Another week, another DreamRun Dublin update from coach Paul Pollock as now we approach two weeks to go until race day!

With less than ten days to go until the 2019 KBC Dublin Marathon, 22,500 people from across Ireland and further afield are beginning to get nervous.

For some, taper mode has long since started and all that is left is running the race itself. Others, however, will be wishing they had much more time available to try and squeeze in some essential, last minute training. But time waits for nobody. At 8.45am on Sunday 27th October, the gun will fire. Thousands of runners will begin their mission to complete their own personal goals.

For the Irish runners at the front, that goal will be to try and attain the Olympic qualification time of 2.11.30 / 2.29.30. For those further back, simply finishing will be an accomplishment in itself.

Wilson and Galway in the spotlight

Those readers who have been following FastRunning will know by now, that the DreamRun Dublin project runners have a special goal in mind. For the past twenty four weeks, under the training and coaching by Olympic marathoner Paul Pollock, ten Northern Irish runners have been targeting the KBC Dublin marathon.

Their aim is simple – to run quicker than they have ever run before and in doing so, break through the magical sub 3 hour barrier.

Over the past two weeks, we have already met four of the group. This week, the next two athletes in the hot seat are James Wilson and Ryan Galway. Read on below to find out their thoughts on the DreamRun project and their expectations of marathon raceday.

Name: James Wilson

Age: 39

Club: City of Lisburn AC

Current marathon PB: 3:16 (London 2017)

How do you feel training has been going since you joined the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

There have been great weeks, and tough weeks in the training, but I’m really positive about the training so far. You can’t run great every week, so after a few tired weeks, and a slight shin niggle, I feel significantly fitter than I have been at any time in the past, getting PBs in 5k, 10k and Half Marathon this year. I’m in a good place mentally and physically for the remainder of the training and the race.

How has your training changed since joining the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

My training is now a lot more regimental and intense with more variation in the types of training that I’m doing. I’ve also been told in the past that I use my Garmin too much… well, with Paul, there’s a new standard of usage now, but it’s really taught me to be consistent, especially on tempo runs. Having someone scrutinize your splits after every run has also taken a little getting used to – Paul is very honest, both when you hit your splits, and when you don’t!

The focus is of course on getting that sub 3 hour finish time at the Dublin Marathon 2019, do you believe you can achieve this? Have things progressed the way you’d hoped?

Up until June, I think my training was progressing exactly as I hoped it would, with my speed and endurance improving on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, in August, I was feeling very drained, and picked up a shin injury, which put doubts in my mind. In the latter stages of training, I don’t think I’ve progressed with my endurance as much as I’d have hoped, but I’m still hoping to do a good time if weather is favourable on the day!

What has been your highlight in terms of your own personal favourite performance since joining the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

Definitely, running Belfast Half Marathon this year. I was just coming back from my shin injury and recovering from a cold, so I wasn’t confident I could hit the times Paul was expecting, but I trusted in Paul’s guidance, sat at the designated paces for the first 10 miles, and then pushed on. I ran strong the whole run and felt I had more left to give, so I was very happy knocking over 3½ mins off my old half marathon PB.

What has been your favourite training session since commencing training with Paul Pollock and the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

Probably the Tempo runs. Not because I enjoy them – far from it. They were brutally hard in the summer when we had our warm weather spell, but they have given me confidence that I can run consistently at a quick pace. I think these sessions have really pushed me as an endurance runner and improved my stamina.

The atmosphere and camaraderie at the group training days and races is very clear – are you enjoying being part of the team?

Yeah, I do love being part of a group of likeminded runners who all have the same target in mind. There is also a great sense of team spirit if someone is struggling in a training session – words of encouragement are just a WhatsApp message away.

There’s also plenty of banter that gets sent through on the group chat, and it’s great craic when we all get together for the team meet-ups with Paul. I now have a wider group of running friends, and hopefully we can keep in touch after Dublin is done and dusted!

Any other comments?

I was equally delighted and surprised to be selected for #DreamRunDublin2019 – my wife was a little less delighted as she was expecting marathon training to finish, not start, after Belfast Marathon! I’m impressed with Paul’s patience. I know on a few runs, where I didn’t make the grade, he was positive and confident that the pace would come .

Paul sets high standards, and the training has definitely put me out of my comfort zone on many occasions! I think I’ve really made leaps and bounds in my own training through Paul’s coaching, and I know after it’s all finished, I’ll continue to apply everything I have learned to my training, and hopefully set some more PBs, so a big thanks to Paul for that!

I’ve also got a handful friends at City of Lisburn AC who are now asking about the process as they’re interested in getting their opportunity to break 3 under Paul’s guidance!

