New Year New me!
We’re all saying it but who actually means it?
This January is a big change for me! I finished my last month in the states by traveling around California! Great to see the West Coast! I had to say goodbye to my Seacoast Swim Club Teammates (pic is from my last day at practice!) and took a few weeks out of the pool while I travelled. I got a chance to do some hikes while I was traveling in Yosemite which helped keep my fitness up a little!
But now I’m back in Ireland and back to reality! Work, swimming and College work all need to be balanced and January 1st is a great opportunity to turn over a new leaf! Final year in College means I have a Thesis to do and because of my reduced training while I was in the US means I have a few months of hard work ahead to get back to being 100% fit again! I do love a challenge though and I’m excited to get stuck in, in the pool and at College too!
I’ll need to keep an eye on some things as I increase my training load over the next few weeks. I can’t just jump back into the pool and expect to be 100% after a week! It takes time for things to change! Same applies to someone going to the gym or pool with a New Year’s resolution to get fit and in shape! Give it time!! If you have the wrong expectation starting out with your new goals you’ll end up disappointed two weeks into January and give up!
Next thing I need to remember is I can’t go from training 4 times a week while I was away in America to nine two hour sessions with no gradual increase! This is asking for an injury! The body needs time to adjust! The same applies to anyone who was sitting on the couch munching their way through boxes of roses all Christmas (don’t worry I was doing it too!). We can’t just increase the workload to 5 gym sessions a week from nothing! Make it realistic and keep a gradual increase as the week’s progress! You’ll get where you want to be just give it time!
The main thing is to be patient! I need to give myself time to get back into my routine and then I can get into racing again! My racing schedule for the year is slow to start as I need to spend some time getting fit again. My first meet is in early February to see where I’m at! The main goal is to be fully fit for Long Course Nationals in early April!
Good luck to everyone with your New Year’s Resolutions! Be patient and Stay Positive! And hey if you fail you can always pick a random Monday to start over again you don’t need to wait until next January
Another month has flown by here in New Hampshire. Along with the changing weather came a change to my routine and the opportunities I have to train!
I have switched sport again and I am now working as an Athletic Trainer with the men’s Ice hockey team. Unfortunately, their training times interfere with my swimming and as a result training has taken another hit!
I can still do the early morning 5.30am sessions which always makes me feel great! Having a solid workout before most people even hear their alarm go off is a great feeling.
It really sets me up for the day. Also as an Athletic Trainer for the ice hockey team I have the bonus of being allowed use the team’s private gym. It is great to keep fit and I can use it before or after work each day!
I am a member of Seacoast Swim Team here. When offered a chance to race at a competition this month I jumped at it even though I knew I wasn’t in the best shape of my life!
It was a small early season meet and I competed in the 50 100 200 freestyle and the 200IM! The meet was held in a 25-yard pool which was hard to get used to but it went quite well.
I won the 100 and 200 yard free and 200IM and came second in the 50 freestyle! It felt great to race again and made me hungry to get back to full training again as soon as I get back home!
With just two more months in America I plan to make the most of my time here and do some more travelling before returning home!
After finishing my 2015/2016 season with some good swims and personal bests it was time for a break!
My next semester in college involves getting some clinical experience. When offered the chance to work with athletes in a Division 1 College in the States, I had to take it. So the University of New Hampshire is my new home for the semester. Great to change things up a little and keep things interesting.
I took the whole month of August off swimming to give my body a chance to rest and recover from the season. While taking a break, it’s important to match my nutrition intake to my reduced exercise load.
While here I will be working with American football, gymnastics and Ice hockey teams treating any injuries they have and keeping them ready to compete. It’s interesting to work with athletes from other disciplines and see how they do things differently. Working long hours with the football team throughout August I still found some time to travel and got to visit New York City!
With the start of September it was time to start back into swimming! I found a Team to train with for the few months. Seacoast Swimming Club have welcomed me as part of the team and I can train with them while I’m here.
I’m excited to start training with some new faces and even get to train under a different Coach and get to learn some new things.
Changing up my surroundings for the first time in a long time will be great and I’m very excited to train with the team. Unfortunately, with all the work I will be doing with the teams here, training will have to take a backseat for a while. On the other hand, I’m sure my cycling skills will improve as the pool is a 20 minute cycle from my house! Good to mix up my cardio a little bit too!
Its taper time. We’re now a week out from the Irish Summer Open National Championships and preparations are going good! Taper involves reducing mileage and increasing training intensity. But really it means putting my feet up as much as possible. Rest is key. Our sessions become shorter and faster and the whole team gets excited about racing. I feel more energized and rested. I feel good and I am definitely excited about racing.
The Irish Summer Open is the final meet of the season for me and it’s always good to finish the season on a high. I have a busy program of events over the 5 days of swimming that will take place between the 19th and 23th of July in the National Aquatic Centre.
My Main events for the week will be the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle. Recently I have been training more of the other strokes to prepare for the 400m individual medley so it will be interesting to see how that goes.
Over the last few years I was having trouble with recovery between races but I now realise the importance of nutrition at competition. My longer events were really hurting my other races the next day. It was lack of preparation. After races, I had nothing at hand to refuel and I was paying for it the next day. Now I take some high carb food immediately after finishing my 1500m race and recovery is much better come the next day. A lunchbox of pasta is an easy way to do this! Food prep is always tricky but getting the right food on board within 30 mins of finishing a training session or race can help with recovery. Whether it be protein or carbs that the body needs after a session or race, trial and error gives the best answers.
12th May 2016
As my third year in college came to a close at the end of April I had the tedious task of balancing my end of semester exams with preparation for the Irish Long Course National Championships. This proved tricky for me with the Nationals getting off to a rocky start. Finishing my last exam Wednesday evening and beginning racing Thursday morning took its toll but as the Gala progressed I settled in nicely!
The first two days were disappointing but by day 3 I was feeling good and took 2nd place in the men’s 400m Freestyle final only being overtaken by Andrew Meegan in the last 100m. Day 4, the final day, proved even more successful when I took gold in the 800m. I was pleased to hold onto my early lead in the race as Andrew tried to make a late comeback again. Pictured is Andrew and I after finishing the 800m final.
These good swims give me confidence going into my next block of training. I feel its important to use this confidence to build going forward. Setting small goals and achieving them can help with confidence and help me stay focused as I progress forward towards a bigger goal. The use of goals can be very useful no matter what you are trying to achieve. Having something to work towards and knowing what you want can make all the difference.
Training now begins for summer nationals in July and I couldn’t be more excited! The next two months will involve a huge workload but without college work to worry about I can fully indulge in my swimming! More time for sleep and recovery! If I learnt anything about the difference in the quality of my training between the sleep deprived college semester and the good training I do in summer, it’s the importance of sleep. Getting adequate sleep can have a huge impact on training quality which isn’t always possible during the college semester. Between now and summer nationals I’ll be enjoying my power naps while I get the chance!
Myself and Andrew after finishing the 800m Freestyle Final