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The time to start training for the 2017 Dublin City Marathon is NOW!

The event takes place in the capital on Sunday 29 October.

IN 18 WEEKS’ time, thousands of people in this country will be nursing aching muscles and struggling to perform some of the most basic human tasks, like walking down a stairs.

Why? Because they’ll have hopefully completed the 2017 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon. 

Last year, a record 19,500 entrants took part, compared to 16,000 in 2015.

It’s a special event and this year’s run will take place on Sunday 29 October, which gives you less than 18 weeks to get ready.

Fear not! There’s still plenty of time, even if you’re an inexperienced or novice runner who’s planning to tackle the 26.2 mile course.

I’ve run six marathons, with varying degrees of success.

In 2010, I ran the New York City marathon in 3 hours, 58 minutes and 2 seconds.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Three years later, when I returned, it was a more modest 4 hours and 38 minutes, and you can read about that experience by clicking here.

My last marathon was Dublin in 2014, when I recorded a time of 4:25:09.

It was tough, very tough, and I wondered would I ever run another one.

But, here’s the thing. There’s something about the prospect of running 42km without stopping that’s strangely appealing.

I probably vowed to myself that I’d never do it again but I’m back training for the last few weeks and October’s the goal.

I’ve decided to enlist some help to get me there. I’m 40 years of age now and the body’s creaking a little bit.

And so Dublin hurler Joey Boland from the Sports Physio Ireland has agreed to help me out along the way.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Over the coming weeks, I’ll let you know how training has gone, while Joey will be on hand to provide some expert tips.

If you’re contemplating getting involved yourself, and tackling the Dublin course, I’ve picked out an 18-week plan beginning tomorrow (yes, tomorrow!).

It takes you all the way from Tuesday 27 June to Sunday 29 October.

It’s the Hal Higdon novice 1 training plan, devised by Higdon himself and described as the most popular of his marathon training plans.

Before you begin, some things to consider:

  • runners – as in footwear. Asics are the most popular brand but it’s worth checking in with your local sports store for a foot analysis. The experts in the store can then fit you for the shoe that suits you best.
  • timer – you can wear a sports watch, for example I use a Garmin Forerunner 110 (but there are more advanced versions of the watch). Alternatively, download a handy app to your smartphone and bring that with you. Map my run is a popular choice and available as a free download for Android here and for the Iphone, here.
  • music – not for everybody, of course, but I find it difficult to run long distances without music. Use your phone or an iPod, whatever suits best.
  • health check – With the Higdon novice 1 programme, you’ll be running for a total of 15 miles, with cross-training on Sunday, in week 1 alone. So, it’s worth considering whether you’re healthy enough to commit to a plan that will see you 40 miles in week 15. Consult with your GP.
  • diet – Following the 80/20 rule of thumb for weight loss, another nice spin-off from marathon training, what you’re consuming is hugely important. There’s some good information contained in this link. 

For now, that’s pretty much all that you need to get you started.

It’s also more than useful to know a good physiotherapist or deep tissue massage expert to iron out the niggles that may crop up along the way.

Marathon training is tough but if you start now and follow a plan, 18 weeks is plenty of time to get race ready.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

If you have any specific questions or queries, feel free to leave them in the comments section below, or drop me a line on Twitter. You’ll find my profile here.

I’m aiming to post a fortnightly blog, every Monday, where we can review your progress and look to the week ahead.

For now, you’re concentrating on weeks 1 & 2 of the Hal Higdon plan, as follows:

Week 1

Tuesday – 3 mile run
Wednesday – 3 mile run
Thursday – 3 mile run
Friday – REST
Saturday – 6 mile run
SundayCross training (swimming/cycling/walking)

Week 2

Monday – REST
Tuesday - 3 mile run
Wednesday - 3 mile run
Thursday - 3 mile run
Friday - REST
Saturday - 7 mile run
Sunday - Cross training (swimming/cycling/walking)

Good luck and I’ll be back in a fortnight with a second blog, and tips from Joey.

In the meantime, check out The42‘s fitness vertical for more valuable training pointers.

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