The Irish marathoner keeps easy runs easy and maximises hard sessions ahead of his second Olympic bid.
Mick Clohisey, who previously spoke to Fast Running about his running career to date, opened up his training diary to share insights into how he has achieved impressive consistency over a multitude of distances.
The Raheny Shamrock’s distance runner clocked a 2:14:55 marathon PB in February and followed that up with a fine 18th place finish at the European Championships in Berlin. Two months later the 32 year-old stormed to the Irish marathon title when finishing sixth overall at Dublin Marathon.
Still feeling effects of 26.2 miles in his legs he dropped down in distance and finished a fine sixth at the Irish Cross Country Championships, which booked his place on the national team for the European Cross Country Championships in December.
His major goals lie with the marathon, and with the Tokyo Olympics qualification window opening in January 2019, he will be focussed primarily on racing a fast marathon in the spring.
The Irish 10,000m silver medallist says that will involve more 100 mile training weeks, much like his build up to this year’s Dublin marathon, where he ran 2:15:58.
“A key week in the build up to a marathon when I am not racing will see me hit around the 100 mile mark,” he reveals. “However, my weeks vary depending on whether I am racing or not and at what stage I am in the build up.
“My training is generally quite consistent throughout the year, but obviously there will be weeks with a heavier workload.
“When I’m not racing I’m quite flexible on my easy days. Crucially though, I keep my easy running easy to ensure I get the benefits from the hard days. I still cover the distance, it just takes longer!”
Dublin’s parks and coastline are Clohisey’s training grounds
Clohisey does much of his easy running along the seafront in Clontarf, along Dollymount Strand and around St Anne’s Park. Malahide Park is another favourite training location for the Irish distance star.
Many of his key hard sessions and long runs take place in Phoenix Park, ‘which is especially great for long runs’ he adds.
His key hard runs range from interval sessions varying from long road reps to shorter intense workouts on the track, with regular hills thrown in.
“During a marathon buildup, some of my key long runs will take the place of an interval session,” he explains. “These long runs are always run at a steady pace though.”
The loneliness of the long distance runner made easier with support
Long runs are the staple of any distance athlete’s training. The Dick Hooper-coached international is grateful for the support he receives from family and friends for some of his key sessions.
“Although I do a lot of training on my own, I link in with my good friend and fellow Irish international Sean Hehir (a 2:16 marathoner and twice Irish marathon champion) when it suits us both,” he says.
“I’m also grateful to my dad and wife Cróna for supporting me on long runs on their bikes, as well as helping me with drinks practice.”
Clohisey’s support crew must have been firing on all cylinders during his main training block for the Dublin marathon.
Key sessions completed all over his home city in Ireland
The Rio Olympian may have travelled the globe to compete in some of the world’s most prestigious events, but his home city accounts for much of his success.
“I’m lucky I have a lot of great training locations in Dublin, particularly where I live in the north of the city,” he reveals.
“Along with the parks, the seafront and Dollymount Strand I use the hill of Howth for hill sessions.
“I try to maximise the amount of time I spend on softer surfaces like grass for my easier running to counterbalance the key sessions run on tarmac.
“A trip to the track is never too far away, as I tend to stay in touch with track-type workouts no matter what time of the year.”
Clohisey’s training three weeks out from the Dublin Marathon
A glimpse at the marathon ace’s training less than a month before he ran 2:15:58 in Dublin reveals an eye-watering amount of miles and efforts.
Monday AM: 22 mile run at 5:30 average pace, PM 5 mile easy run
Tuesday AM: 8 miles easy, PM 4 miles easy
Wednesday AM: 12 miles easy
Thursday PM: Hill rep session at Corkscrew in Howth. Eight efforts up a hill of 1km (split into a moderate climb and a more intense upper climb)
Friday AM: 7 miles and massage
Saturday AM: 8 miles, PM 8 miles easy
Sunday: 4 mile road race (Tinryland 4M in 19:11)
Staying strong and avoiding injury is key to Clohisey’s success
It’s interesting to note the inclusion of a massage in his training diary, highlighting the importance he now places on pre-hab work to avoid injury.
“Thankfully I’ve been very lucky with injuries, but the month or so I had to take off with a hip flexor problem recently did me some good, as it gave my body a total rest,” he explains.
“I now perform regular glute strengthening exercises which I’ve developed with the help of my physio Declan Monaghan. He has been a constant help over the years, but I need to do my bit by staying on top of them!
“I also do a few minutes of core and upper body work at home after easy runs every day. It only takes a few minutes, so I’ve become so used to it I nearly do it automatically.”
It’s refreshing to hear an international athlete admit he still has to work at staying on top of those crucial strength and conditioning exercises that all runners dread, but know are essential.
Clohisey remains a relatable yet inspiring runner whose achievements many young distance runners can aspire to, particularly if he is successful in his bid to qualify for a second Olympic Games.