Most people around the country have been watching the Irish Rugby team at the World Cup in France. As the squad and coaches try to reach the promised land of winning the world cup, their performances to date speak for themselves. I’ve been really interested in the language the team and coaches use during press conferences, interviews and media appearances. Be it Head Coach Andy Farrell or Captain Johnny Sexton, all the squad are together in delivering the same message, they just want the team to go out and be the best versions of themselves. The team is focused on matters internally and in their own performance. It’s such a simple message, but it must help to block out all the outside noise and pressure and focus purely on themselves.
While I don’t have any media attention on me, I still have my own running dreams and aspirations to aim for. I’ve made no secret that my ultimate aim is to break 3 hours for the marathon. In my build up to Cork and now with Dublin quickly approaching, this has always been the goal. However, I won’t be running a sub 3 hour marathon in Dublin. That’s not me being defeatist, it’s just reality. My preparation has been incredibly consistent. I’m knocking out training runs and long runs at a decent clip, but my body isn’t just ready for a sub 3….yet. That will come on another day and I am perfectly ok with that. I’ve stayed injury free and have run steadily for nearly a year now. I feel like I’m in decent enough shape. I’ll go out on the day of the race and try to run to the best of my ability.
Getting marathon ready is both enjoyable and hard work. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that just getting to the start line is an amazing achievement. The level of consistency and dedication that one needs to do that is incredible. I sometimes think that people who have never experienced the build up to a marathon or run same are missing out on so much. The great Czech runner, Emil Zapotek, summed it up very well when he said “If you want to run, run a mile; if you want to experience another life, run a marathon!” Without getting too philosophical, you learn an awful lot about yourself, other people, and life in general when training for and running the 26.2 mile distance. If anyone is getting bogged down on finishing times or PBs, try to remember that you are already elite, you are one of a very small number of people who will run a marathon this year. Figures from 2018 show that 1.1 million runners worldwide complete a marathon each year, that’s 0.01% of the world’s population. Give yourself the credit you deserve for getting out there, slogging it out and reaching the start line.
Training wise for me, it’s been getting the miles in and ticking off the sessions as the weeks fly by. There are only a few more sessions to go before I begin my taper. But in the meantime, I joined a big group at The Edge Sports recently as The Runner Diary Podcast hosted an event in association with Pillar Performance, Asics and Precision Hydration. It was a very informative evening and I learned a few nuggets about fueling and preparation. A great evening was rounded off by a nice 5km group run, where I got to try the Asics Gel Nimbus 25s. A lovely comfortable shoe for easy runs and they may come into my shoe rotation at some stage. My most recent long run was a full run through of what marathon day will be like. I wore the exact same gear I’ll be wearing in Dublin. I carried and consumed gels in the same way I intend to do on marathon day. I wore a hat and sunglasses just in case I choose to wear them. I’ll try and control everything I can control. Being prepared will help me feel a little more relaxed and that will allow me to be the best version of myself on the day.