Member Spotlight – Rodger Condon

We hear from our Sprinter Rodger Condon!

Where are you from?
Living in Carrigaline for the last 10 years but originally from Onslow Gardens in the Northside.

How long have you been a St. Finbarr’s A.C. Club member?
Joined in November 2019

Played hurling & football for Na Piarsaigh before that from the age of 6.

Sprinted when I was in primary school for the City Sports but never did any athletics in between.

What race distances are you focusing on at the moment?
Indoors – 60m and 200m
Outdoors – 100m and 200m (Occasionally try a 400 if I’m feeling fit)

What does a typical training week look like for you when you don’t have a race that week?
Hill work on Mondays – Time and distances vary but will normally be an effort less than 20 seconds at max speed.

Gym on Tuesday, Thursdays, Saturday and Sunday.
Primarily focused on explosive movement, plyometrics and core work.

Some kind of endurance based run on Wednesday which varies week to week. (Slow paced from 4-6km) This is not something most sprinters incorporate into there training but it works for me.

Track Session on Friday nights which can also vary but will always involve hitting top end speed. Off season I will do a session which focuses on fitness. (400m, 300m, 200m, 100m). During the season the sessions will be max efforts anywhere from. 60m to 220m.

What does a typical training week look like for you when you do have a race that week?
Race week is always a light week where I don’t lift any weights. I focus on plyometrics based exercises.

With running it will be 2 easy sessions where I’m focusing on how my warmup will look on raceday and focusing on my form over longer distances. Maintaining a consistent form at a slower pace.

The most important thing for me on race week is to be fit, healthy and rested going into the race.

“The hay is in the barn” come race week as they say.

Do you have a specific goal for the season?
In 2023 I won the national title in both the 100m and 200m. The goal for 2024 would be to repeat this while improving my times.

Already in 2024 I have won the 60m national title so it has been a good start to the year.

With a 3rd child on the way in July I might switch to the marathon instead 😂🏃

What is your favourite athletics event?
Being a sprinter I love the hype around the 100m.
I also love watching the big marathons. That level of fitness is unmatched.

Any track event that involves an Irish athlete will always have me interested also.

What is your favourite running memory or single biggest running achievement to date?
My biggest achievement was definitely doing the national double last year. All the training throughout the year finally paid off.

My favourite running memory is back when I would run in the City Sports. Walking out in Pairc Ui Chaoimh to represent your school. I still remember the nerves kicking in as we toed the line.

Do you have a top training tip for your fellow St. Finbarr’s A.C. members ?

The first tip I would give to any of our members would be to focus on strength and conditioning as well as running. It will help with injury prevention and will prolong your running career. Get a plan from a recommended s&c coach that works for you and stick to it.

The second tip would be to attend as many of the club sessions as you can. The information you can take from the sessions you won’t find anywhere.

Any other comments ?
Just a thank you to Eamonn, Marian and Pat who show up to every track session and provide encouragement to every single member. Clubs wouldn’t run without people like that (pardon the pun).


Thank you Rodger! Great to get an insight into the life of a sprinter!

Why should you chill out on recovery runs?

A recovery run is important as it prevents injury and helps you improve your pace.

Speed workouts and long runs are the exciting part of training for a race. However, not every run can be fast or long! Slow runs have their place in training also. One of the most common mistakes runners make is running too fast all the time. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, if you want to run faster, sometimes you have to run slow – such as on recovery runs.

What are recovery runs?

Recovery runs are easy runs that you do at a very light, controlled effort. Typically, you do these runs when your legs are tired from previous training, but you want to get in more mileage for the week. Recovery runs are aerobically easy enough not to elicit any muscle damage or need for extra recovery. 

Contrary to popular misconception, recovery runs do not flush out lactic acid. Lactic acid typically clears shortly after a hard workout. However, a recovery run will pump oxygen-rich blood into damaged muscles. This is why you usually feel better after doing a recovery run! 

Since the goal of a recovery run is adding mileage without prolonging recovery, you want to cap recovery runs at approximately 60 minutes in duration. 

For the full article:

Essential Guide to Long Runs

Long runs are a weekly staple in most runners’ training plans. This holds as true for those training towards a 5km as it does for marathoners, with Sundays regularly put aside for long training runs.

But instead of sending runners out to simply ‘put miles in the bank’, many coaches also advocate incorporating higher-intensity workouts that challenge the body in more complex and race-specific ways.

Running longer or faster than before opens up the possibility of making big breakthroughs in your training, provided you tailor those challenging runs to your current fitness. Here, we explore just how much can you gain by experimenting with long training running.

For the full article :

Member Spotlight – Kevin O’ Donovan

In the spotlight with Kevin!

Where are you from?
Ballinhassig, a few miles outside Cork city, now living in Wilton.  Haven’t strayed far lol.

How long are you a Club member?
Joined in 2019, had done a few marathons at that stage, but my marathon times were going the wrong direction so needed some guidance on where I was going wrong.  Got a training plan from Liam D and took 15 mins off my marathon pb in Dublin that year.

