TRIfinder Interview: Conor Murphy: Sprint Distance World Champion
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
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
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
So you're currently European and World Champion,
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.