Daily Habits of an Olympic Medalist ? Haile Gebrselassie’s Top 5 Secrets

Haile Gebrselassie

by Haile Gebrselassie,
Ethiopian distance running legend

Ever wonder what a day in the life of a famous athlete is like? They’re sure to have some daily habits that make them the most successful in their career. Learn from Haile Gebrselassie about how he incorporates his lessons and practices from his time as an athlete into his new life.

Daily habit 1: Run!

“I wake up early, at 5am. First thing I do is go for a run before breakfast. I did that when I was still a competitive athlete, and I still do it now in my new life. My parents were farmers and it gave me a hard-working mindset and an early-bird mentality.

When I return from my morning run, I eat breakfast with the rest of the family and I am still at work early in the morning. I already feel good about myself having done my running and it gives me tons of energy. Best start into the day!”

Haile Gebrselassie running on the street

Daily habit 2: Take interest and learn from other cultures

“Because of my professional running career, I was able to travel around the world and see many cultures and habits and that really broadened my life and views. I learned a lot, watching and observing other people’s ways of working, and I use the best ideas I encounter around the world for my own businesses.”

Daily habit 3: Work with the best and work as a team

“Being the best runner in the world is not only about talent, it is also about knowing who you work with. Running is a team sport and I could not have done it without my team. I was able to pick out the people around me who were good for me (management, medical support, sponsor), not only because they were nice to me, but also because they told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. Plus, they were smart and good at what they did. I was not afraid to listen and work with them.

The same attitude is helping me now in my business life. I cannot do everything myself. I need to trust people and to have people around me that are smarter than me or can help me see things differently. Not always easy, but in the end we have the same goal: that gold medal.”

Haile Gebrselassie with other runners

Daily habit 4: Don’t be afraid to make a jump

“Business gives me a headache. I wish I was back being a top athlete. Life was so much easier then! No pain, no gain; no faith in myself, no success; no determination, no finish; no hard work, no pay-off. There was no abracadabra there.

Now, business life is unfortunately much more complicated than that. But without those basic ingredients that I learned as an athlete, I would not be able to be successful in my new life.

One example of what I have learned is that I am not afraid to take risks. As an athlete, sometimes you need to take risks to try out something new without knowing if you will end up winning the gold. Same as being an entrepreneur, you sometimes need to jump the barrier without knowing everything about future results.

Another is that I am a very quick decision maker. In races, I had to make a lot of instant tactical decisions. It’s the same in business. Embrace the pain, believe in yourself, go the distance, work hard. Go for it!”

Daily habit 5: Rest…and run! (or maybe I already said that…)

“Work hard (I work incredibly hard). But also keep this in mind: take enough rest! In running I learned that you only become stronger because of training AND resting and recovery (and eating healthy). It’s a balancing act: stretch yourself, but with consideration. Your mind needs both sweating and relaxing. Which brings me back to habit 1: Run!”


About Haile Gebrselassie:

Haile Gebrselassie

His nearly permanent smile says it all. Haile Gebrselassie, Ethiopian distance running legend, seems to be a man happy with his life and content with his athletic achievements – and rightfully so! The running CV of “The Emperor” is unsurpassed in the history of distance running. He now employs hundreds of people in several business projects in his home country, Ethiopia. He considers community projects his responsibility. He is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations and involved in tree planting, road projects, and school building. Connect with Haile on Facebook.


adidas Runtastic Team Are you looking to lose some weight, get more active, or improve your sleep? The adidas Runtastic Team gives you useful tips and inspiration to reach your personal goals. View all posts by adidas Runtastic Team