It's been a different winter so far for me. Usually I would have been competing right up till the September and maybe has 2 weeks off and back into things at the start of October. I have had to make a few changes this season. I couldn't afford to stay on in Leeds training full-time so I moved back home. I mentioned to Robert Heffernan in your training camp before London about him coaching me after the Games but I didn't want to put any pressure on him as his focused needed to be on the races. After it was all over he said he would think about it but didn't commit so in October I just set about getting a rountine back and started going out with the local fit4life group in the town and helping some of the local lads prepare for the Dublin Marathon (one I ended up pacing around to 3:44). After the marathon I headed over to Leeds for a coaching conference as I was prepared to start coaching myself for the year. Then on 31st October I got an email from Rob with a schedule starting the next day and an invitation to Cork.
I had committed to launch a fitness fair at Ballinamore school in Fintown where all the students there are preparing to get to grips with a 5k road race in February. It's a great initiative to promote fitness and healthy living in schools. I hope it will continue and should be brought into other schools. The following day I went to the Athletics Ireland awards night, where Rob won both Racewalker of the year and overall athlete of the year. It was a great evening and the following day I headed to Cork with the Heffernan's. I've been down for over a week and training has been steady but strong. Down here Marian is helping us everyday, giving us drinks, filming and giving us feedback as we train. I'm staying with Luke Hickey a junior that Rob is also coaching. Myself and Rob train every morning and then Luke will join us for evening sessions. The 3 of us and Marian have our own little performance centre going down here. Here's a interview with Rob on Cork radio this week:
Most important in the change is having a change of focus. After the result I had in London my training must now reflect and change in performance level. I have to be competitive in every race I target next year. I will be focusing on 20km races for most of the season. My current 20km PB is slower than the last 20km of what my race in London was won in, so I have to improve over shorter distances to be in the mix over 50km. It's also great that I have my time for World champs in the bag with the 'A' standard for next year reduced to 4:02:00. It means I can have proper periodisation into a full yearly cycle. Also I will be training with the best athlete in the country. It's a whole fresh start and I can't wait to get stuck into the new season. I'm off to Spain next weekend for a 5,000m race just to feel some competition again. Will update again after that will a full schedule of planned races for next year.
Posted by Brendan Boyce.