Australia is currently witnessing a new era of world beaters on the track, with Tiernan, McSweyn, Hull, McDonald and others set to take down more records and medals than we have seen in recent times.
RT caught up with the new Aussie 10,000m record holder, Patrick Tiernan, for a quick chat about training, the Olympics, running through covid and more.
RT: Where are you currently based and how is training going?
PT: I’m based in Eugene, Oregon as of August 2020 after I joined Oregon Track Club Elite. My former coach, Marcus O’Sullivan, and I had a chat at the beginning of 2020 discussing a possible move to a group to take the next step in my career. My fiance, Angel Piccirillo, was also looking at a new training group in a similar area, so when our plans for the year were put on hold by the pandemic we figured it was the perfect time to make the switch.
Training is going really well at the moment. We have a great setup out here, and our coach, Mark Rowland, has blended me in really well to the group. It has made a huge different not only to the running and lifting component of my training, but it also makes it so much easier mentally when I have guys like Hassan Mead and Ben Blankenship in my environment who have both had great success at major championships over the last few years. Really looking forward to what our group can produce this year.
RT: Your Australian Record and Olympic ‘A’ standard 27:22.55 was an epic run. No doubt the ‘A standard was your main goal. Were you also targeting the record and how good did it feel to qualify for the Olympics and break an Australian record?
PT: Hitting the ‘A’ standard was obviously at the front of my mind going into this race, but yeh I definitely had the record in mind as well. I left Zatopek last year disappointed. I had a strong run there, so to come up just short of the standard stung a bit. More than anything running both the standard and the record was a relief. I feel like it is something that I know I’ve been capable of for a while, just hadn’t got myself there. Excited to build off of this result for the Olympic year.
RT: How is your sponsorship with Nike going and what shoes do you have in rotation?
PT: At the moment I’m rotating through the Vomero 14’s, Tempo Next %, Vaporfly Next %, Streak 7’s, and the ZoomX Dragonflys. Don’t any complaints with how they have all been feeling so far, so I’ll continue with this rotation for a little while!
RT: Why have you chosen to base yourself in the US as opposed to AUS?
PT: I have my life setup over in the US now. I have a fiance who is American, we have a dog together, and I have made some great friends since being here, so it is just where I am happiest right now! Also the opportunity to join a professional group like OTC Elite is a rare opportunity, and one that I couldn’t pass up to progress my career. Obviously there are sacrifices that come with it, like not seeing family and friends for long periods of time, but they’re all very supportive of my goals and ambitions.
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RT: How has it been navigating through Covids’ impact when training and racing?
PT: Racing was difficult this year. The race in December was my first race since Zatopek last year, as I was planning on opening my season in March, the first weekend that events were getting cancelled in the US. From that point on it was difficult to find anything that was on, which makes it hard to train well when there is not an event to plan around. Mark has done a great job out here though in being flexible with options. We have our own gym setup out of a garage where we do sessions in small groups, when out on the track or runs we take masks with us which everyone has been happy to do, and realistically we don’t do anything outside of our training group, which makes the training environment a lot less stressful in the current climate.
RT: What’s the training and race plan for the next 3-6 months or so leading into the Olympics?
PT: Very tough to say at this point, just as 2021 racing and schedules are still up in the air, especially over here. At the moment we’re aiming for a race towards the end of January to start the year, but after that I couldn’t tell you. Training wise I think ideally we’d go to altitude at some point in the next few months, but being a new group and training environment I’m still learning the setup, so I can’t say with confidence exactly what the lead up will be.
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RT: Current weekly mileage?
PT: Ranges anywhere from 75-95 miles a week depending on the sessions of the week.
RT: What kind of speed to work are you implementing into sessions?
PT: I’ve been doing a lot of work with Jimmy Radcliffe, our strength coach, on speed mechanics and short hills which has been our main injection of speed. We’ve thrown in some quicker reps towards the end of a couple sessions, like 200’s or 400’s, but nothing crazy just yet. I believe we’ll get into more of that once Spring rolls around.
RT: Your talent and fitness potential is huge. Do you believe you can medal at the Olympics and is this a goal of yours?
PT: Yeh I do. I think it has always been a goal of mine, but it’s becoming more realistic to me now, so that’s definitely my goal moving forward. The races are getting faster, and the standards higher, but it doesn’t seem as daunting to me anymore. I believe I’ve got the right setup and group of people around me to get me there, it’s just a matter of staying healthy, positive, and building that hunger.
RT: We believe you will medal as well. Thanks Pat.