What the coach thinks:

James has been on quite a journey throughout this DreamRun project. He is undoubtedly talented and it is clear that he has the ability to run a sub three hour marathon. His recent 1.25 clocking at the Belfast half marathon has hopefully proven to James that he has a realistic chance of running well in Dublin.

However, over the past twenty four weeks, James has, at times and through no fault of his own, lacked the consistency required, having picked up various niggles, and most recently a bad bout of flu. Despite this, I believe that James can still run under the three hour mark. The recent flu has knocked his confidence, and understandably so, being so close to marathon race day.

James has to remember though, that he has done the majority of the hard work. He was already due a taper and recovery phase. It just happened to occur slightly earlier than expected. When his chest clears, which I fully expect it to do, he will have lost no fitness.

What is important now, is that he approaches the race in the right manner, full of confidence and ready to perform. James is there, he has done all the training and put in the effort required. Now it is time to prepare himself mentally, and if we can conquer that, then he will achieve what we both hope for on marathon raceday.

Name: Ryan Galway

Age: 30

Club: Springwell RC

Current marathon PB: 4:20 (Causeway Coast)

How do you feel training has been going since you joined the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

Having only started running regularly last September, I felt like I was just getting to a point of solid training before the project started in May. Since then, my training has really taken on a new level of quality and intensity, in a way I had not experienced before.

It was a baptism of fire with some of the sessions early on but feel I gradually grew into the routine and structure of our weeks and put in some solid sessions. Other than 2 quiet weeks whilst nursing discomfort in my knee, I have been able to string consistent training together which has been a big bonus.

How has your training changed since joining the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

Accountability and intensity are two words I would use to describe the change since the project started. I had only been introduced to sessions in November last year when I joined Springwell which gave me a good base to start the marathon training from.

The mileage has naturally increased with a focus on a marathon and the pace of long runs has certainly increased. One big indicator of progress has been how a 7 minute mile x 10 feels comfortable compared with a similar session before #DreamRunDublin19.

The focus is of course on getting that sub 3 hour finish time at the Dublin Marathon 2019, do you believe you can achieve this? Have things progressed the way you’d hoped?

It has been really important to keep this as the focus throughout otherwise lack of intensity could filter in. I do think I can achieve sub 3 in Dublin, the training results have shown this to be the case and now that I’m over the slight niggle, I am back to where I was previously.

The progression has exceeded my expectations with being so new to running, it has really strengthened my belief in good training = good results. It is a cliché but if you can control the controllable, you are in with a good chance.

What has been your highlight in terms of your own personal favourite performance since joining the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

Hitting the splits of a few brutal sessions have been very satisfying but in terms of performance, Belfast Half Marathon definitely is the highlight so far. To run sub 80 minutes was a massive progression and has given me a lot of confidence going into Dublin, without taking anything for granted.

What has been your favourite training session since commencing training with Paul Pollock and the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

None? Although it was seriously tough, I enjoyed the 3x5km session, albeit alone. 5k in 20, 5k flat out, 5k 2 mins slower than 2nd rep. I think I have benefitted massively from these sessions. The tempo session mixed with hills we did as a group was also a “favourite.”

The atmosphere and camaraderie at the group training days and races is very clear – are you enjoying being part of the team?

Although the vast majority of my training has been alone, it has been really encouraging having the group cheering you on and sharing in the highs and the lows. The craic has definitely increased as the weeks have gone on and it will be strange not having the “DreamRunDublin” WhatsApp group pinging a few times a day.

Any other comments?

A special note of thanks to Paul who has really pushed us and helped us all to see what is capable with serious training.

What the coach thinks:

There is no question that Ryan is currently the fittest athlete in the group. I think each of the other runners would agree. His potential was apparent from the very beginning of the project and with a recent sub 80 minute clocking over the half marathon distance, there is no question that he is good enough to break the three hour barrier next week.

The question, and chat that we still need to have, is how greedy can we afford to be. The DreamRun Dublin project record for the quickest time at the Dublin marathon, currently stands at 2.45.38, by Wesley McDowell from the 2018 group.

If Ryan has a good race, and paces himself correctly, he definitely has a chance to better that time, although it will undoubtedly be a challenge. Considering he has never run a marathon close to that sort of time before (his pb is currently 4.20), playing it safe early in the race is the more sensible approach. Either way, he is on course for a large personal best and after all the hard work and sacrifice that he has put in, he deserves every second.

Are you a fan of Fast Running? Then please support us and become a patron. For as little as the price of a monthly magazine you can support Fast Running – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.