“You’re like the cows that are let out of the barn in the spring” – Paul O’Donovan likes to combine education with medical studies
Olympic gold medalist Paul O’Donovan is focusing on his medical studies ahead of the new rowing season, which culminates in September’s World Championships.
I’m stuck in exams next week and they last until mid-May. Then I would like to do another month of internship in the summer,” he said.
He plans to sit down with his coach shortly to plan which competitions he will be competing in this year.
“There are a few World Cups there in May, June and July, European Championships in August. The rest of the team recently started their season in Italy and got some good results and medals there with a few different combinations.”
Last year the World Championships were postponed due to Covid 19 but the 2022 event is scheduled for September in the Czech Republic.
The Skibbereen rower has won four gold medals at world championship level. There is a good chance that we will be in action in the Czech Republic in September. For now, however, his priorities are away from the water.
This is his penultimate year of medical school. “We’re slowly getting there. If I pass these exams, I’ll be in senior year.”
But O’Donovan has hinted that he has ambitions not only to compete at the Paris Olympics in 2024, but also to compete in Los Angeles in six years’ time.
When asked what he plans to do when he graduates, O’Donovan said he’s trying to figure that out.
“The way things are going right now, everything is going well, I’ll graduate by this time next year and then take some time off before going full-time. That brings me to the next Olympic Games in Paris.
“I suppose I’ll have to get into the real world a bit and do some work after that, but once that’s over you can focus on LA and then consider that, but it’s still a while away.”
During the winter months, O’Donovan joined Leevale Athletic Club and competed in a series of cross-country and road races in Cork Club colours.
“There are big aerobic benefits and there are big time benefits in running. You can just put on your sneakers and do it anywhere in the world. You can run to the fields with the cows and all that stuff.
“They are very fit and much faster than me. It’s also good for bone density. We compete in a lightweight category, so sometimes we have a little bit of low energy availability and sometimes you lose some bone mass because of that. Running benefits from this, especially if you supplement it with half a liter of milk afterwards. It’s good to diversify things and take care of all aspects of your health while maintaining cardiovascular fitness.”
Taking a break from rowing and trying other sports helps O’Donovan be at his best for the racing season.
“I would not do as much (rowing) training as I would like at the moment. But I’m in a position where I can maintain a good level.
“Then when I train full time in a couple of weeks in the summer I’ll take the last few percent off and be in pretty good shape to perform well.
“I’m probably around 75 or 76 kg right now, so I ride around 70 or 71 kg. Being a few pounds over ensures you have some good energy stores, which helps. Then, as you get into racing season, you start to lose some.
“If you train full throttle all the time and keep the weight down year round, you can get a bit run down and repetitive. So I find that mixing things up motivates you. You still train a lot to stay fit and after the exams you are full of energy.
“You are like the cows that are let out of the stalls there in the spring and jump up and down. You want to train as much as possible throughout the summer and it doesn’t take much to get back up to speed.”
*Paul O’Donovan is NDC Sports Ambassador for 2022.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/youre-like-the-cows-being-let-out-of-the-shed-in-springtime-paul-odonovan-glad-to-mix-training-with-medical-studies-41566294.html “You’re like the cows that are let out of the barn in the spring” – Paul O’Donovan likes to combine education with medical studies