Name: Declan Guina
Years involved in Athletics: 4
Other sports participated in: I played GAA up to the age of 18 and Soccer until I was 22 . I was tired of picking up injuries and always had an interest in running so I decided to bite the bullet and take up running at the age of 22 and haven’t look back since .
1. What is your earliest running memory?
School Sports day back in Primary School. I will never forget both the nerves and excitement of taking part in the sprints and the egg and spoon race ( More the nerves of dropping the egg in the egg and spoon race – but chewing gum on the spoon always helped the nerves ) .
2. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from several people mainly all local athletes/club members. When I joined Killeline Leisure centre about 4 years ago I got talking to club member Ger Guina who even though related to I did not Ger at the time . Ger informed me about the West Limerick AC Tuesday night Club speed session in the Desmesne and I have never looked back since. Other locals who inspire me are the likes of club legends John Scanlon , Tom Brouder , Carmel Mcdomhnaill, Mike Mcdomhnaill and Seamus Cawley. These guys are always great for advice and tips when it comes to training and everything running. It is fantastic to have them still actively involved in the Club as they have a wealth of experience in Athletics . Growing up I would have always have admired the achievements and athleticism of various Irish athletes such as Sonia O Sullivan and Catherina Mckiernan. They made racing the times they have ran look so easy ( Which it certainly is not )
3. What do you consider your biggest accomplishment in athletics ?
My biggest accomplishment in Athletics to date would have to be winning the County Novice Road championships in Bruff in March 2017. Along with this, being part of the West Limerick Winning team in the 2017 Intermediate Cross Country in Bilboa in September 2017 would also be one of my biggest accomplishments in athletics to date. Its fantastic to see West Limerick having teams take part in Championship events. When I started running I never expected to be running times like this but it goes to show if a person is willing to put in the training and hard work you will run the times provided you believe in yourself . I would not have been able to achieve the above without the fantastic coaching, guidance and assistance I have received first of all when I started running from Ger Guina and in more recently the great John Scanlon .
4. What do you currently you do in your training that are keys to your success?
Firstly I set out my targets/goal races this keeps me motivated to train and hungrier to improve . I then make my coach John Scanlon aware of my targets and see what he thinks and we take it from there regarding setting up a training plan for the races I have picked out .
5. How many miles on average did you run per week?
Varies from Week to Week all depending on what is coming up and how far out/close I am to racing but regardless of the week I like to get out running everyday .
6. Do you prefer road racing, track or cross country?
I don’t have a preference as I like all 3 as I train weekly on all 3 of the above surfaces . I think it is key to train on all 3 surfaces weekly as it keeps me prepared for the track and cross country season when the road and cross country season kicks in every year .
7. What is your favourite race distance?
At the moment it would have to be 5km road race followed closely by 4 mile on the road and 3km on the track .
8. Favourite race location/ race event to take part in?
Favourite race is the Adare 10km . With it being our local club race the atmosphere is always great and a fantastic 10km course and great grub afterwards .
9. What is your diet like?
I was never a person for watching my diet until recently. I started eating more healthily and easing off of the chocolate. I usually keep it simple as I’m not a fancy food eater. I always like to keep hydrated so I try drink 2 litres of water each day . Breakfast usually boiled/poached eggs, an avocado with a slice of brown toast and a bowl of Porridge . Lunch usually a bagel/pieta bread filled with saald and meats and a bit of dark chocolate afterwards. Dinner is usually rice and pasta with either chicken or fish and loads of veg , as for the weekend I always indulge on potatoes… love spuds!!! Usually at the end of every week when another week of training is complete I allow myself a treat such as a dessert after dinner……..or a pint at the end of a successful race or training block .
10. Who is your training partner or do you train solo?
Running every day I do about 60% of my training solo ( hopefully that might change if Declan O Keeffe decides to stop been lazy and come back running again ) . Usually 1 to 2 days I am joined by Colm Mccarthy for a run and speed session on the track which is great to have the company as the miles certainly clock up faster with company . I always look forward to the Saturday morning long run that Kevin Kelly organises . Its fantastic to meet up with the lads/ladies for the long run and once again great to have the company .
11. What is the best advice that you were given?
The best advice I have been given is from my Coach John Scanlon . ” Believe in yourself ” . You need to be able to see your goal before achieving it – its like a good builder building a wall , a good builder will see the wall before building it .
12. Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Y.O.L.O – You only live once . Fail to prepare , prepare to fail .
13. If you could run with any person, past or present, who would it be?
Presently I enjoy running with everyone I get out to train with . In the past I would have liked to have run with the likes of John Scanlon , Gerry Kiernan , Sonia O Sullivan just to name a few. I have been lucky enough last year to have ran with Catherina Mckiernan at her Chi running workshop in Newcastle West and been very lucky to have also got the chance to train for 3 weeks in Iten Kenya last year with former West Limerick AC and now An Bru AC member Niall O Riordan and this year with Niall Riordan and Mike Carmody in Font Romeu in the French Pyrenees in the South of France . In Kenya in particular we got the opportunity to watch and train with some of the Worlds Best Athletes an experience that I will never forget !
14. Anything else you’d like to share?
Anyone Interested in taking up running/athletics as a hobby and joining an Athletics Club. I would highly recommend it as it has been definitely the best sporting decision I personally have made . Everyone is so friendly and welcoming in the Club and I have made some great friends through athletics both within the West Limerick AC and the wider Athletics community and who I consider a second family to me . Athletics has given me the chance to test my endurance , strength , mental strength and speed . Most of all though and the most important aspect of athletics for me is to enjoy it and give back to Athletics when possible in whatever way possible and to try and help other club members/fellow athletes reach their goals and targets. Running has given me the opportunity to travel all over Ireland to races , to the UK to run a marathon with and to Iten and Font Romeu to train which have been great experiences both Athletic and life experiences . The most eye opening experience of the above was the trip to Kenya with former West Limerick AC member Niall O Riordan . For me personally the trip to Kenya was an eye opener as well as a training experience as the Kenyans are the best athletes in the World with very little financial resources to become the athletes they have become . Since returning from Kenya I appreciate more the importance of just having the simple things in life as everyone is not as lucky as what we are. If reading this and you are not already involved in Athletics why not get yourself a pair of running shoes and join your local Athletics Club as you are bound to meet some lifelong friends and who know where in the World running might take you…..