What does an athlete do at Christmas? Is it a well earned break and some overindulgence or is training with a watchful eye on the diet as normal?

Irish 400m star Brian Gregan had a stellar 2017 season, including a semi-final appearance at the World Championships, before winning Irish track and field athlete of the year. So what are his Christmas plans?

Will you train on Christmas Day?
Not this Christmas. I am at the end of a big block of training and I am using Christmas week as a recovery week.

What about Boxing Day?
On St. Stephen’s day, I will do a running session. I will do some sort of short recovery tempo session to keep the body ticking over.

What is the best running related present you ever received?
My first pair of spikes! My parents bought them for me years ago. Training on a cinder track in runners was tough going, but when I put on my new spikes I felt like I was gliding across the surface.

Favourite childhood memory of Christmas?
One Christmas we had quite a lot of snow. I can’t remember the year but I remember running around like a lunatic making snowmen, and having snow fights.

Who are you spending Christmas 2017 with?
I will be spending it with my family. We will have dinner at home and that evening we will go to visit the rest of my mam’s family.

Do you worry about over-eating on Christmas day?
YES! For years I always worried about how much I was taking in, but as I have got older I tend to know what my limit is. I am going to Tenerife for a training camp in January and I don’t want to be out of shape for the topless photos ;)

What is your favourite food at Christmas?
My dad makes the best Garlic potatoes I have ever had! It is a real treat when he makes them.

Will you be cooking?
My dad will do most of the cooking. I will make the desserts.

What does Christmas mean to you?
Christmas is a time to reflect on the year gone by and look forward to what the new year holds. Christmas is always a crazy time for me. My birthday is New Year’s eve and straight after that I am usually away on a training camp, so I try to spend as much of it as possible with my family and friends.