Ben caught up with Ellen Murphy after her brilliantly impressive 2nd place at the Standard Distance National Championships at the Caroline Kearney Memorial Triathlon last weekend.
The former Belpark Chairperson is having an excellent season having been part of the winning Belpark team at the Club Mixed Relay Championships earlier this year.
BM: Hi Ellen, first off a massive congratulations on a very impressive result. A National Championship Podium is something to be very proud of. Tell us a bit about the race, did it go to plan?
EM: We had a women’s only wave which was great to see at a National Championships. It wasn’t a perfect start for me, I got a cramp after about 300m in the swim, I thought my race was over but I managed to shake it off. I lost the group of swimmers I was hoping to stay with but I fell into a good group and managed to draft and stay on feet for the rest of the swim.
I knew I was behind and had work to do on the bike. I felt good and moved through the pack. I passed a lot of girls and knew it was going well. I train with power but I was racing on feel and I felt good.
Coming off the bike I was told I was 3rd and that Siobhan Gallagher was up 1:30 ahead. I had to pace myself and control my effort, I caught Siobhan before the turn around. I could see that Heather Foley was way ahead but I could also see that Kim Hickey was chasing me down. I just had to put the head down and work hard, I knew I was going well, I was just counting down the kilometres to the finish, it wasn’t until the final 500m into the finish that I knew I had secured 2nd.
BM: The non-drafting seems to suit you, as a Super Series athlete was the National Champs a target race for you?
EM: Yes, I had targeted the National Championships as an ‘A’ race. The non-drafting format definitely plays into my strengths. In the Super Series the swim standard is high, it’s hard for someone of my swim ability to get into a group.
My last race was Two Provinces so I had a solid 5 week block of training in the lead up to Caroline Kearney.
BM: Speaking of draft legal…we understand you are eyeing up your first 70.3 race to close out the season. Is a good performance in the non-drafting format a good confidence boost leading into your first 70.3?
EM: Yea, I’m really excited. It’s a new distance for me. The biggest thing for me is to stay injury free. The race is the Mumbles Triathlon, it’s on the 7th October in Wales easy to drive there and it has multiple distance races if anyone wants to join!
BM: Sounds like a fun way to end the season! You mentioned you targeted the National Championships as an ‘A’ race, what’s your secret to planning a successful season. The triathlon season can be long with duathlons starting as early as January! How do you maintain focus and motivation this late in the season?
EM: Yea, it can be hard, I’ve hit slumps before. This year I am focused on the Half Ironman as something new and exciting so that’s keeping me motivated. It’s important not to go too hard at the beginning of the season, make sure you recover well after races and respect the damage you cause to your body and it give it time to recover. You can’t go out and race hard for 14 weeks.
This year I took a 5 week break from racing in the middle of the season to train and recover, I’ve done this the last few years. I find it really works for me. It’s good to get a big block of training in mid-season. I think the other big thing is to keep on top of any niggles, it’s a killer to miss the end of the season due to injury.
BM: The break obviously worked! Belpark are having a breakthrough season in terms of results. You were part of the Belpark team that won the Mixed relay National Champs, we’ve had club members with numerous race podiums, a National Champs podium for you last weekend. Over all the club is in a super position in the all Club Series’ both Super Series and National Series with only a few races left in each. Your passion for club results has been no secret, why do you feel it is so important to see the club do well?
EM: I personally love racing for Belpark. I love contributing to something bigger than yourself. It keeps you motivated if a race isn’t going well. The Club Series is brilliant, it’s not the super stars that matter, it can be the athlete that comes 25th that is most important. Every second counts for everyone.
I think racing together and racing for a common goal creates cohesion in the club. Belpark is stacked with so much talent and ability with lots of structures for development. It brings out the best in the club.
BM: I think that’s a great note to end on. Thanks so much for your time, well done again, and best of luck with the rest of your season!