Created On: 09 October 2010

Conor Murphy was crowned Age Group Sprint Distance World Champion in Budapest a few weeks ago so we caught up with him to find out the secret to his success.

Firstly congratulations on becoming Sprint Distance World Triathlon Champion, how did it feel when you crossed the line?

It felt absolutely amazing, in the last kilometre of the run, the 9 months training I had done in preparation for the race flashed through my mind.  I finished and in my joy I let an almighty roar out (which most people back in the UK probably heard) and I can just remember not feeling any pain in my legs or lungs but pain in my face from smiling so much.  Many of my friends and family had travelled over to Budapest to watch and the atmosphere was electric at the finish line.  Most of my friends and family were more ecstatic than I was, it took a while for the win to really sink in, but when I saw my coach, mum and dad running towards me at the end like crazed football fans and lifting me up on their shoulders and carrying me around... it sort of sank in then.

Your time was simply amazing, you won by almost 2 minutes against the best age groupers in the world, how did you manage to win by such a great margin?

13 months prior to the World Champs in Budapest I did my first serious triathlon in 5 years.  It was the Irish Sprint Champs and I came 7th.  I was unfit, fat and very untrained.  My coach and I were delighted with my result at the time and we partied hard that night.  Over the 3rd or 4th pint of Guinness we started talking about taking triathlon more seriously for the 2010 season.  We joked in our drunken state that if I tried, I could be World Champion in 2010.  After waking up the next day (a bit hungover) we talked at breakfast about an assault on the World Title.  We concluded, "Why not... lets give it a shot."  For 13 months I got into a good structured sustainable routine and improved consistently over the period.  Everything was aimed at the World Champs in Budapest and I had raced 17 times in 2010 in the build up to Budapest, every race was used as a stepping stone.  I worked out that I needed to improve my sprint distance time by 1 second a day for 13 months (Total of 6.5mins!!) to get to a position where I could take gold in Budapest.  So every day I trained I focused on one aspect of the race where I could save 1 second... it worked!

What's the secret to your continued success?

Train in a sustainable manner.  You need to know your limits.  I am constantly aware that I need to be fresh for every session.  So if I batter myself on a session, I know I physically won't be ready for another heavy session for a couple of days.  Although in-between intense sessions I work a lot on technique and core strength, many people underestimate these and their importance to a multi discipline athlete.

Talk us through your sporting career to date and how you ultimately found triathlon?

When I was younger I was a swimmer and footballer and competed in triathlons as a junior in Ireland and won some Irish junior titles.  I went to university in Loughborough and continued racing triathlon there; triathlon was highly competitive and really popular in Loughborough.  On completing my university course I travelled round the world for 8 months then started working as a trainee Chartered Accountant in Leicester.  Accountancy was great but it was killing my endless energy and competitive streak.  To rectify this, in 2008 and 2009 I competed in the World Bog Snorkelling Champs winning it both times. Also in 2009 I clocked a fast time in the Leicester half marathon (1hr 15min) with very little training. So this helped me make the decision to return to triathlon in 2009... I believed I had unfinished business in the sport.

How many hours training do you do in a typical week and is it mainly with training partners or do like to get out on your own?

It depends what time of year it is, winter and spring every hour of sunlight I can get is used to for long slow easy base miles.  In summer I train a lot less but obviously the intensity is much higher.  15-20hrs a week in winter and spring, summer when I'm racing about 5-10 hours, then races on top of this.

So you're currently European and World Champion, what's next?

Now that I've got to the top of age group racing I'm going to compete in elite races next year.  I do realise there is a massive step up to elite level; I will be a full time athlete for the whole of the 2011 season. With a winter and spring of good base and strength training I will be mixing it up with some of the world's best elites in 2011.

And finally, what would be your one piece of advice to anyone new to triathlon?

In 2010 I went from an untrained very average triathlete to age group world champion by training in a consistent, sustainable manner.  Too many people train too hard and get injured and sick.  So train smart, if your feeling tired take a rest, if you have a niggle rest until it is better. If you get injured or sick you are going backwards so avoid that as best you can.


Tags: news,training,conor murphy

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