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Tribesports User of the Week: Malachy K


Posted by Malachy K under Running, Adventure Racing, Fitness & Training on 25 September 2013 at 11:00 PM

Malachy profileWhich has been your toughest Tribesports Challenge and which are you most proud of?

I always seem to have problems sticking with any challenge that lasts for more than a week, maybe I should write it down on a sheet of paper and stick it up next to the bedroom door, so it's the first thing I see in the morning.

Most proud of running a half marathon as my first ever race and trashing my target time by almost 20 minutes.

As a self-confessed hater of running, what is it that draws you to sign up for big events?

Yes it's true that I hate running, and I think that's coming from years ago when I was fat and running even 3 or 4 steps caused pain in both knees. I do like to challenge myself, and practice what I preach with my clients, so every now & then I sign up for a daunting task, such as a half marathon. Or a 10K obstacle race. As someone who usually trains alone I enjoy the camaraderie of the big events, and now that I know what I'm able for, I get tremendous satisfaction from helping someone who's struggling to make it up a hill. 

How do you train for them if you're not out on the roads?

I always wear a Heart rate monitor when running, and know I've got so long at different heart rates, so I don't worry about pace, or distance, I just watch my heart rate. I only run once per week, so it's vital to work on my fitness outside of that.

MalachyI prefer short, focused, very high intensity interval training sessions that make my heartrate skyrocket and rapidly reduce me to a sweaty panting wreck. My average workout is about 35 mins twice a week. It's important to note that too much high intensity work can put potentially fatal loads on the autonomic nervous system (which controls our internal organs including the heart) if there isn't sufficient time to recover between sessions. So when I'm in training I'll also check Heart Rate Variability each day, and adjust the training plan for that day as neccessary. HRV is basically the time difference between one heart beat and the next. My dad died of a massive heart attack when I was 7, so I guess thats why I get a bit OCD when it comes to keeping an eye on the heart!  Outside of that, I'm generally active anyway, walking or cycling the short distance to work. I'm also involved in circus arts so to me stiltwalking and juggling are forms of cross training! I get bored easily, so being able to vary things is a big help.

How did your mud run experience change your feelings towards running?

I did my first mud run/obstacle race earlier this year, and enjoyed it too much for a10k. I guess the break from running at each obstacle was enough to allow me run at a faster pace between them.. Actually, I came away from it thinking "that was too easy, gotta find a BIGGER challenge!" which came as a quite a surprise. . So I'm signed up for my first full marathon in March. I may get down n dirty again before then though, purely for the fun.

Which other sports do you participate in?

I'm more into being active and enjoying life than taking any one sport too seriously. Due to time commitments, I'm not doing too much sportswise at the moment.


Over the last few years though, the mainstays would have been surfing - which almost killed me once -, judo, and slacklining. I also take part in yoga classes from time to time to rejuvenate mind and body.

As a personal trainer, do you manage to find time to train much yourself?

For me, it's never a case of TRYING to find time to workout.. You either MAKE time or you don't. Like any other job, there will sometimes be days where the energy levels aren't what they should be, and so my beloved VHIIT workouts aren't practical, and thats ok. Worst case scenario, I'll do some breathing exercises/meditation before bed so that the next day I get back on track. Generally though, my hours are fairly consistent, so I have a routine that frequently kills 2 birds with one stone. For example, weekly food shopping becomes interval training, taking 3 trips on the bike with a 25 litre backpack, covering anywhere from 12-18km in total. ANYTHING can be a workout once you put your mind to it. 

Which exercise do you love training with the most?

My current favourite gym based exercise would be a withering combo of renegade row with kettlebell snatch, done for heart rate intervals. For non gym workouts, my gibbon 15m slackline is my go-to piece of kit. Great for legs, balance, focus, breathing and pretty much the most fun core workout you can have with your clothes on!

Mal Slacklining whilst juggling!

Where in the world would you like to complete a Challenge?

Having already done a 200Km+ wilderness canoeing expedition in sub-arctic Finland a few years ago, I'd love to take on something similar, except this time involving a team of huskies and lots of snow, so a visit to Canada or Alaska is definitely on the cards! Somewhat less appealing (because it involves running) is the ocean floor race in Egypt. 160Km across desert might be a bit much to take on for the moment though..  I'll do 42Km on tar first, and see where the road takes me...

Mal Hill walkingWhich Tribesports user makes your day?

It's really hard to say, we have such a great community of supportive folks who are both inspiring and humbling..

In no particular order, i always look forward to posts by Brenda D, Jane H, Sonu K, Lisa M, Gemma A, Matteo R, Heather J, there are so many others we could be here all day!

What's your favourite quote?

I have a couple

"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you" - Author Unknown

"Do or do not, there is no try" - Yoda

"When you learn from every failure, success becomes inevitable." - Me