Well, I started the year on the right track – pun intended! – at a warm weather training camp in Tenerife for a fortnight.
This has so many benefits. First off, we all know it can be tough to get back into the swing of things after a few days off over Christmas and the New Year, so getting straight into a performance-centred camp is ideal to kick start the motivation – waking up each day with training being the sole focus.
It also allows me to work hard on some technical aspects – running technique, my block start and hurdling – which are all quite difficult to do well in Ireland at this time of year when it’s wet, windy and cold.
Wintry weather can also leave us at higher risk of injury when pushing hard in sessions, so the warmth allows me to really sharpen up with regards to top end speed, with a little more peace of mind.
As always, the most important lesson in any training regime is to listen to your body. To ease back and monitor tiredness levels and muscle soreness so as not to push into the danger zone of injury.
Luckily, I got through the camp unscathed and came home in late January, ready for the indoor season to begin.
Today, I sit writing this on the day of the AIT Grand Prix – one of my favourite events from last year, where I took the win from a strong international field in front of an electric Irish crowd in the 400m. I am nervous, but really looking forward to the race and getting moving quickly again after a few months away from that adrenaline filled atmosphere.
I have already taken part in my first indoor event of the year – the 400m hurdles, yes indoor hurdles! – at the AAI Games, which is always a good way to start the year of competitions – no pressure and a bit of fun.
Next up is the National Indoor Championships to contend, and the 400m is quite strong at the moment with a lot of younger Irish talent coming through, which is great to see. Depending on how this week goes will determine whether or not I take part in the European Indoors at the beginning of March, so here’s hoping it all goes well!