Having worked his way back from a cruciate ligament injury, Moorefield captain ROSS GLAVIN knows that rest and recuperation is more important than ever even if it means his party days are over
In recent years it’s more what you are doing when you are not with the team that stands to you. From my point of view I am lucky in the job (an officer in the Irish Defence Forces) that I am in you are expected to keep a high level of fitness. Without having to pay membership to a gym, everything I need to keep fit is there on hand. I was away last year in the Lebanon for six months and I got a good level of base fitness in. I got a lot of strength training done as well as cardio training so that has definitely stood to me since I came home. For the first time ever I got more into strength training when I was overseas and I kept that going over the winter.
The only thing is that I’m based in Dundalk now which doesn’t really suit. The commute is a pain in the arse. My team mate Ian Lonergan is based there as well, he is an officer too, so we car pool up and down. Sometimes we stay up on a Monday night and we’d go to the gym in the evening. You give yourself one rest day a week but other than that the days you are not training you try get to the gym. If you are training with the team on Tuesday and Thursday you’d try get a bit done yourself on a Monday and Wednesday. It mightn’t even be a whole lot, just some core strengthening exercises or flexibility exercises, maybe just to strengthen up the glutes or the hamstrings. With the injuries I have had, the areas I was told to pay attention to were my quads, the glutes, the hamstrings. If you have a strong core everything else will stand to you. That’s instead of doing weights on the upper body. This is what the county teams have been doing for years now, the club teams are only catching on to it.
During the rehab from my knee cruciate ligament injury, it was about building up my quads and my hamstrings. My hamstrings are probably a bit weak so I have to do a bit of work on them. A session like that in the gym for 40 minutes is probably more beneficial to me than doing a heavy session of upper body weights or even going for a long 10km run. It takes me a little bit longer now to recover from a match or training than it would have a couple of years ago. I haven’t got a run of football properly since 2010, I haven’t played senior championship since then, that’s a long time when you are turning 28 in a few weeks. So I’m still taking it a week at a time and gradually trying to get fitter.
Tuesday’s sessions are usually the more physical sessions so from the time you get out of bed in the morning you are reminding yourself to keep hydrated and definitely watch what you eat. I’m not one of the young lads anymore who can abuse their body so I definitely watch my intake. Myself and Ian, if we are coming down the M1 and the M50 and on down the N7, it’s a good drive so the legs would be a bit stiff by the time you reach Newbridge. The first part of training you are a little bit worried about the muscles, the hamstrings take a bit of time to loosen up before you can go hell for leather.
You would try to get a bite to eat at around half four when we are pulling out of Dundalk, that would be it then only you would be drinking plenty of water in the car on the way down. You’d have a protein bar then as well just for a bit of energy.
Training has to be a mixture of fun and the serious business. If there is no craic in training, nobody is going to go to it. At club level you can probably afford to relax a little bit but there has to be a serious side to it as well. It’s only March now, winter training can be tough so if there wasn’t a bit of craic I’d find it hard to go myself. It’s not a case of going up and messing around for an hour and a half though. If you put in a good effort you get the benefit from it. At the end of the day, clubs teams are probably only meeting three times a week so it’s probably only six hours a week so when you are there you have to have put in the effort.
Thursdays tend to be more about the football but training is often dictated by the fixtures at the weekend. If a match is on a Saturday you can get more of a physical session done on a Tuesday and a more football-orientated session on Thursday. Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday is the perfect set up but the way things are in the GAA it doesn’t always fall that way. Weeks will change so sometimes it’s hard for managers to make plans. We started off the year training on a Tuesday and a Friday, which was great for me on the commute, and then on Sunday morning.
Sometimes there are midweek games and I wouldn’t say that they are harder to prepare for but there is that bit of added pressure especially if boys are in college or they are working. You can’t prepare as easily as for a game on a Sunday or Saturday. We had the Aldridge Cup final on a Friday night a couple of weeks ago. I was off, luckily enough, but Ian was working and got caught in the traffic coming down on a bank holiday weekend and he didn’t reach the ground until 15 minutes into the game. His two brothers (James and Colin) were working in Rathmines and they were the same in the traffic. They were late as well but they are things you are going to run into for midweek matches. It’s a lot easier at the weekend when you get out of bed and you can cook your own food, you drink as much as you need. When you are in work or college you are restricted to what and when you can eat.
On a matchday at the weekend you’re thinking about the game from the moment you wake up. I’m up by quarter past six on a weekday so my body clock means I wake early even at the weekend. I might get a lie-in but I am still up by half eight or quarter to nine. If it’s a Saturday you’ll just try to relax and watch something like Soccer Saturday. I’d get a few jobs done around the house or maybe go for a bit of walk.
This year we have a new management team in place. Kenny Duane who played for us for years is part of the management now and he normally looks after the warm up. Kenny is a big fan of a very long warm up, a few years ago I might not have enjoyed that as much but it does take me a bit longer for me to loosen up and get warmed up. We’d like to be at the pitch an hour, an hour and ten minutes before the game. We can get out on the pitch and get a good 25,-30 minute warm up done.
Things have changed in the evening after a game or even the next day. I was up in Moorefield the day after we had won the Aldridge Cup and the chairman was asking me did I go for a pint after the game. I said: “Did I what? I couldn’t wait to get home and into my bed.”
Every part of my body was aching after the game. I was looking around the dressing room after the match and there were lads like Adam Tyrell dressed up like One Direction heading out for a night out. I was thinking to myself am I 27 going on 28 or 37 going on 38. I lived that lifestyle but it’s different as you get older.
The day after a game I’ll always try to get a bit of stretching in or even go on a light run. When you are younger you can get away with treating the body with a bit of disrespect but I am feeling the pinch now.
I’m happy with how things are going so far though. There is still another 20-25 per cent fitness that I can put into the body but once I get a few games under my belt I’ll be happy and it’s just a matter of taking it week by week at the moment. It’s weird, you would think the fitness would be the most important thing but the thing that is most off is the hand-eye co-ordination with the ball. I’m playing midfield and yet I can’t remember the last time I caught a fecking ball from a kick out. The boys are getting onto me but hopefully that will come with games.