract myself until I go to the stadium.
I’ll break into the leftover spaghetti bolognese I made the day before, because we have our pre-match meals at home. After that, I’ll pack my kit – training gear, tape and things like that – then head to the stadium.
The first thing I do is get all my different body parts strapped up for the game, then I’ll get changed and we’ll go upstairs and have a team meeting to chat about how well training has been going, and obviously to discuss tactics for that game.
We’ll have time to ourselves to start our activation in the gym to warm up – like before, slow jogging, squats and movements to build heartrate and mobility.
We’ll come together to do our final warm up where we’ll do attack, defence and a few bag hits. Then we’ll go back into the changing rooms and come together as a team. We have our final chat about the game and what to look out for to get our confidence up.
We’ll walk out, shake hands and get into our positions.
George North is a Maximuscle (maximuscle.com)