My days vary, but usually, I’m up at 6:15. I’ll often do a half-hour of rehab exercises or a run. Breakfast is usually porridge, then I’ll be out the door by 7:40am. I work at Worcester Hospital in paediatrics, but I’m moved every four months. There’s a lot of variety in the job, which makes it more enjoyable. Sometimes you deal with brand new babies who require intensive care and incubation. Working with adults you take on more responsibility, but with children, it’s always going to be that bit more stressful.
On a good day, I’ll work from 8:30am to 4:30 or 5, but some days it can be 9am to 9:30pm or a night shift. I’ll have a snack around 11 or 11:30am, a cereal bar, then lunch is usually whatever I had for dinner the night before, or else something like a baked potato and beans from the canteen.There are tough days, so I try to stack my training on the other days and keep those as free as I can. If I have a 9-9:30 I might do a half-hour run in the morning and leave it at that. You’ve got to weigh it up because you’re on your feet all day and you don’t have that many breaks – and then you have to drive home afterwards.
On my shorter days, I’ll get home around 5:30 or 6, then have a snack like high-protein yoghurt with nuts and honey. Ideally, I won’t need a coffee or a cup of tea, but sometimes I do. I’ll go to the gym then, or whatever training I have to do, which might be 90 minutes or two hours. I’ve been injured for much of the winter; a shoulder problem and IT Band Syndrome. When sports psychologists draw a graph of injuries, you want it to be that straight upward line of recovery, but in reality, it’s up-down, up-down all the time. I’m able to get some runs outside now at least, but the IT Band Syndrome keeps coming back. It’s a nuisance to get rid of.
It has been more than seven months since the Olympics, but it was an experience I’ll never forget. Performance-wise, it’s always going to be a bitter pill that I fell in my heat, but luckily I was put through to the final. For a month afterwards I couldn’t watch the race, but I know I did everything necessary to be in the right shape at the right time. When I crossed the line, I said to myself: “You worked so hard to get here; so many years – you’re not going to be one of those people who doesn’t enjoy it.” Our final was on the Monday, which was early, so I went to see as much as I could after that. I got to see Rio with my family and it was nice to enjoy it properly without having to focus on my race.
On the days when I’m working long hours, I’ll have something easy ready for dinner, or my fiancé Callum will cook, then I’ll cook on the days when I finish earlier. Last night it was steak with carrots, broccoli and mashed potato; other times it’s a bolognese. In terms of supplements, I take whey protein sometimes, mixing it with milk post training. I know the World Championships are coming up in London this summer, but I don’t think that will affect my attempts to get healthy. If I think of them right now I just get stressed, so I just have to focus on what I can do now – get myself healthy and fit again.
By Cathal Dennehy