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Get ready to run Dublin

Taking part in the Dublin marathon on Sunday October 27th? Check out our expert tips for a great day

“Training for a marathon is an undertaking that involves more than just running miles,” says Mary Jennings, author of new Irish book Get Running. “Nutrition, hydration, rest and recovery are as important as the actual running.”

“Anyone can do the Dublin Marathon - you do not need to be a club member,” says Jim Aughney, Race Director, KBC Dublin Marathon. “Most of the runners will not be members of clubs.”

Gearing up

“You just need the same running underwear, socks, tops and bottoms that you run in for shorter distances,” says Mary Jennings. “The biggest investment for most runners is a running watch to help track distance and pace. On the opposite end, but equally valuable is a very light running belt to hold snacks, keys etc en route.”

“The number one thing you need is a good running shoe,” says Alan Williams of Alan Williams Coaching. “I’d recommend speaking to an expert as there are even different types within each brand so you need to find the one that’s most appropriate for marathon distance.”

“You will need a good running vest and shorts, a pair of runners that you have trained in - do not use any new gear on the day of the event,” says Jim Aughney.

Training tips

“Give yourself loads of time. There’s nothing worse than trying to squeeze 16 weeks’ worth of training into six weeks and feeling like you’re totally unprepared on the day,” says Alan Williams. “Dublin City marathon post a weekly training programme on their social media platforms for 16 weeks in the lead up to their event, it’s ideal for recreational runners. I’d also recommend incorporating resistance training and mobility work. It can be tempting to train every day but you’ll need at least one rest day per week. I’d recommend two rest days.”

“Once you are comfortable at 10K distance, allow for four or five months to build up to marathon distance,” says Mary Jennings. “Training plans vary but I would always work with a four run per week training plan with some complementary strength and flexibility built in. I strongly encourage runners not to set a time target for their first marathon. For your first marathon, getting to the finish line with a smile is a pretty good target.”

“It’s most important to get used to time on your feet with a long run,” says Jim Aughney. “This should be slower than your race pace and build it up each week with the longest one three weeks before the event.”

In the water

“Be well hydrated before you start, especially in the last three days before the event,” says Jim Aughney. “There will be 10 water stations on the race route.”

“Most first time marathoners will be running for at least four hours on marathon day - that is a lot of time on your feet when you are losing fluids through sweat,” says Mary Jennings. “Water is the drink of choice for most marathon runners, but many runners also choose to add extra salt/electrolyte tablets to their fluids along the way. There are also energy drinks available that contain sugars and salts, but only drink a brand that you have tried in training.”

“Ensure adequate water intake over the course of the week before,” says Alan Willilams. “Use an hour before the race start as a cut-off point for drinking water. For recreational runners use thirst as your guide for consuming water during the run. Remember, excess water goes straight to the bladder, and extra toilet breaks! As the miles roll by you may find sodium drinks useful.”

Nutrition news

“Protein would definitely be required after the event to aid recovery, and obviously in training,” says Alan Willliams. “Immediately before and during look more towards energy gels and sports drinks. The kids handing out sweets toward the end of the marathon are a lifesaver! If you’ve never used gels in training, don’t use them on the day. You have no idea how your body will react to them.”

“Some runners use protein bars to recover from long runs and if you have trained with them continue, but do not start using them in the last few weeks before the event,” says Jim Aughney.

“Snacks can be anything from energy gels to jelly babies, homemade dried fruit bars to energy balls,” says Mary Jennings. “Some runners prefer natural snacks or fruit while others like to include products that have salts and caffeine included. Make sure you have practiced running with it before race day.”

The big day

“Rest and recover in the week before the event to arrive at the start line feeling fresh and ready to run,” says Jim Aughney. “Do not change any training or food items in the last few weeks.”

“By the time race day comes along, there should be no big surprises for any runner who has trained well,” says Mary Jennings. “You should also have done a little research on race logistics, route, hills and toilet stops. Make your mistakes in training rather than on the race day.”

“On the day itself there’s not much more you can do - your prep has been done over the last few months,” says Alan Williams. “Try to relax and enjoy the occasion. Don’t eat a huge breakfast. Look for high carbs and some protein. An energy bar or banana are useful pre-race too. Ensure a good warm up and you’re good to go! Above all, enjoy it. It’s a massive achievement and one to look back on for the rest of your life!”

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