This week we have Conor who has been flying over the past 12 months, breaking 60min for 10miles and running  16.37 for 5k. He has just finished another successful cross country campaign being one our of the top performers which bodes well for next season!

When did you join Sportsworld?

On a bright June evening in the year of our Lord, 2014.

Where do you work?

HSBC Bank. I’ve ran for them on a few occasions at business houses meets mainly. Karol Cronin once ran under my colleague’s name in the Grand Thornton 5k. People couldn’t get over the time – 15.15 or thereabouts. My colleague assumed legendary status from there onwards, thanks to Karol!!

What is your favourite club session?

Hills and Sprints are always a good blow-out. I like the momentum you can build up in that type of a session. I’d chalk that down as my favourite.  I like the track sessions as well for the same reason. Outside of interval training, tempo sessions are key and when you find your rhythm in those, they’re enjoyable as well.

What is your favorite race distance?

Although I feel I suffer a bit over the longer distances, I’ve always preferred 10 miles to 10K for some reason. I’d go with the 10 mile races.

What is your favorite meal before a big race?

Depends on what time of the day the race is on. If it’s a morning race, then Chicken Stir-Fry & Sweet Potato would prob feature on the plate the night before. If it’s an afternoon/evening, race then something light that morning such as Porridge & Berries or Avocado and Peanut Butter on Toast. I’d be looking to consume enough complex carbs, vitamins, minerals and protein, regardless of race time.

My Favourite place to train/compete is?

Training-wise, although it’s tough, Myles’ Field of Dreams (or ‘Screams’ depending on your perspective) is always very beneficial for cross-country. When competing, Raheny, Ballycotton, the Rathfarnam 5 come to mind. At the opposite end of the scale, the cross-country venues would spring to mind!

Away from the bright lights of Sportworld, I enjoy training the Parkruns if I am away for the weekend. I like the Parkrun in my hometown of Wexford as it’s situated on the grounds of a castle. It loops three times around a lake, so it’s a scenic one. Also in Wexford, there’s a good 10K loop around Curracloe beach and through Raven Forest. A good place to mix up the terrain from the usual road/grass running surfaces. When it’s a calm sunny day (which isn’t too infrequent in the sunny south-east), there isn’t a better place to run, in my opinion.

What is your target for the next year?

First and foremost, to continue to develop at training and find the optimal weekly training schedule that works for me. To find the consistency with my weekly mileage, number of temp and interval sessions is something that I’ve been looking to address recently. In terms of race-times, the following would be my key targets:

5 miles: break 28 mins.
10 miles: break 59.
10K: Break 35 (I broke it before but have ran 35 something the last few times)
5K: Low 16.

Other than the above, I’m yet to get some track races under my belt so I want to get stuck into a few of those as well.

What is your best Sportsworld memory?

The camaraderie at the cross-country races is usually good. Whenever we have lots of numbers running, such as in Tuam two years ago, it makes for a nice day out and there’s usually a good atmosphere among the crowd travelling to it. I’ll go with Tuam coz it was my first real cross-county outing.

What international events have you ran?

I raced over in Lanzarote with the club last year and it was a fantastic experience to run in an event like that. To run four races in four days is normally unthinkable but you’re geared up for it and everyone is in the same boat as the majority run the challenge, rather than just one or two races. I really enjoyed all of the races and relished the team aspect to it. Luckily we were still in the mix for silver/bronze on the last day, which gave us a real sense of purpose going into the half marathon on the final day. It was nice to get something out it as we came away with bronze in the men’s category.

I’d recommend the Lanzarote trip to anybody who has never been and is thinking of going.

How/When did you start your adventure with running?

I think it was June 2012 when a pal of mine asked me to join his relay team for the Cork Marathon. I think I’d been tipping away at a couple of races at that point and was starting to take an interest in running around that time. We were all scheduled to run approx. 10K each and I set off from the Silver Springs Hotel in Cork to run my leg of the journey. I was instantly drawn in by the buzz of the marathon – the fellow runners, the goodwill of the crowd etc. I handed over the baton to my mate after 10k but I never stopped running until the finish line of the marathon as I just wanted to see how far I could go.

Think I ran around 19 miles that day without any training, which is something I would never do nowadays but that’s my stand-out memory of really taking to running. The legs were in bits for days afterwards but that didn’t put me off!

Tell us about your PB’s / What is your biggest achievement?

Last year was a decent year on the PB front; I ran 16.37 in the Rathfarnam 5K, got my 5 mile time down to low 28 (I’m determined to get that sub-28 ASAP!), broke the hour for 10 miles and got some improved times on the cross-country field.

I’m determined to get some more PB’s this year and to hopefully hit the times I think I’m capable of.  That’s the name of the game, I suppose!

How often do you run / What is your typical weekly mileage?

The mileage depends on whether or not I’ve a race but usually it’s around 50K. I will probably need to increase that to improve my times and incorporate a variety of sessions which I’m probably not doing at the moment. The aim is to step it up to 50-60 miles, gradually – to avoid injury.

What would you say is the best thing about being in a Running Club?

The structured training, advise, coaching and guidance you get from the club. Emily, Myles and a number of other people are terrific with their time and tutorship.

What made you join a Running Club?

A friend at work mentioned it me first and piqued my interest. When my good friend, Wes Harrison said to me at the gym that he had joined a club in Terenure and recommended it to me. I showed up one evening and sure the rest as they say is history.

What was your first day at the Club like?

I remember not having a clue what was going on. There was a speed session of some sort and I remember it hurt the next day! Paddy Lynch was very helpful to me and the other newcomers.

Why is running important to you? For the (much needed!!) focus and discipline it requires and also the sense of freedom it affords. Running a race abroad is also a great incentive to get away and visit new places.

Who is the person in the club who inspires/drives to run better?

A lot of people do so. Obviously you’ll hear Myles bellowing at you on the cross-country field and that usually drives you on a bit alright!

The main point I would make is that everyone has their group/level and usually looks to their peers to be pushed and challenged in their training sessions. For me, I’ve benefited from training with the lads like Karol, Gareth, Kev and so on.

It’s important that each group is enhanced by newcomers or people who have returned from living abroad such as Phil – whom has been very helpful towards me as has anyone I have trained with really. Hopefully we get Gavin back at some point as he’s a class runner and someone of his calibre enhances the quality of our training sessions.

It’s great to see new talent coming through at the club and long may it continue.

Do you do any cross training / other sports on a regular basis? I’m an advocate of doing Pilates/Yoga, Strength and Conditioning and even Aqua Aerobics for recovery. I do at least one of the above every single week to stay fit, recover from running or to assist with injury-avoidance.