Even when I was doing nothing, it was painful
DEALING with injuries is part and parcel of an elite athlete’s life. But Sol Sweeney has had to deal with more than a pulled muscle or a sprained ankle this year. He has had to contend with a collapsed lung. Twice.
His first collapsed lung happened at the start of the year, with the second towards the end of the summer, making life difficult.
“It’s quite painful. When I tried to run, it was sore and even when I was sitting doing nothing, it was pretty painful,” the middle-distance specialist said.
“Things like walking up the stairs can be tough but gradually, that goes away although it takes a while longer to be able to run again.
“There’s nothing specific that causes it, it just can be quite common in young males. It could happen again, there’s a risk of that.”
Sweeney has managed to put his issues behind him though, and this weekend, will line up at the European Cross-Country Championships in Lisbon.
The 21-year-old has been selected for GB after a strong winter, including an impressive run that saw him finish second behind Olympian Andy Butchart in the Scottish Short-Course Cross-Country Championships last month before finishing fourth in the under-23s in the Euro trials a fortnight ago in Liverpool.
Being in good form, Sweeney is excited to see how he can do in Lisbon.
“I’m looking forward to it, it should be a good race,” he said.
“I feel like I’m in pretty good cross-country shape. I wasn’t sure how it would go in Liverpool but I actually felt pretty strong so that was really encouraging. It’s a slightly shorter distance in Lisbon – it’s only 8km so that’s good for me.”
A good result in Portugal would cap off a good year for Sweeney, setting a personal best in the mile and the 3000m but the Glasgow University athlete, who is coached by Andy Young and trains alongside Laura Muir, is still not satisfied and is relishing the chance to get some uninterrupted training under his belt ahead of next year.
“I wasn’t too happy with my year in terms of times but when you take into account what happened, I guess it wasn’t too bad,” he said. “I did manage to get myself in shape to run some decent times but it was all pretty disrupted. So with some good training, what could I do next year?”
As Sweeney looks ahead to 2020, he plans to do an indoor season before he heads outdoors. And with the British Indoor Championships in Glasgow in February, he has a target to aim for.
“I’ll do some 1500m in the indoor season but I’ll focus more on the 3k,” he said.
“The British Indoor Champs in Glasgow are a big one. I train in the Emirates every day so it’ll be great to have the chance to race there.”
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that discussions to create a centre of excellence for athletics in Scotland are at an advanced stage, with Scottish Athletics chief executive Mark Munro confident the project will go ahead.
The preferred location is between Glasgow and Edinburgh but Munro says finding the funds is the biggest challenge.
“It’s a lot of money, around £5m-£6m. But, in the grand scheme of facility builds, it’s low level,” Munro told BBC Scotland. “We’re close to getting it right and I’m confident we can make it happen.”