PHIL Healy doesn’t have the Olympics this summer to target but by the time the Games roll around in July 2021, she will be a better athlete, insists her coach Shane McCormack.
The Bandon AC sprint star was in a strong position to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics this July before they were postponed until next year due to the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic.
Even though there is no competition for Healy to work towards, her coach has set out a new plan to improve the Irish 100m and 200m record holder.
Specifically, Healy will look to become a better 400m runner.
‘We will do 400-metre work that we haven’t been able to do,’ McCormack explained.
‘Last year Phil broke her foot so we didn’t do many 400s and we spent last winter getting her back in shape to run fast 200s to qualify for the Olympics on points. We had a plan, it worked and she was on track to qualify for the Games.
‘Now we will reset and start a new plan – and that is to make Phil a better 400m runner.’
In fact, McCormack is confident that the Ballineen bullet could be a busy woman at next year’s Olympics.
‘Given another year, I have no doubt that not only will Phil qualify for the Olympics, but she will qualify in at least two events,’ he said.
Weeks before the Olympics were postponed, McCormack knew the writing was on the wall. At the end of February, before Healy’s national indoors 200m final (where she set an Irish record and won gold), McCormack told her to make it a good race as it could be her last of the year.
‘Of course, she laughed at me, but I was deadly serious,’ he said.
‘I think the two of us got over it a while back, before the official word came through, we readjusted and the show has to go on.
‘Okay, we are not training for the Olympics this summer so that pressure is gone and we can reign back a little on the intensity with regards to what we are doing.
‘We will build on weaknesses, we will target more 400-metre fitness-type stuff. Sportspeople can’t stop – who wants to be 5kg overweight and then try to get back into shape?’
Healy had been training in isolation, staying on her own in a holiday cottage in Curracloe, Wexford, just a short hop from the beach, but after the Olympics were postponed, the plan has changed again.
By the time the Olympics come around in 2021, the plan is that Healy will be faster and have a bigger engine, and possibly qualify in two events.