I recently heard an interview with David on 2FM and it really hit home with me. The manner in which he spoke. Not like your normal cliche filled bulls&*t interviews that we are subjected to but to the honesty and down-to-earthness of it.
Our paths crossed a few weeks later and we got chatting and well, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to interview David again…Enjoy
As a national record holder representing Ireland on the international stage, getting top of your game and staying there must have been tough. What was your secret?
No secret sauce I’m afraid, it was a case of really focusing on my sport and what I wanted to achieve. Once I got specific about that goal I really bough into the holistic approach…my training, rest, food and mindset. The key… consistency of all.
You have togged out at an adventure race or two in your time, what do you make of them?
I’ve dabbled a few times most recently doing the Sea2Summit and honestly it was a completely different experience, I was sore in parts I never knew existed! Overall, I really enjoyed it and i understand why so many people love it. The different sports/activities and the challenge of endurance give you something to really aim and test yourself, the of accomplishment is a get drug. The variety of activity, the terrain, the environment all keep it new and fresh, you will never get bored!
It’s obvious you have a competitive streak a mile wide. No offense. So, not content with just winning on the track, you also won Celebrity Masterchef. Did this spark the idea for writing your first book or was this always something you wanted to do?
Celebrity Masterchef was 5 years ago, and to be honest I never thought it would lead to opportunities. Food was something I as always interested in and taking part in a national TV show was exciting but as the same time nerve wrecking. However, I got stuck in and I really enjoyed the challenge. I think i was competitive with myself and just wanted to better each dish. I never really thought about doing a book, but when the opportunity came around along with peoples interest in food I said why not. I always get the asked the same two questions, what do I eat and how long to I run for?
I love my grub. I am cooking from the book and am loving it. The Chicken and Dublin Bay Prawn Gumbo being my favorite so far. What sounds like a very technical dish, is really quite simple to make. What’s your favorite recipe in the book?
Keeping with prawns, the sheet pan prawn bake is great. One dish I get a lot of positive feedback is the mixed grain kedgeree, great way of using different grains and of course fish. For all your endurance readers, no bake fruit and nut bars are tasty!!
This summer, I took on my first Ultra 12 hour race. One of the main challenges I faced was to keep on top of nutrition. This is something a lot of fellow competitors struggle with, especially for the longer races. Any advice?
Obviously coming from a sprint background this was something I didn’t rally have to sorry about, however I did spent a lot of time around our Irish marathon running and 50km walkers. What really struck me wasn’t what they ate or how much, it was their nutrition strategies for race day. So much planning went into when they ate and drank during competition and i think that would be key advice. What to eat and when to eat is vital. No new foods, just keep it simple.
The average age of an adventure racer is late 30’s. Of which, a vast majority will most likely have all the pressures of life i.e. young families, work, mortgages and everything that goes with modern day life. Sometimes trying to get out and do a bit of training can be a task within itself. Does ‘Back on Track’ cater for this?
For my new book Back On Track I really wanted to share my experiences. I’m someone that has been doing sport my whole life and I want to continue. Of course my priorities have changed, two young kids, two working parents so I’ve included simple workouts people can do over 10/15/20 minutes in their homes, gardens or local parks. Sometimes even getting 10 minutes of exercise can help both physically and mentally, and give you a feeling of progression.
Post exercise/race recovery. Something that’s often looked. I’m probably as guilty as anyone here. Words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated here.
It’s individual but if your are training intensely on a regular basis then recovery is important. Having a snack rich in protein and fast releasing carbs (sugars) immediately post exercise will aid recovery. You can make things like smoothies, homemade bars or bring fruit, yogurts, protein bars or even flavored milk. Then within the hour have a good meal, be it breakfast, lunch or a dinner, something substantial.
8 October 2013; David Gillick. Tallaght Athletic Club, Tallaght, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***
You have spoken in depth about struggles you have faced, demons you have had to overcome. We know, unfortunately men are crap at talking and expressing there feelings, almost as if its a sign of weakness. Do you have any advice here.
Men are men, and something you don’t want to show any weakness, so you say nothing. I did that for 3 years and it have its affects. I think the environment for men to open up is important. Going for a coffee and discussing things over a table wasn’t going to work, for me it was through activity, be it a walk in the park, cycle or a run. Men talk shoulder to shoulder, women talk face to face. The timing and environment are critical for someone to open up and talk honestly. The other aspect is listen, sometimes people aren’t looking for answers or to be told what to do, they just want to talk, so be a good listener, lend them your ear, you don’t have to have the answers so down feel like you are the person to fix them. Just listen, and then listen again.
Having read your book, I have to ask, Is this the reason why you have adopted a more holistic approach to your second book, “Back on Track”?
Yes, I learnt a lot about myself over the last number of years. I really began to see the benefits of a holistic approach to well being for myself and that all
elements were connected. I wanted to share this and hopefully help others. I picked up lots of advice/tips and strategies and I simply wanted to highlight these in my own personal story.
Eat, move, think and rest your way to your happiest, healthiest self. That’s the tagline on the cover of your latest book. Nutrition aside, unlike the majority of other books out there, you really focus in on the often overlooked side of healthy living. From goal setting to heart rate monitoring to rest and relaxation tips.
I think people now realize that there is more to a healthy lifestyle than food. We tend to focus a lot on food and physical fitness because that’s what we can see, but I think its important nowadays to work a little on our mental fitness. Giving ourselves goals and targets whilst making sure we allow ourselves to switch off, rest and recover is as important. The world is changing and now moving at break neck speed, information is 24/7 and the pressure that puts on people can lead to a whole host of setbacks. This is book is for everyone, individuals to parents, teenagers and adults. From people you just want to make little sustainable and practicable changes to people who find themselves really struggling with physical and mental setbacks.
Your still looking in great shape, what are your sporting plans for the upcoming year? Might we see you competing for the National Adventure Racing Series in the 2019?
I try my best to keep active and I’m always looking for a challenge and something new, so I will definitely look at doing something in the 2019,
once my dodgy Achilles holds up, if its doesn’t i’ll just enjoy the amazing scenery while eating my snacks!