How Lara Gillespie balances full time study and riding for the Senior Irish team

By Lara Gillespie – Lara is a 21 time Irish national champion cyclist who rides amongst the senior squad, most recently in the team pursuit in the World Championships.

Balancing full time uni – studying health and performance Science and being on the senior Irish Cycling Team has its challenges, advantages and of course adventures.

I am extremely grateful for how  supportive my cycling coaches and my family have been with encouraging me to continue my education alongside cycling at the highest level. Especially because many said it was impossible. 

I think it is crucial to have people around you who support what you want to do, what makes you happy and people who listen and who you want to listen to around you.

For me, this decision was best for many reasons.

We do not have a velodrome yet in ireland so the athletes are based out in Mallorca, there is no U23 Category for women on the road and the jump from junior racing to elite racing is huge and not something I see a point in being rushed.  

At the moment I’m getting the best of both worlds. I’m getting lots of experience racing at top level with little pressure and getting to study a subject I can use both in cycling and later in life to help others get into sport and get healthy and happy in themselves. My family and friends are extremely important to me so I love being home too. 

Organisation and communication I think are two things that have to be on top of and always improving. I’m lucky to be apart of an amazing scholarship programme in University College Dublin. 

It’s easy to get stressed (and I do) about 6am/8pm training sessions, sessions in between lectures and exams

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