This week I have been answering questions posed by my good friend Terry who is a sports psychologist (see insearchofbrilliance). I hope you enjoy and feel free to ask me anything else in the comments box below.
What is your earliest memory about sport?
My earliest memory of sport was watching the 1994 World Cup. Ireland vs Italy with my Grandad. Ireland won!
Who are your current heroes in life or sporting arenas and why?
James Cracknell is the athlete I most respect as he does not accept mediocrity at all and has very high expectations. He pushes himself mentally and physically more than any other athlete I’ve seen.
What do you find hardest about training and how do you overcome it? The thing I find hard about training is not pushing it to the limit all the time and having self control. I know there is a process and steps I have to take to constantly keep improving and getting faster.
What do you love most about training and why?
I enjoy the physical element of training a hell of a lot! I find it a kind of mediation and I love watching the progress of my training and seeing results in my program.
What’s your favourite food?
My favourite food has to be blueberries. I eat packs of them a day.
What’s your view on different types of diets? Eg low carb, Paleo, Fruitarian, vegan, etc and what type of diet do you follow?
I think at the moment there is a lot of these faddy diets and quite frankly I think it’s all a lot of crap. Everyone thinks their diet is the right one but I just think eat what you know is good for you like fruit veg nuts etc and stay away from junk like coke, fast food crisps etc. It’s simple.
What’s a typical days worth of food?
I eat a very high carb diet. Lots of cereals, fruits, veg, nuts and chicken.
How important do you think mental training is and how do you apply it?
I think mental training is the key to success. You could be the fastest and strongest person in the world at your sport but if you don’t have the mental strength or mental strategies in place to perform it means nothing. I personally don’t build events up in my head and put stuff into perspective in the context of life. So doing ironman or an ultra marathon for 24 hours around a 400m track is nothing to the hardship I’ve experienced in my own life and certainly nothing to what others experience in the world.
What is your biggest strength and your biggest weakness?
My biggest strength is probably my own self confidence. And my biggest weakness is sometimes I can be a little performance driven and blinded by the more human element of sport.
What’s one piece of “gold nugget” advice you would give to endurance athletes?
Keep it simple and don’t over complicate things. And have belief in yourself. If you’ve trained for a year or six months for a race you’ve banked the training so have confidence in your own ability to race well.
What do you do to unwind?
I love the cinema and trail running with no Garmin or heart rate monitors
If you were a superhero which one would you be and why?
Would have to be Batman as I love the car
What’s your favourite film?
The Wolf of Wall Street
What’s your favourite track?
The Prodigy – Firestarter. I’ve broken many rowing records to that track!