IT’S not easy for players to stay fit during the lockdown when you don’t have a definite date of when the league will return.
As I wrote in last week’s article, I think it’s highly unlikely that the League of Ireland will return on the provisional scheduled date of June 19, yet players need to still work towards this date.
From further information I have received in the past few days, it seems more likely that they league will recommence sometime in September and finish in February, thus having a shorter off-season next year and the 2021 season beginning in March.
However, that is speculation and until players get a definitive answer, we have to work of the assumption that we will be back training sometime next month and playing competitive matches on June 19.
It’s strange being at the end of April and it feeling like November because I’m back training by myself instead of with my teammates.
It’s so much more difficult for me training by myself rather than with my teammates. It’s the mental side of training by myself that I struggle with.
When I’m training with the club, no matter how tired I am, I know I have to keep going because if I don’t, the manager won’t be long letting me hear about it and it will affect my chances of playing on a Friday night.
Doing my own fitness work, I sometimes find myself stopping when the session gets tough because I know there won’t be any real consequences.
I get bored very easily running for a long period of time by myself and just end up making it easy on myself.
It’s a totally different mindset training by myself and training with my club.
It doesn’t really bother me how long it takes to run the length of a pitch when I’m by myself but if I’m training with my club, I find it embarrassing being at the back and struggling to bread, so it pushes me to go that extra bit quicker and work on my fitness.
Also, being the oldest outfielder at Waterford by a lot of years, I always feel that I have a point to prove in the runs, to show that there is still some life left in the old dog.
The last time we trained as a team we were given GPS devices to take away with us to make sure we were doing the work that was being asked. At that time, we expected to be back training within two weeks but as we all know, a lot has changed since the beginning of March.
We did have programmes designed for us at the start of this off time but as the weeks have gone by, we have been given the responsibility and trust from the management team to do our own sessions and train as much as we feel we need ourselves.
I’m sure when there is a definite date as to when we will be allowed to return to training as a group, we will be given another programme before that date.
It’s now about getting the right balance between maintaining fitness but at the same time not overdoing it. If the league does not resume until September then it is pointless doing so much training now but unfortunately, no one knows, so I have to keep training as much as I can in the unlikely event that we do return in June.
I try and stick programme my training to that of a normal week with Waterford: working five days. I focus more on sprint work on a Monday. Tuesday is more of an endurance run, normally five kilometres aiming for under 20 minutes to complete it.
Thursday is short and sharp foot work, nothing much just like the day before a game.
On Friday, because I try and replicate a match, I would do a 10-kilometre run – not including warm-up and cool-down - to really build my endurance. On average a centre-back would normally do around 11-kilometres in a match but that would be over 90 minutes whereas I would be doing the 10-kilometre run in less than half that time.
Saturday would be a recovery session. Wednesday and Sunday are rest days.
I also manage to get a few weight sessions in out my back garden, using weights I took from the gym in Waterford when we were last training, predicating that this lockdown would be much longer than anticipated.
Judging from our team’s WhatsApp group, some of the players are struggling with boredom.
It’s not in a footballer’s nature to do nothing, players need to be active. Some lads seem to be struggling more than others with so much free time.
Yes, players go out and exercise but that doesn’t take long and there are a lot of hours in the day when players have nothing to keep them occupied at home.
I’m not a player that falls into that category. Just before the suspension of the league and the lockdown, I became a father for the first time. My days don’t involve lying out in the sunshine, more like middle of night feeds and listening to The Wriggles.
After being a stay at home parent these last few weeks, no matter what running I go back to with Waterford when we do return, will be quiet easy in comparison.