For two-time Olympian Michelle Finn, the last few months have seen significant change to her daily life.
The Leevale AC athlete who lives in Dublin has left full-time running behind her and taken up a job in Belvedere College where she teaches Irish and PE.
The move back to the classroom has been rewarding while also presenting challenges for one of the country’s top athletes.
“I would be lying if I said it wasn’t tough,” Finn tells Irish Runner.
“I’ve never really taught Irish before, this is my first year teaching it.
“I’ve got every year group except second year so there’s a lot of poems, prose and grammar that I have to familiarise myself with for all the courses at the same time.”
With such a full-on schedule in the classroom, Finn’s training has been adjusted by coach Feidhlim Kelly of the Dublin Track Club.
“I’m just too tired to do three sessions a week.
“I’ve cut down to two sessions a week on a Wednesday and Saturday.
“Sometimes I just cut a gym session and I find as well that my diet and sleep are not as good as what they were,” she admits.
Despite that Finn still manages to train twice a day, with her three mile route from her home in Santry to school helping her to keep her mileage relatively high.
“I carry a little bag on my back, and I run into school.
“Then I run home after school, just drop my bag and continue.”
Finn says she will get a better understanding of how well she is balancing things this weekend when she looks to defend her senior women’s title at the 123.ie National Cross Country Championships in Donegal.
“The number one goal is to win again this year.
“It’s a really hard race to win because you’ve got the best marathon runners, the best 5k runners, the best 1500m runners and everybody’s running Cross Country.
“You don’t know who’s in shape, I don’t even know myself how in shape I am for Cross Country.
“If I don’t make the team for Euro Cross, I’ll be disappointed.
Michelle Finn happy to see National Championships move around
While some are disappointed to see the National Championships taken away from the National Cross Country course in Abbotstown, Finn is glad to see the championships moving around.
“I don’t think the Abbottstown course suits me, so I’m delighted not to have to race nationals there.
“I didn’t have good run there at Europeans, I wouldn’t mind if I never had to run on that course again.
“It’ll be a different course in Rosapenna.
“I don’t know if anybody has ever seen it before, maybe the athletes from Donegal.
“I think it’s kind of fun, it’ll be something new and different.”
Should she perform well at the weekend and make the Irish team for the European Championships in Turin, Italy next month, the 32-year-old is fully aware of how important they are.
“I feel like I have made the Euro Cross team so many years in a row apart from that one year that I didn’t make it.
“Almost always I’ve come away from Euro Cross disappointed,” she adds.
“I really want to make the team for Euro Cross and have a good run.
“I’d like to have a better run this year than any other year.”
Cross Country star Michelle Finn was speaking in advance of the 123.ie National Cross Country Championships which take place this Sunday, November 20th, at Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort, Donegal.