Robert Heffernan, Olympic race walker

Health Scan

I’d be very conscious of my diet for recovery purposes.

I’d be very conscious of my diet for recovery purposes.


Do you think you have a healthy lifestyle?
I do. I’m a professional athlete so I train twice a day, every day, I go to the gym three times a week, I get a massage daily and physio a couple of times a week. Even down to removing hard skin from my feet, I cover every area. Sport is my job so I need to look after everything. If I get sick or injured I can’t do my job. That’s the way it is.

How often do you exercise?
I train twice a day most days. Every three or four weeks, I’d have one day off. No two training weeks are the same for me; it would be incremental all year, working up to the World or European Championships or the Olympics. I average about 100 miles a week. I also work with a strength and conditioning coach in Cork. There’s constant tweaking.

Would you get your five a day?
My wife is an athlete as well [400m runner, Marian Heffernan]; she competed in the Olympics so it’s kind of normal for us to eat healthy. We grow our own wheatgrass. I’d be very conscious of my diet for recovery purposes.

Do you worry?
Of course I would. You worry about getting injured or you’re thinking about your next race or normal worries in life like bills and how next year is going to go – but the more you prepare the better. The less prepared I am for something, the more I worry.

What do you do to relax?
We have two kids so when we are not training, we are spending time with them. That takes us totally away from sport. I’m a big coffee buff so I’d go for coffee most days and I’d have the odd glass of wine.

What’s your unhealthiest habit?
Cake. I’d have some most days but because of my build, I think I can get away with it. At the end of the season, there is a bit of bingeing on everything.

Robert Heffernan is a professional race walker who has competed at the Olympics

Joanne Hunt