What race distances are you focusing on at the moment?
Currently training for Lisbon Half marathon in March, and have Cork & Chicago marathons lined up for June/Oct.  Did Dungarvan 10 miler and signed up for Mallow 10 miler too
Will do a few shorter (5k/5 mile etc) races too here and there.

What does a typical training week look like for you when you don’t have a race that week?
Usually do 5 days, a mix of faster/harder and easy/recovery.  In my current plan Saturday is long run day but usually did my long run on Sundays before.
Current plan – Intervals Monday, recovery run Tues, Tempo session on Wed evening, rest day Thursday, recovery run on Friday and then long run on Saturday.  Rest day on Sundays.
Also have extra drills and some S&C work in the current plan which is something I’ve been meaning to add in for ages.

What does a typical training week look like for you when you do have a race that week?
Depends on how long the race is, if its a short one on the weekend might rest on the Friday, if its a bit longer race will take it easy an extra day or 2 leading up to it. Marathon week will get out maybe twice for a couple of short easy runs.

Do you have a specific goal for the season?
Main one is hoping to get a Boston Qualifying time in Chicago in October, which is about 5 mins under my current PB but with the extra few mins needed to actually get an entry.  Hopefully my times in other races will be creeping down in the meanwhile too.

What is your favourite athletics event?
I guess the marathon as that’s my main focus at the moment but for watching the track races are interesting for sheer explosive pace in the 100m, or seeing the tactical running in the longer events.

What is your favourite running memory or single biggest running achievement to date?
Hard to pick a single memory – finishing Cork half after a couple of years of injuries is up there, finishing first marathon in Cork 2016, taking 26 mins off Dublin marathon pb in 2022… 
Finally breaking 4 hours after a few years trying felt like a big achievement but I guess current 3:25 pb is the biggest achievement so far.

Do you have a top training tip for your fellow St. Finbarr’s A.C. members ?

Try to relax your body when running is one of the biggest things I’ve learned.  Can still run fast but try not to tense up.  Look at your running form too – I caused myself loads of problems early on because of poor form, did all my running with my knees which didn’t appreciate it, but now try to run more upright, engage my core and glutes instead and generally I’m staying injury free (knock on wood!!). You might save yourself energy and may actually go faster with a few little adjustments.

Any other comments ?
Glad I joined the club, a great crew, helpful approachable experienced coaches and a good atmosphere every week.  Membership is incredible value for money too.  Here’s to many more years to come!

Training Pace Calculator

Train too hard, and you’ll probably burn out or get injured. Train too easy and you simply won’t make the most of your potential – though hey, that’s perfectly okay too! But if you do want to try and get faster and bust out some PBs, then you do also need to know how hard to push on hard sessions – and then how easy to take it on easy runs.

Training by heart rate is one good way of getting it right. Using this calculator is another.

How to use the training pace calculator:

It’s very simple, just tap in a recent race time and press ‘calculate’.

The calculator will automatically show what sorts of speeds you should run the different components of a training week at (though don’t do them all in one week…!)

Click here for the full article: Runners World Training Pace Calculator

All You Need to Know About Threshold & Tempo Runs

Threshold running and tempo running are two closely related techniques for improving your endurance, speed and stamina. Threshold and tempo runs are about increasing the threshold at which your body clears lactate (lactic acid) from your bloodstream.

What is a running threshold?

When you go running, your body produces lactic acid which builds up in your bloodstream. If there is too much lactate in your blood, this causes lots of pain and will likely bring your run to a grinding halt.

Now, if you are reasonably fit, your body is able to clear most lactate whilst you are running steadily and you will not pass your lactate threshold. It is only when you sprint or go particularly fast that you start to go past this running threshold.

The good news is that you can increase the threshold at which lactate builds up with threshold and tempo runs. That means you can go faster for longer, without getting worn out.

How to calculate your running threshold

There are several ways you can figure out what your threshold running pace is. Some are technical and highly accurate, others are fairly rudimentary, but still effective:

  • Get your lactate threshold scientifically studied: If you want to know your precise running threshold, you can visit a sports science laboratory where you will run on a treadmill and have your blood tested. This data will give you the most accurate information on your lactate threshold. However, it’s an expensive process that’s only really necessary for professional runners.
  • Use a running watch: Generally speaking, your body will reach its running threshold when it is at about 85-90% of maximum heart rate. Certain kinds of running watches are able to monitor your heart rate and give you a good idea of what your threshold is.
  • Calculate against your race time:Threshold running pace is often considered to be just a little faster than your average pace at a half marathon. If you have experience of doing several races, you can use your running time to figure out your mile or kilometre speed. A threshold run is simply a little bit faster than your race speed.

If, for example, you run a mile at half marathon pace in 10 minutes, your threshold running pace would be around 9:45.

  • How it feels: This is perhaps the least scientific way of establishing your threshold running pace, yet for many runners it still gives a pretty good gauge. A threshold run is simply one that feels comfortably hard – you should not be completely out of breath as if you were taking part in a 5K race, but it should certainly be tougher than a casual jog. The point is that you should be able to continue running many miles at this speed without needing to stop.

