Running 13:58 seconds for the event this summer, Eoin, who was already Kilkenny’s first sub 4-minute miler, moved up distances to try to achieve this mark nearly 3 years ago. The Kilkenny Observer caught up with Eoin to discuss the achievement.
When did you start out to try break 14 minutes for the 5000m?
About 3 years ago, I had been running 1500 metres and one-mile events and I felt I had achieved everything I wanted in those events. I had a pb of 14 minutes 15 seconds so I thought it would be great to be able to run sub 14 minutes for 5K as it would really add to sub 4 minutes for the mile and sub 3:40 for the 1500m.
Tell us about the journey over the past 3 years to break 14 minutes?
Well, it started on the back foot slightly as I picked up a hip injury at the end of the running season 3 years ago. This took about 10 weeks to rehabilitate and left me with not great fitness! I remember my coach asking me why I had not done a running workout based on the times he saw. I had to inform him that I had done the session but that was as quick as I could go at the time! So, it was a very slow build up initially. Obviously, being from the shorter events I had to increase my endurance a lot which takes time. Doing a lot more tempo or threshold running (running at about 80% intensity for 30 minutes for example), longer runs and longer workouts. That summer I had a few rough 5000m races where I did not run great but I always finished them. I never wanted to get in the habit of dropping out. Eventually, it went a lot better, and I very nearly ran sub 14 ending up with 14.00.
How did it feel getting so close?
That was great and terrible! Great in that I had improved a lot but terrible that I was so close and had not done it. I was conscious of the fact that I was getting into my mid thirties and to get into the right shape, stay healthy and get the right race gets harder.
How did Covid and all the lockdowns effect your training?
Well, I went into 2018/19 hopeful I could break 14 minutes for 5k but unfortunately Covid struck. That meant that there were no races for me so while I stayed training hard it was another year gone where you could try break the barrier. It was tough also as the running track was not available for the majority of the build-up. Also, there are so few races on this year. Basically, I had one chance to break it as there were no other 5k races scheduled apart from nationals which can be slow usually. It was a bit of pressure but I generally do best when there is a bit of pressure.
How did it feel finally breaking the sub 14-minute barrier after all that time?
Massive relief!! As I said it was basically the only chance to do it and having been so close in 2018 and then not getting a chance in 2019, I was just delighted. The conditions were good, and I had to lead the last 1200m but having been so close and not doing it really drove me on to achieve it this time. Sometimes coming up short is the best thing to happen as it motivates you and makes the success even sweeter.