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Meghan Ryan – the Virtual Interview

Today we hear from Meghan Ryan, who along with Fiona Clinton, has formed the backbone of many recent DSD ladies teams & successes.

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1. When and why did you join DSD AC?

I joined DSD in 2006 once Eddie spotted me in Colaiste Iosagain. My Dad had been a club member in the 80s and he convinced me to try it out, he joined with me and we started training with Donal’s group. There was a great group of girls around for all of my teenage years and having my dad so involved with our group really kept me engaged

2. What was your best event and what event did you like best

I love 10k on the road. Times wise, I’d say my 3k is my best and this has always been a favourite of mine since competing as a junior.

3. What is your favourite training workout?

I love long threshold or tempo runs- 6-10 miles when we work hard and progressively get faster. We are getting a lot more used to these as we shift focus to the 10k this year.

My favourite workout that stands out to me was with Abbie and Kevin in UCD and we were dong 5* 1 mile repeats, we hit a few low 5.20s and knew we were flying!

4. And your least favourite?

I don’t really enjoy my easy runs when I have strides and a gym session afterwards. We still have 60-90 mins on our easy days and I’m normally tired after a session so these are mentally the toughest for me.

Even though session days are hard, its nice to be with the big group. Between Fiona, Kev and I we drag each other around on the tough days and it makes it a lot more enjoyable having them there with me.

5. What is your most cherished or proudest moment in your athletics career?

Finishing 3rd in the National Senior Indoor Championships 2018 in the 3000m was a big turning point for me, my first senior medal and a PB. As much as I strive for fast times, competing well at Nationals is something Donal always focuses our training towards and it’s nice to be able to repay him a small amount by having a good day when it matters

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6. What is your most loved athletics sporting moment of all time ?

Emma Coburn winning the world championship steeplechase final in London 2017. I have followed her career and to see her exceed all expectations on such a big stage was incredible!

7. What is/was your favourite race / athletics meet to take part in?

I love the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon, I may be bias but it’s a fantastic event and the race has a special place in my heart. The atmosphere is like no other and when we are brought out onto the starting line with 40,000 women behind us it’s an incredible feeling. DSD have created one of the most loved events by women in the country and I think it’s something we should all be very proud of and work hard to make it happen.

8. What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it?

I had a high hamstring tendinopathy for all of 2019. I saw 3 physios/doctors until I found the correct approach. After a lot of research I found an Australian Physiotherapist who Donal and I had a Skype appointment with. He has given me a strength programme to follow and I’m now finally back to proper training.

I eased back on mileage for 4 months last winter and really focused on building strength in the gym. I think staying in contact with your group during injury times is really important as well, it keeps your spirits up. Donal is great at understanding our injuries and being in contact with physios and doctors to ensure we are doing all we can to get back asap which helps!

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9. What do/did you eat before a race and how long before did/do you eat.

I eat the same thing always- race morning I would have scrambled eggs and toast.

If it’s an evening race I will have pasta at lunch time and have porridge with banana 2.5 hours before my race

I continue to drink water with High 5 hydration tablets throughout the day and during warm up.

10. If you could have dinner with 3 sporting personalities past or present who would you pick

Genevieve Gregson is the Australian Steeplechase record holder and her professional approach to training, injury recovery and her resilience is something I really admire

Kara Goucher and is an American Distance athlete and I would love to hear more about her marathon career

Emelia Gorecka was a distance junior prodigy from the UK who has since fallen away from the sport but would have a great insight into how to transition junior athletes into strong seniors and what not to do

11. What is your next running / athletics goal?

After placing 4th the past 2 years at National Senior Track and Field in the 5000m I want a medal and to run sub 16.30. I also want beat my Dad’s PB of 34 mins for 10k 🤞🏼

12. How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times?

I love hitting big mileage so with the extra time at home it’s nice to be able to train a lot and recover even more. I see each week and the sessions we have as small targets and I enjoy hitting them, that keeps me motivated enough. I’m using this time to build up as much endurance work as I can and trying to add in lots of mobility work that I wouldn’t normally do

13. What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete?

Find the best coach you can and listen to them always, trust the process. I’ve seen too many athletes (young and old) thinking they know better than their coach.

Train with people who are better than you (Thanks Paul and Rob) and never become complacent

Have fun and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Don’t worry about who are on national squads or what your competition are posting on social media. You have an advantage of being in one of the best athletics clubs in the country and being surrounded by talented athletes and coaches, use your resources here and work hard and your time will come.

The transition from junior to senior is going to be tough, don’t get disheartened and don’t expect miracles. Work hard and it will click eventually! Longevity in this sport is key- stick it out.

14. Do you have any memorable or funny story from DSD that you could share?

We travelled to a BMC meeting in London and basically everything went wrong. We sat on the runway on the flight for 3 hours before it took off, missed dinner the night before our race, arrived to the hotel at 1am to be told the hotel was overbooked and it was 4am before we got rooms in another hotel.

We woke up to 32 degree heat which isn’t ideal for racing. The whole day was tense and everyone had almost given up hope of racing well. Thankfully, Fiona stays calm in these situations and we carried on our usual pre race routines as if nothing had gone wrong! Fiona, Paul and I decided to make the most of it and went for lunch by London Bridge before heading off to the race. We arrived just as Paddy kicked things off with a PB of 3.50 in the 1500. We quickly realised that there were no excuses of late nights or travel disruptions that we could use now! Luckily, a few PBs were achieved and we ended the trip on a high.

Fairly sure the stress and tension drove Donal to have cocktail that night which is a very rare occurrence

15. Can you share an old picture from your running days

With our Junior Women’s dream team when we finished 1st-4th at Nationals and qualified for Euro Cross.

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