A day in the life: Ireland's European champion and Olympic hotshot Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe

The modern pentathlete has a grueling schedule.

LITTLE IS KNOWN about Kilkenny man Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe and even less is known about the sport he’ll be chasing Olympic gold in Rio in this year, modern pentathlon.

Arthur O'Keeffe 11/8/2012 Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The 24-year-old was last year crowned European champion which also secured his ticket to Brazil and suffice to say, that’s his prime target for 2016.

His training is as random as it is intense and because he does so many different disciplines, there’s no such thing as an average day – just a very long one.

“All days are pretty loaded from Monday through Friday where we’d have four or five sessions every day and then on Saturday we’d have three sessions,” he explained.

‘Art’, as he’s known to his friends, lives two minutes from the pentathlon centre in Blanchardstown and that has been one of the key reasons for his ascent to becoming such a formidable force.

Here’s a recent day in his life and to save you the time, modern pentathlon involves fencing, 200m freestyle, show-jumping, shooting and running (not at the same time!)…

6am: I have my overnight oats ready to go for breakfast but then I go back to bed for an hour and let them digest.

7.30am: Straight to the pool for a swimming session. I live beside the sports campus so it’s all pretty close and very convenient.

I go to the pool and swim for an hour and a half or 4.5km and then I’d head back to the house and have poached eggs on pitta bread and some coffee for my second breakfast.

10.30am: I’d go back to bed for 45 minutes and then I’ll get up and get physio around 11.30am in the Institute of Sport for 45 minutes. This is just to loosen me up for later sessions.

11.30am: I’d get on a pilates machine called the Reformer and maybe do a half hour routine on that to limber up even more.

12.30pm: I’ll go back to the house, get my training partner and head to the track in Santry. We usually start a running session around one o’clock.

I’ll be snacking in between, things like bananas, protein shakes and carb drinks keep me going.

The running session is usually a 15 minute jog to warm up and maybe 10 minute activation drills.

Then we’d head onto the track and usually do a main set involving speed work but the sessions would be no more than 6-7km.

Then you’d do another 15 minute cool down. The whole running session usually lasts around an hour and 15 minutes.

2pm: I head back to the house for more fuel. This time I’ll have a big carb meal with chicken or rice and broccoli or sweet chilli. It varies from day to day but it will be a big filler.

Then I’ll rest for the afternoon to start the second half of my day.

6pm: I head back up to the pentathlon centre in the sports campus and I do shooting for half an hour.

6.30pm: We fence for two hours. Fencing is the one discipline I look forward to the most. It would be one of my stronger ones, definitely.

I won the junior worlds in it and the Europeans as well. It’s one where you don’t really know what’ll happen, though, unlike swimming and running.

In fencing you could turn up and be really hot and the next day you turn up with two left hands.

That’s what I like about it, it’s unpredictable and it’s the only event where you can take points from your opponent.

8.30pm: Time to go back home, have another substantial dinner with a lot of meat and vegetables and then I’ll do half an hour of yoga, or else I’ll get very stiff.

9pm: I usually have something like popcorn and hot chocolate before bed to make me sleepy.

That is pretty much my day and will continue to be for the year!

My life is 100% at the moment. Everything I do is geared towards this year’s Olympics.

I’ve tried to do a lot of things alongside pentathlon but for the last two and a half years I haven’t really been able to take on college.

Arthur O'Keeffe Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

If you want to succeed you have to be full-time. It’s very time consuming and to get the most out of yourself you need to spend your time eating, sleeping and training…

Since I moved closer to the sports campus in the last year the performances have gotten way better because all I’ve been doing is eating, sleeping and training.

I was doing a sports management course in UCD but I’ve managed to defer until after Rio.

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About the author:

The42 Team

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