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Andy Murray’s training regime and what triathletes can learn from it

British tennis star and double Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, shares insights into his training regime and recovery techniques, while tri coach Phil Hatzis explores what triathletes can learn from it

Andy Murray training regime

Andy Murray is one of the world’s best tennis players, having won three grand slams including Wimbledon twice. Here he talks exclusively to 220 about his training regime and recovery, while we explore what triathletes can learn from one of the world’s best athletes.

Andy Murray’s daily routine and training schedule

What is a typical day’s training like?

A typical day’s training for me includes physio at 9am to start the day, followed by a warm-up with my strength and conditioning coach. This usually lasts half an hour, then it’s onto the tennis court with my team until lunchtime. After lunch, I’ll head to the gym for some strength or mobility work, have another physio session after that and am usually finished by about 6pm. It’s a long day but we have a lot to fit in.

How do you train for both the endurance to cope with long matches and the explosive power needed for quick sprints across the court?

My training sessions are really varied and include a mix of cardio, mobility, strength training and on-court work. My cardio helps build the endurance I need – sometimes matches can go on for four or five hours, so it’s essential I have enough in the tank to last the distance. I don’t do any run training as it’s too much impact on my joints, but I have used a VersaClimber for a number of years and that gives me a good cardio workout. I’m able to set sessions to power climbing or speed climbing, which also helps build strength in my legs.

As you say, explosive power is also really important as a tennis player – you need to be able to change direction quickly and sprint short distances. I do a lot of work with resistance bungees on the court. An example of this would be resisted sprinting to the net from the baseline. I also sometimes train on sand – my team make me do sprint drills on a beach volleyball court, which is such hard work, but it’s great for building strength in your legs and core. Sprinting on a tennis court seems easy after that! 

What are your favourite fitness sessions?

Believe it or not working on my core!

What are your least favourite?!

That’s easy – cardio sessions.

How do you motivate yourself to train day after day?

I’ve always been really motivated with my training and I’ve never really struggled to get up and do it day after day. I’ve always found the rest days much harder – it’s something I’ve had to adapt to as I’ve got older, to appreciate that the rest days are just as important as the training days.

How do you recover after a hard day of training?

I have physio every day after training. My physio travels with me and attends all my training sessions as well. I’m always hungry after training so will go for high protein meals – usually a salad with chicken or chicken pasta or sushi. I try to stay on top of my hydration during training, but it’s important afterwards as well. Replacing the fluids I’ve lost and also drinking a recovery protein shake is part of my regular routine. I also take TRR Nutrition PRO Advanced Collagen, which is a collagen supplement which helps to support my joints and bones and recover quicker after a training session so I’m ready to go again the next day.

Is it different to how you recover after a match?

I usually have an ice bath straight after a match. I find that’s the best way to help my muscles recover, especially if I’ve got another match the next day. I’ll also have physio and that will last about 60-90 minutes. My routine after a match is slightly different because I have to also fit in a press conference so the timings are slightly different.

How difficult has it been for you recovering from your injuries in recent years?

It’s been a tough few years. All I wanted to do was get back to playing tennis, but there were times I was in so much pain, I couldn’t even put my own socks and shoes on. Having the operation was a big decision but it has at least allowed me to make progress and get back on court.

What would you say your advice would be to anyone recovering from an injury?

You have to be patient when you have an injury to give your body the time it needs to recover. I was pretty desperate to get back as quickly as I could on court, and spent a lot of time talking to other athletes, like Leyton Hewitt and Bob Bryan, who’d had similar injuries, about how long their rehab process was, so I could keep apace with them. You have to try to stay positive even though it can be hard, and you have to set yourself small goals. Every time you achieve something that’s a win and it’s those small moments that keep you going.

How well do you sleep? Is sleep an important part of your recovery?

I’m a good sleeper. I’ve always slept really well, even when I’ve changed time zones. Yes you definitely need to prioritise sleep when you’re recovering, whether that’s from an injury or a tough match or training session. I try to get a good eight hours every night.

Any nutrition tips?

Nutrition has always been important to me and I’ve had a personal nutritionist for many years. I don’t think you can expect to get much out of your body if you’re not putting the right things in. Glenn [Kearney, Andy’s nutritionist] advises me on what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat and also what supplements to take. He developed a special collagen supplement (TRR Nutrition PRO Advanced Collagen) for me when my hip was really bad. It really helped with my recovery as it protects my bones and joints and helped me train for longer. I also tried a vegan diet last year to help reduce inflammation in my body.

Tri coach Philip Hatzis explores what we can learn from Andy Murray

 
If we avoid listing the critical differences between tennis and triathlon, let’s look at three of the general approaches that a triathlete (of any distance) can take from a professional tennis player. 
 
Firstly, there’s a lot of physio or S&C on any day. As ratios go, one part sport, four parts S&C is not a ratio that endurance athletes are used to. His matches’ duration lasts the same as most triathletes’ races would (Ironman aside), yet this ratio is probably (at best) the other way round to most of them. The key difference here is that he’s training for his sport and not using his sport as training, and his use of a wide variety of training sessions away from the tennis court highlights this.
 
Secondly, we see Andy’s attitude about rest and recovery surrounding his training. “Rest days are as important as training days” – It’s when your body consolidates all the fitness gains from hard training! He highlights that sleep and nutrition are integrated as part of his training and planning and not bolted on as an afterthought, rather it’s mixed into his routine.
We may not all have an expert nutritionist to assess our diets objectively and identify any need to change or tweak them. Still, you can see how Andy’s decisions about nutrition and recovery are based on performance and objective measures of success and not a fad or a whim. He’s also likely to have the foundation of macronutrient quantity and timing well and truly nailed before worrying about additional supplements; this lets him see if they work or not as he looks for those marginal gains.
 
Finally, we can learn a lot about Andy in his attitude about injuries. His Amazon documentary ‘Resurfacing‘ showed how much pain and frustration he went through, but he highlights how important patience is when recovering from an injury.  
Sadly, triathletes have an increased injury risk through running and are statistically likely to be injured at some point. Andy’s perspective on giving your body the time to recover is something that all of us can consider.
Everyone is individual and will respond differently, so don’t try and rush back; aim and excel at your recovery process! Setting yourself mini goals can keep rehab feeling like training (not physio exercises), and make sure you celebrate those small steps. That is critical to help you see how far you’ve come and not dwell on how far you may still have to go. Own your recovery and be patient with it.
Just because Andy’s least favourite session is cardio doesn’t mean there aren’t some gems of advice for any triathlete to glean from him!
 


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