A day in the life: Ireland's 800m Olympic hopeful Ciara Everard

What makes an athlete tick? We found out.

CIARA EVERARD IS an 800m runner from Co Kilkenny who has qualified for this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

It’s been a steady rise to this point for the UCD AC athlete but 2016 could well be the year Ciara Everard really comes of age.

Ciara Everard Everard combines studying and training on a daily basis. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

To date, she’s made the final of the World University Games (in 2015), finishing 6th, while she also competed in the European Indoors and World Outdoor Championships in Beijing.

Everard’s biggest performance came at an IFAM meeting in Belgium in May when she recorded a new personal best of 2.01.21 to finish in second place.

The time moved her to number six on the Irish all-time outdoor 800m lists and was also agonisingly close to the 2.01.00 qualifying standard for the World Championships.

She’s broken age-old Irish records during her ascent to being a multiple national indoor champion – even besting an indoor record at U23 level set by Sonia O’Sullivan.

When Everard is not training, she’s either working as a physiotherapist in the capital having just graduated from UCD with an MA, or fulfilling her role as a brand ambassador for PUMA.

We caught up with her (after a serious chase!), to find out how she fills her average day.

Ciara Everard’s training diary:

8am: I get up and head for my morning run. This is usually only around 20-30 minutes and is very light and easy.

It’s really just to shake out the legs from last night’s session and to help me loosen up for the next session.

8:30am: I get back to the house, get a shower, get dressed and make some breakfast.

On gym days, I like to make banana and oat pancakes. These are packed full of protein and help to keep me full throughout my session.

I usually also have a cup (or two) of tea and some coffee. I’m not really a morning person so I need something to help kick-start my day!

10am-12noon: I’m in the gym for two hours. I start with some foot drills, mobility and activation work.

I’ve had a few foot injuries in the past so I try to keep on top of the rehab work by incorporating it into my warm-up while it also helps to get me firing correctly for my gym session.

My gym session usually then consists of some Olympic lifting, squats and jumps. At the end there is usually a circuit of a few exercises which is probably my least favourite part but I know it’s good for me!

During the gym, I usually snack on a protein bar or some fruit and after I always have a protein shake to help my recovery.

Ciara Everard The Kilkenny native in action at the World Athletics Championships last year. Source: Ian MacNicol/INPHO

1pm-3pm: I get back to house and make some lunch.

This usually consists of a three egg omelette with veg, smoked salmon and some toast. After the gym I’m usually really tired so I try and take a nap for 20-30 minutes.

This also helps with my recovery and makes the evening run that bit easier.

3pm: I usually get up, check my emails, and do some work.

I’d often have a snack here too before my evening run so something light like rice cakes and peanut butter or some homemade granola or nut balls works well.

I like cooking and making snacks so I usually try to mix it up a bit and try out new recipes.

5pm-7pm: I head out for my evening run. This is usually around 30 minutes and a little faster than my morning run.

Afterwards I do some strides and mobility so I’m nice and loose for tomorrow’s track session.

I usually finish with ice-baths, which I’ve a bit of a love-hate relationship with. I usually aim for 2 x 10 minutes or something to that effect.

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7pm-8:30pm: I head home and make some dinner. A lot of the time I batch cook at the weekend so I have my meals ready immediately after training and it also means I don’t have to cook every night as it can get quite taxing!

Dinner usually consists of something simple like a stir-fry, a curry or fishcakes.

I just make sure there’s plenty of protein, a good mix of veg and a nice helping of carbs.

8:30pm: I might do some more work or chill out and watch a series with the girls in the house.

I usually have a light snack before bed like yogurt and berries.

Ciara Everard Everard is off to Rio to fly the Irish flag.

11pm: Head to bed and get ready for tomorrow’s session.

I’m a physiotherapist by profession and I’ve just finished my Master’s degree which specialised in sport, though as I mentioned above, I’m giving the work a bit of a rest for a few months as I want to give everything I have towards getting the most out of myself in the run-up to what I hope will be my first Olympics.

Being full-time has taken a bit of getting used to as I’m usually rushing around everywhere trying to get things done but I know it’s important for my recovery and to help maximise my potential for the year that’s in it.

I qualified for the Olympics based on my time from last year but I still have to show current form this year – it’s not just a case of sitting back and resting on my laurels.

If I was on the plane to Rio it definitely would be a childhood dream come true. In training I love anything fast so any speed reps on the track like 200s and 300s.

However, I’m not a fan of the long work like tempos or 1500m type sessions but I know it has to be done.

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