Chia Bia ambassador and National Indoor 800m Champion, Niall Tuohy, is gearing up for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. We are really grateful to Niall for taking time out of his hectic schedule to tell us about his journey on the ‘Road to Rio’!
In Part 1, Niall told us about a devastating injury early on in his athletic career. The injury required peripheral nerve surgery and he was told that he would never be able to run again.
Along with looking at different ways in which the body can heal itself, especially with nutrition, some encouragement from his childhood coach at Ferrybank Athletics in Co. Waterford and inspiration from a fellow athlete, Niall’s miraculous recovery set him off on the ‘Road to Rio’.
I embarked on a degree in Sports Science at the University of Limerick, moving in with Olympian Thomas Chamney who inspired me to create a framework to allow me to be the best that I could. By 2011, I was back to running short distances and achieved a time of 47 seconds in the 400m sprint. Luck wasn’t on my side for long, however, as a hip injury later that year kept me out for another 18 months.
Determined to overcome this latest obstacle I moved to Gran Canaria and attended ex-middle distance professional runner Andrew Walker’s warm weather training camp. Here I learned about the different ways in which our bodies can heal, took up yoga and changed my diet to consist mainly of alkali foods. I also completed an acupuncture degree which allowed me to treat myself. I then went on to win my first Senior National title last year, which marked a milestone in my recovery.
Inspired by the many great doctors I encountered throughout my struggles I returned to UL to study for a graduate degree in medicine where I have just completed my second year. I have been racing at home and abroad and have broken my personal best over 800m twice this year, with a time of 1:48.09 at the Cork City Sports International in July. I think the key to a full recovery is to not push myself too hard – I now know my body’s limits and I’m not afraid to take time off if I need it. Being healthy is the most important thing.
The Road to Rio
There are now just 12 months until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which have always been my ultimate goal. It’s going to be an extremely hard task, and I have a lot to do this year, which I’m looking forward to documenting in the Waterford News and Star. I couldn’t do it without the support of Chia Bia, who have generously given me the ability to take time out from my studies to concentrate on athletics full-time for the 2015/16 season. I’m excited to discover what can be achieved if I give it my all – It’s a daunting task but with so many highlights to look forward to along the way. I’m going to relish the journey and not just the destination – whatever that will be.
Join us next time when Niall will tell us about a day in the life of an Indoor Running Champion of his ‘Road to Rio’.