Tempo running and threshold running

Tempo runs and threshold runs are two kinds of training which are designed to increase your running threshold. They are very similar, but there is a slight difference.

Threshold running involves running at – or just below – your current threshold level. Your body will become more efficient at clearing lactate at this pace and therefore allow you to gradually build your pace.

  • Threshold run example: If your running threshold is 10 minutes per mile, you would do a gradual warm up for two miles, then run at around 9:55 per mile for four miles, then drop back to a slower pace for the final two miles.

Tempo running involves running slightly slower than your threshold level, but for a longer distance than a threshold run. The aim is to get into a comfortable rhythm that you can sustain for a long distance. This will get your body used to running at a sustained pace for a long time – which is vital for marathon training.

  • Tempo run example: If your running threshold is 8 minutes per mile, you would do a gradual warm up for two miles, then run at around 8:15 per mile for eight miles, then drop back to a slower pace for the final two miles.

Click here for the full article:

Why Every Runner Should Do Speed Work

Speed workouts are a staple in many training plans – and for a good reason. Whether you are training for a fast 5K or want to complete a marathon, speed work is essential for becoming a faster and stronger runner. 

Speed work refers to a type of running workout in which you are running for certain intervals near, at, or even faster than your VO2max pace. Your VO2max is a measure of how much oxygen your body can use; most runners will hit their VO2max pace around their 5K to 3K (2-mile) pace, although you do get benefits doing it slightly slower.

During speed workouts, you maximally activate your slow-twitch muscles and intermediate muscle fibers, which increases your aerobic capacity.

Speed workouts also increase your production of myoglobin, which is a protein found in your muscles. Myoglobin transports oxygen to the mitochondria in your muscles, which in turn produce ATP to give your muscles energy. So, as you increase your myoglobin, you improve your body’s ability to quickly transport oxygen to the muscles for energy, making you able to run faster. Speed work is uniquely beneficial in this aspect, as research indicates that high-intensity running is the best way to develop myoglobin.

While you may not significantly increase your VO2max (genetics can limit it), you will see clear benefits of speedwork. Your body will become more efficient at recruiting your fast-twitch muscles. Your running economy will improve, so that you expend less energy and can run faster at the same effort level, whether you are running a 5K or 50K.

Click here for full article:

Meet the Women’s Captain – Orla Byrne

10 Questions for Orla Byrne, St. Finbarr’s A.C. Women’s Captain.

  1. Where are you from?

    I am originally from Clonmel but Cork is now home. I was also born in Cork!
  2. How long are you a club member?

    I joined the club in 2019 after returning from working abroad.
  3. What was it that attracted you to join St Finbarr’s AC?

    I was looking for the chance to improve my running in a social setting where there wouldn’t be too much pressure to compete. St. Finbarr’s was the perfect choice!
  4. What is the best part of being a club member?

    Honestly the craic and welcoming atmosphere on the track and at training is brilliant. Having the chats and getting to know people from all walks of life is a special part of being in the club. It’s also a great way to learn more about the running scene and improve your knowledge of training.
  5. Who is your athletics idol/hero?

    Marion Lyons, one of our coaches and club vice president, has to be mentioned here. She really has paved the way for female runners from Cork. In 1978, she was among the first women to compete with men in the Cork to Cobh 15 mile race! I am also blown away by Fionnuala McCormick who qualified for her 5th Olympics this year 5 months after giving birth. 🤯
  6. What is your favourite athletics event?

    I really enjoy the combination of speed, endurance and mental strength that comes with competing in road distances of anywhere between 5k and half marathons (I should probably focus more on one!)
  7. Track, Trail, Cross Country or Road?

    However, there is something about XC that can’t be compared to other events. It is tough, testing and possibly the purest form of racing but the buzz of being part of a team and giving it your all is worth it!
  8. What single achievement are you most proud of as Club Captain in 2023?

    2023 was an exciting year as captain seeing the club grow and our women competing across a range of events. From roads to track to mountains to muddy fields, there has been podium finishes, team medals and PBs🎉 The XC season was very successful for our ladies teams at county level and we’ve had many new members get involved.
  9. What are your goals as ladies club captain for 2024

    I think continuing supporting our ladies across different events but also to get more people involved in championship racing and team events where you get the opportunity to experience the quality Irish running scene. Aiming to get teams out in Munster and national events would be fantastic but also encouraging newcomers to try out competing and experiencing races in a friendly supportive environment is important.
  10. Who is your “one to watch” for 2024?

    That is a tough one! There are so many amazing women on top form right now. Currently in the club Anita Locke is dominating the IMRA races and Rebecca McEvoy should have a great racing season ahead. I think Louisa Browne is showing huge potential,l as is Jennifer Martin with great times in the last few months.

Thanks Orla, and best of luck as Ladies Captain for 2024.

Interviewer Club PRO Cian McParland

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