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Athlete Blog With Ellie McGeough: IMG Academy Week 1

Ellie McGeough is a talented young sprinter from Sligo who is lucky enough to be spending her school year (transition year) at the IMG academy in Florida. She’ll be under the guidance of world renowned sprint coaches like Loren Seagrave and training with international stars such as double world long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta. Ellie will be keeping up to date with her athletic and academic progress with regular blogs on JTG.


Week 1

My First week at IMG Academy Florida complete and I’m still able to walk (just about!)

Classes start at 7.45am followed by training, which starts at 1.30pm every day and finishes around 5pm. Training kicked off with a bang on the first day and sessions last about 2 hours. It starts with the famous (Loren) Seagrave warm up, which consists of more than an hour of dynamic stretching, core based exercises and drills (grabbing hydration and ice bags to cool you down whenever you can!).

Ellie McGeough

Athletes tackling the purpose-built hill

After the warm up we start into either a technical session or an endurance session. Video analysis is used to help work on our technique. We haven’t done much speed work yet as the first 4 weeks will be mainly focused on fitness and strengthening. The heat is probably the hardest factor, with temperatures between 35-39 degrees Celsius this week and really humid so sweating buckets is a given and sun block a must.

Saturday morning our training overlaps with the pros who train here – there weren’t many this weekend as some are at the World Champs in Beijng along with Loren and Marsha the lead coaches. I’m looking forward to seeing Tiana Bartoleta when she gets back after her gold in the long jump. Saturday’s morning session involved hills on a specially built grass mound as hills don’t actually exist in Florida!

Nutrition recovery and ice baths are all provided after training and we have been evaluated by an athletic trainer for injury monitoring. Lunch is good, really healthy stuff – no desserts! We have been given a load of Underarmour gear including shoes and bags (spikes to come) and a lot of it is winter stuff so it will be useful when I go back home.

Everytime it rains here a bell goes off and we all have to go inside. Imagine that in Sligo, we would never get out! It’s because of the lightening, and at the moment a hurricane is threatening so hopefully it will pass us by.
Starting to have the craic with the track team too and there is plenty of fun things on in the evenings when I have the energy! APD (athletic personal development) starts next week which includes strength and conditioning, mental conditioning, nutrition, yoga, and speed training – watch this  space.


By Ellie M. for JTG


Speed queen: Dafne Schippers became the third fastest woman of all time when winning the 200m in 21.63. Image: PhotoRun
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Gerard O'Donnell

Gerard O'Donnell

Gerard O'Donnell is an athlete, physical therapist, and MSc student. He is current national 110m hurdles champion and ranks 3rd & 5th on the Irish all-time list for the sprint hurdles events. He is occasionally referred to as GOD, not due to his initials, but because of his heavenly beard, which he has sported since the age of 5.

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