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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 23 March, 2018

Is it possible to run your first marathon with a month's preparation? I'm going to find out

The SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon takes place on 26 October – time to start training.

The training started in earnest in the USA during the summer.
The training started in earnest in the USA during the summer.

THE QUESTION I’VE been asking myself (and others) lately is whether or not it is wise, or even possible, to run a full marathon with just 31 days of preparation.

The resounding and definitive answer from all sources has been no. And that is why I want to try it.

I suppose a bit of background would be helpful: I’m a 22-year-old recent graduate from UCD and I work as a freelance sports journalist with The42. I am relatively fit; I don’t smoke but I do like the odd beer session and I am partial to rounds of jagerbombs when a night out has reached the point of no return.

I’ve always had a fervent passion for sport and have up until recent times played Sunday league football with my local club. I go for the (very) odd jog when I get the chance and the farthest distance I have ever run was a 10k race three years ago. I finished in what I thought was a pretty decent time of 41 minutes but a marathon is obviously a whole different kettle of fish.

Twenty-six miles is a long distance. As in almost 42 kilometres long. I have a lot of questions and only four weeks to answer them. I fear the boredom of running 26 miles just as much as I fear the effort of it. Should I listen to music? Should I count sheep? Should I stop for the odd Radcliffe number one on the side of the road?

I’ve caught myself googling motivational videos and have even used a race predictor to calculate what sort of time I’ll be looking at – three hours, 12 minutes and 28 seconds apparently. I’d be very happy with that time – my younger brother is convinced I won’t do it in under four hours and that is motivation enough for me. There’s a pint riding on it.

I spent the summer on a J1 in the States and my body can still feel the three months of processed meals. So there’s that. I’m aware I’m going to have to be eating certain types of foods over the next month but what should I be eating and not eating exactly? And what sort of training regimes should I be doing?

The SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon website doesn’t give me great confidence when they state on their training page “If you’re tackling a marathon, you will have trained hard for months to get in great shape and ready to line up at the start of those 26.2 miles.”

I haven’t trained hard for months but I’m hoping to be in shape come 26 October so I can successfully tick a marathon off the bucket list. They say marathons are addictive but I’m fairly sure the one will do.

Now where did I leave my runners?

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