3 May 2017

Derry Track Club’s Paul Barbour is recovering well in hospital after a near death experience last week.  The popular Omagh man was out running in his home town when he became alarmed at the rate at which his heart was beating.

Paul Barbour in action at the NI/Ulster Intermediate Cross Country in January.

Thankfully Paul did the sensible thing and stopped.  As his heart continued to beat out a samba rhythm, he took himself off to the nearby hospital.

On arrival, he reputedly had a heart rate well into the 200s but passed out shortly afterwards only to be resuscitated with defibrillators by the medical team.

After spending a few days in Altnagelvin Hospital attached to a cardio machine, he will today be brought to Erne Hospital for an MRI scan of his heart.

Our heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery go out to him.


25 April 2017

Enya Haigney made an impressive start to the outdoor season with a personal best and a solid performance at the first Trafford AC Grand Prix Meeting in Manchester.

Enya Haigney churned out a new 1500m PB in Manchester.

The Omagh lass looked relaxed throughout in the mixed B race to clock in 4:4:50.47 – an improvement of two seconds on her previous mark.

Shane McGowan (800m – 1:58.88) and  Conor McIveen (1500m – 4:45.81) also took advantage of the early season meeting to register respectable times.

Earlier Conán McCaughey had sent out a message that he is going to be a force this summer with a facile victory in the 5K in Banbridge with a 15:05 clocking.

Now based in Belfast, McCaughey will be sharpening up his speed with mark Kirk’s group at the Mary Peters Track.


What The Ladies Can Teach Us About Injuries…

In the second article of an occasional series Dr Andrew Maguire looks at the disparity in injury rates between men and women. What can male runners learn from the ladies?

When I first started to run 15 years ago, I was often the solitary practitioner of this now very popular sports activity. When running on the Queens Quay along the banks of the River Foyle, I now find myself one of many runners taking advantage of what are now excellent running routes that are both safe and picturesque.

There are more running clubs than ever before and these reflect a broad demographic. What is often overlooked, is the number of women who are now pounding the highways and byways. What I have noticed over the years is that female runners tend to get injured significantly less than their male counterparts! Why is this the case?

Well, van der Worp et al. have surveyed much of the research on this phenomenon and come up with some interesting findings in their article on the risk factors between the sexes.

Although running is considered as “one of the most efficient ways to achieve physical fitness”, there is always the ever-present risk of injury (especially lower-limb), and strategies are needed to prevent such injuries in the first place. In analysing the differences in male/female injury rates, van der Worp asserts that “women are at a lower risk of running injuries than men”.

They identified the following factors that placed women at increased risk of injury; older age, running marathons, training on hard surfaces (road & concrete), weekly mileage more than 30 and coming from non-axial (shock impact) sports such as swimming/cycling.

On the other hand, factors that placed men at greater risk of injury were; running more than 40 miles per week, novice runners with less than 2 years’ experience, just returning to running, and previous injury. They found that men have a significantly higher risk of injury than women – especially those under 40 years of age.

However, regardless of gender, 80% of running disorders are attributed to overuse.  And what can be gleaned from their findings is that men tend to over-train in terms of distance and intensity whereas women tend to err on the side of caution. Additionally, it appears that men do not give themselves sufficient recovery time from injury, and even when they do, they increase their training regime too much upon returning.

Even from personal experience, I have often found myself pushing too hard, too soon, in terms of what I am capable of – thus resulting in repeat injury. From participant observation over the years, I certainly echo the findings of van der Worp in so much as men generally adopt a less patient approach to running and ultimately find themselves paying the price of being side-lined for prolonged periods.

Such an approach to a very physically and psychologically demanding sport, can easy result in a vicious circle of injury after injury.  In conclusion, it’s fair to say that male runners can learn a lot from their female counterparts in terms of training and avoiding injury.

Further reading: Maarten van der Worp et al. ‘Injuries in Runners: A Systematic Review on Risk Factors and Sex Differences’, PLOS ONE, Feb. 2015, pp.1-18



These are some suggestions for Novice runners on how to improve their 5K times before tackling the longer distances.  


Include short repetitions (Intervals of 200/300/400/500m) at speeds faster than the desired pace of your 5K.


To improve your running speed, it is important that you make yourself more flexible and stronger.  In this way you can increase your stride length without impairing your running efficiency. You have to be strong to run fast.


Training intensity is greater for 5K races than say for 10Ks and longer distances. This means you need to take longer recoveries between reps.


Notwithstanding the need for speed, the 5K is still a largely aerobic event.  For this reason attention should still be paid to underlying fitness.  Long runs should still be included in a typical week’s training although these do not need to be longer than 60 minutes in duration but run a a brisker tempo than for marathon training.

  1. HILLS

Running hill sessions strengthen the legs and help prepare for the sensation of fatigue felt during the final kilometres of a race. Hills also improve running efficiency on the flat and help increase the stride length through improved leg strength.

  1. WARM-UP

A good wam-up routine is needed if you want to run fast either in race or before a speed session.  This should not be seen as a prelude to training but instead an integral part of the session.  Start off with easy running for 10 minutes followed by some dynamic stretching and a few easy strides before you get down to the serious business.


The following is suggested as a typical week for someone wishing to break 20 minutes for 5K.

Tuesday: 6 x 1000m on the road in 3:50-4:00 with 3 minutes jog recovery;

Wednesday: 45 minutes recovery run at 5:30 per kilometre pace.

Thursday: 8 x 200m on track/road/grass starting easy and then trying to run each rep a second faster – recovery 3 mins jogging.
10 x 150m hills with jog back recovery.

Saturday: parkrun at 4:20 per kilometre pace.

Sunday: 60 minutes run at 5:00 per kilometre pace.

Malcolm McCausland
UK Athletics Level IV Performance Coach