Name: Noelle Aherne
Years Involved in Athletics: I started running in 2006 and then joined my first athletics club in Dublin in 2011 so I suppose it’s been almost 10 years now.
Other sports played: I played hockey throughout secondary school and continued for a few years while studying in college.
1. What is your earliest running memory? I remember running 400m in the community games in school and loving the buzz of sprinting around the grass track with people cheering us on.
2. Where do you draw your inspiration from? My parents have been hugely influential in my life, both incredibly hard workers and have taught me to the importance of hard work and commitment. My husband has always encouraged me every step (literally) and is truly inspiring in his own devotion and passion for sports and athletics. Outside of those close to me, Sonia O’Sullivan was always a great role model athlete when I was growing up and nowadays I think how great Sinead Jennings, doctor and mother of three, who is going to represent Ireland in the Olympics.
3. What do you consider your biggest accomplishment in athletics ? Winning Athlete of the Year for the club in 2014 was such an incredible achievement for me! It really motivates me to get back and do my club proud again.
4. What do you currently /did you do in your training that are/were keys to your success? Well I recently had a little boy (Fionn) but before falling pregnant, I trained almost 5/6 times a week and I think having a varied training schedule helps me, although sometimes I wonder if my training should be race tactic focused. It included running socially with friends, doing track sessions with the group, strength training, with some long runs thrown in the odd time. Consistency is key for me.
During my pregnancy, I was determined to keep up my fitness as much as I could so this included running up until around 32 weeks, a mix of pilates, yoga and inclined walking (towards the end).
I am currently waiting to get the all clear at my 6 week check-up but I’ve already started back wogging (walking/jogging) and apart from the sleep deprivation getting out in the fresh air and running again feels really great.
5. How many miles on average did you run per week? Usually about 30 miles a week but now it’s a little lower but I’m determined to get back up there.
6. Do you prefer road racing, track or cross country? Ammm…I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the cross country and track races always give me high levels of anxiety so a nice and steady road race would be a winner.
7. Favourite race distance? I enjoy a fast 5km.
8. Favourite race location/ race event to take part in? I really enjoyed racing in Curracloe, Wexford last year – half the race was through the Raven forest and the other half was along the sea front.
9. What is/was your diet like? People always comment on my healthy diet, which is true, and I have a great interest in health and having spent almost a year working in an obesity management service I have learned lots more about healthy eating. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day which includes porridge, seeds and berries or a green smoothie. Lunch is usually soup and brown bread, wrap or salad. Dinner can be anything from a stir-fry to sherpard’s pie. In saying that, I don’t deprive myself and have a real sweet tooth so will always treat myself when I have done some training. I love making healthy sweet treats like protein balls, or snack on almond butter on rice cakes, dark chocolate, fruit or yogurts.
10. Who was/is your training partner or did/do you train solo? I mostly train solo but love when I can get to a group session or schedule a long run with someone.I have met some great friends running.
11. What is the best advice that you were given? “The first step is the hardest” – People make excuses, “there’s no time, too much rain, lack of motivation” but I always say just take the first step out the door or one small step at a time when people look at the bigger picture it can be too overwhelming and people feel deflated so don’t even try.
12. Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by? Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
13. If you could run with any person, past or present, who would it be? Scott Jurek or Steve Prefontaine
14.Anything else you’d like to share?
I used to train with Derek MacKessy’s Campus Run in UL and he was the first person to get me thinking about racing competitively in 2010 which I’ve kept up thanks to him. I also used to train on track Tuesday nights which I think is such a great set-up thanks to Joe Chawke and there’s a wonderful bunch turning out each week.