Personal best times:
Congratulations in claiming your very first national senior track title and becoming the first Clonmel AC athlete to secure a national senior track title.
Has it sunk in? What had it been like being home for the last while?
Thanks Neil, yes it has sunk in. The support has been wonderful. Clonmel AC has been very good to me over the years so I was happy to be able to bring the club back a national title. It has been really nice. I enjoy coming home to relax and let the mind refresh after a long year in the states. It has been fun to be able to catch up with friends and race while being home.
How did you first get involved in running and what/who motivated you? How did the club help you as an athlete?
I first got involved in running through the local primary school’s cross country. After making the school team Evan Hickey and Jason Mullins ask me to join the club which I did and the rest is pretty much history. I was 9 years old when I joined the club. The Club has guided me through all age groups and made sure I was well supported along with having fun.
Who are your role models both in and out of the sport?
Anthony Moynihan has been a great role model over the years. He has thought me that nothing will ever be handed to us and that we must work for it. He has thought me many life lessons through the sport and always knows how to motivate me.
What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received in the sport?
We will be at our best when we are having fun and enjoying ourselves. We can often get over worked about the small things and can easily forget to have fun with our running so sometimes it is important to take a step back and just enjoy it.
What are the top three “little things” that you do to prevent injury?
1. Listen to my body when something is sore or I am tired that is my body telling me to stop.
2. Eat well and make sure I am eating enough food. Eating well is obviously very important but people can sometimes get so caught up in eating well they don’t eat enough for what our bodies are doing.
3. Sleep! I try get a minimum of 8-9 hours of sleep night. The improvement in our running comes while we are recovering so it is important to be well rested.
How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?
Training can be hard at times and sometimes the last thing you want to do is run but luckily I have a wonderful training group that make things fun. They make going to training enjoyable and something to look forward to. We motivate each other to do well but focus on enjoying ourselves and having fun while till taking our running seriously.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals?
Not really, I try to not think about my races until I start warming up. Most people like to listen to music but I can’t it makes me to nervous. I often do a shakeout run 5 hours before my race I guess that’s the closest thing I will get to a pre-meet ritual.
How has it been like training and competing in America and what have you learnt the most about yourself? It has been a wonderful experience with many up and downs. I have learned that our sport is much more mental than physical and that you have to accept that races are just races when you have a bad one it is not the end of the world there is always going to be another.
Of all your teammates, past and present, from whom have you learned the most and why?
I have learned many lessons from my teammates but one thing they all have in common is they keep things fun. I am usually the serious one of the training groups and the lads keep in touch by making me realize I have to enjoy the journey.
Which of the three running seasons do you enjoy most? Why?
Cross Country will always come first even if I may be stronger on the track. I just love the team aspect of cross country nothing beats the feeling of knowing every man is just as important as your top runner. I love the variety of courses and places cross country brings you to. There is an amazing feeling of being on the line with over 200 people. It feels as if you are about to run into a battle.
Let's say you could have the perfect meal prepared for you. What would it be?
It couldn’t be the healthiest meal but you can’t beat a full Irish breakfast. There are many times while I am in the states and wish I could just wake up to a full Irish breakfast.
What's something interesting about you that most people don't know?
I am probably one of the most inflexible athletes you will meet. I have a long way to go before I can touch my toes.
What’s your biggest tip(s) to someone who is determine to become an elite runner?
Enjoy the journey and the running. Find a training group which is fun but takes training serious. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals. When you are healthy and having fun, there is no limit to what you can do.
Any other information about yourself or tips/advice you’d like to share?Listen to your coach and find yourself a coach who is willing to listen. When an athlete and coach are learning from each other there is no stopping them.
Where can our readers and supporters follow you?
I am not the greatest for social media but I guess people can follow me on Instagram (tobinsean) and I will do my best to give people an insight to what life is like stateside during my last year at Ole Miss.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!
Neil is a master of science graduate in cardiovascular health and rehabilitation.
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