CATCH ME IF YOU CAN Connacht’s Dave Heffernan gets away from Owen Lane of Cardiff Blues during their Guinness PRO14 match in February. Pic: Sportsfile
WHEN morning comes, I’m usually well rested as I try to ensure I have a good night’s sleep. I’ve found that keeping one’s sleep-routine as consistent as possible makes a big difference, so I’ve been working on that a lot.
Of course, a lot of days are different because we might be traveling to a game or getting ready for a home game, but a normal training day would start with a quick cold shower and a 10-minute meditation using Calm or the Waking Up app.
This hopefully gets me focused and ready for the day. Then, it’s time for breakfast and that’s usually overnight oats and a high protein shake.
At the moment most of our team meetings take place on zoom due to all the restrictions, so we normally get these done first thing in the morning. Holding meetings like that took a bit of getting used to, but now it seems almost normal.
Then, it’s time to head into the ground and traffic is usually fine as we’ve missed the morning rush-hour.
Once I get to The Sportsground, I start off with some individual mobility work and then we do our weigh-in and S&C morning monitoring.
I try get some throwing done in the morning before we begin collective training to make sure I’m good to go when we get into the session. When that’s done, I feel more comfortable and then we normally have a movement prep session with our physios. This is a mix of mobility and core/hip strength work that helps us get primed up and ready to go for the pitch sessions which follow.
As things begin to ramp up, we usually have a walk-through of any new plays/line outs that the coaches want to bring into our game. It’s important to always be looking to improve and take on new things.
This is followed by a warm-up on the pitch and we’re ready to go.
Our sessions kick off with ten minutes of individual craft/works-ons and we all have different priorities here. I usually take this time to work on ball carrying or tackling drills and always look for improvements.
Then we move to the usual attack/defence/units splits which vary in intensity depending on the day. If we’ve a few days clearance since the last match and are still a few days out from the next match, then it can be a very intense session, but if we’re just after a game or on the verge of another one, the sessions are tailored to that.
Post pitch we’d usually have an hour or so to recover and get some food on board which is provided for us on site. Then it’s into a gym session and a line out walk-through with the forward units. Set-pieces are very important and every team works hard to get one up on the opposition.
At that stage it’s almost evening and it’s time to review the day and/or look forward to our next opponents on the Hudl system, which our video analysis department do a great job on. I like as much information as possible and this is another very important part of preparation.
Then it’s time for home. During the week I use Clean Cut Meals. I find them really healthy, convenient and they help me to be consistent with my nutrition, which is crucial.
I’m studying for my final QFA (Qualified Financial Advisor) exam at the moment, so I try to get some study done most evenings. This gives me a different perspective after a day of rugby, which is good.
I also enjoy reading a lot, so I get at least half an hour a day on mostly non-fiction books.
I’ll normally start winding down at around 9.30pm, making a big effort now to keep my sleep routine as consistent as possible.
In conversation with Michael Gallagher.
Name: Dave Heffernan
If money was no object, what would you do?
Tell us something about you we don’t know?
I studied Chinese for a year in UCD.
Favourite place in the world?
Bartra Island on the Moy.
What makes you angry?
Overly opinionated, under-informed people.
Who are your heroes?
What makes you nervous?
Favourite TV show?
What do you miss most about being a kid?
Being completely carefree.
Most prized possession?
Best advice you’ve received?
There’s no situation so bad that you cannot make it worse.
How do you unwind?
Spending time with friends and family.
Describe yourself in three words
Hardworking, introverted, curious.