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Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 19 November, 2017
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It's still not too late to begin training for the 2017 Dublin City Marathon!

We’re just under 16 weeks out from the big event and if you start now, you can make it to the start line.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

TWO WEEKS AGO, we brought you the first of our fortnightly blogs, as we gear up for the 2017 Dublin City marathon. 

So far, I’m on track with this 18-week plan, but currently a day behind.

It’s been a hectic weekend of work, with those big hurling clashes in Thurles, and that’s left me playing catch-up.

So, this evening, I’m off out to complete week 2, with a 7-mile run on the cards.

The lads at Sports Physio Ireland were really good to me a fortnight ago, taking some measurements and recommending areas for improvement.

They highlighted some areas I could work on, and so before each run, I stretch well, and work on calf-raise exercises, to help keep a flared Achilles at bay, a problem that I’ve found can hamper my running.

Incidentally, get in touch with the lads at Sports Physio Ireland if you’re experiencing any injury problems during your training.

Here’s a quick visual of what I’ve done in the last two weeks, with tonight’s 7-mile run still to complete:

It’s steady pace stuff, 9.5/10 minute mile pace, with the 6-miler coming in just under an hour.

That pace will need to increase if I’m to hit my goal of coming in under 4 hours, though.

You need to be running an average of just over 9 minutes per mile to hit that target, and for a pretty average runner like myself, that’s not simple over 26.2 miles.

I’ve managed it once before, in New York in 2010, as you can see below:

Trying to repeat that, seven years later and now the wrong side of 40, will be a huge challenge, and this is where the cross-training I discussed in the first blog can help.

But so far, I haven’t really practiced what I preached. Bar walking the dogs, there’s been no real cross-training at all, in fact.

Cycling is brilliant and so, if you have a bike, get out for 40-45 minutes on the weekend, just to mix it up a bit.

Running long distances four times a week will take it out of you, and it’s important to mix things up.

So, how have I been so far? I’ve found it tough, I won’t lie.

I’m the type that runs in the summer, gets fit but then lets it go during the winter months.

And so, when the trousers start to feel a little tighter around April or May each year, it’s time to get back on the road again.

Of course, the right thing to do would be to train through the winter, when running is actually more enjoyable.

It’s cooler then and I find running in hot weather quite a challenge.

There have been a few moments, even in the first couple of weeks, where I’ve questioned why on earth I’m planning a seventh marathon.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

But that’s part of trying to get fit again. I’ve been here before and I know how good that feeling is when you start to punch in the shorter runs with relative ease.

Right now, they’re tough enough but even two weeks in, I’ve found my fitness levels have already increased.

Put it this way, if you’ve started yourself, I’m sure you’re noticing that the most recent three-mile run you completed was easier than the first one? That stands to reason, as long as you’re following the plan, but it’s reassuring, nonetheless.

My diet’s been better too. I’d be one for the crisps with a sandwich at lunchtime but I’ll opt for soup instead now. Bit by bit, and trust me on this, all of those little things will add up to the package that will hopefully take you over that 42km course in October.

The next two weeks of training will see you take a significant jump forward again.

You’re dropping down to a 5-mile ‘long run’ this weekend, which is lovely, but moves up to 9 miles on the following weekend.

Don’t be daunted by that. Just focus on what you’ve to do today and if, unlike me, you’ve been following that 18-week plan, you can rest up.

Your next two weeks look like this:

Week 3

Today off
Tuesday 3 miles 
Wednesday 4 miles 
Thursday 3 miles 
Friday off 
Saturday 5 miles 
Sunday cross 

Week 4

Monday off
Tuesday 3 miles 
Wednesday 4 miles 
Thursday 3 miles 
Friday off 
Saturday 9 miles 
Sunday cross 

That’s not bad, considering what you’ve already done.

And please resist the temptation to look ahead to what’s coming down the tracks in the weeks to come. It’s a step by step, day by day approach, and will get you ready for what’s coming.

By the time you head into the high mileage, you’ll be ready for it, I can assure you.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Just make you’re that you’re ticking the boxes along the way and if you didn’t start that 18-week plan, and you’re still contemplating running the marathon, you still have time!

I confirmed my entry for the race today and we’re 16 weeks out.

Here’s a good 16-week plan. It gives you three rest days per week but in your 11th week, you’re hitting 20 miles.

Again, don’t be put off by that. If you’re going to tackle that 16-week plan, start tomorrow with 3 miles, and go from there.

In two weeks’ time, I’ll check back with you here again, and Joey Boland will have some tips for you to take on board to help with your preparations.

In the meantime, eat well, hydrate, rest and run!

If you have any queries, feel free to leave them in the comments section below….

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

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