As race day approaches DreamRun Dublin coach Paul Pollock introduces us to the team. Today we meet Adrian Bennett of Mourne Runners.

Age: 51 (52 on 30th Sep!)

Club: Mourne Runners

Current marathon pb: 3:29:18 (London 2018)

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

Really enjoying the structure and variety of the sessions. Every session has a specific target or purpose and as the weeks and months have ticked by I’m able to see a steady progression. Of course there have been a few injury niggles on the way, inevitable I guess at 50+ years of age the body takes a bit longer to recover.

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

It’s been a big step up in commitment, structure, and variety of training. Getting a weekly training plan through every Monday morning really focuses the mind on the week ahead. Previously I used generic training plans and tended to follow them quite “loosely” but DreamRunDublin is a much bigger commitment. Paul asks for every session to be sent through so there’s an added motivation here to perform each time. In the early days the biggest change and challenge for me was adjusting to running at a specific pace for tempo and interval sessions. On more than one occasion I completely messed up the session, often because of my inability to use my running watch ! If there was a “Garmin for Dummies” book I’d have bought it!

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?

When I was selected back in May, having just finished London Marathon in a PB of just under 3:30 I thought there’s absolutely no chance of getting below 3 hours. I’d say I’ve progressed further than I expected and I’ve been quite lucky with injuries, so with five weeks of training to go I think I’m still the wrong side of 3 hours but I’ll give it my best shot and see what happens.

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

I’d say the long 24 mile run a few weeks back. Although it wasn’t at sub 3 hour pace I was pleased to get this one done on plan and with no real stress. My wife came with me on the bike that day so maybe that’s the answer for Dublin! A close second would be the group meet up in July which involved Tempo runs and hill repeats. Just to be still standing after that brutal session was an achievement!

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

I was dreading the interval sessions in the first few weeks but as time went by these became my favourite sessions. One in particular being 8x1km with 60secs recovery. These sessions were tough but doable (usually) but always left me with a real sense of achievement afterwards. I’d never done anything like this type of training before joining the group so this was probably a factor too. Good to try new things.

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

Yes for sure! I don’t understand half the stuff that’s posted on the WhatsApp group chat but there’s a great bunch of personalities in the group. Although a lot of the training is done alone being part of the group and having Paul see all training sessions really helps motivate me to get the trainers (gutties?) on, get out there and give it my best shot. Seeing the progression of the others at our group meet ups and on race days is a real inspiration too! I feel very privileged to be part of #DreamRunDublin19.

Any other comments?

Good luck to everyone doing Dublin Marathon and finally, huge thanks to Paul for his support over the past months, it’s been a great experience, one I would strongly recommend to anyone thinking of #DreamRunDublin20.

What the coach thinks:

Coming in at an age of 51, Adrian has the unenviable title of being the oldest member of the group. However, it has been clear since the start of the project that Adrian sees his age as no barrier in accomplishing his goal of a sub 3hour marathon in Dublin. After a rocky start to the project, especially when it came to pacing his tempo runs, in the past month, Adrian’s training has really kicked on and moved up a notch. I would say he has gone from having an outside chance of breaking 3hours, to a place where, with another 4 weeks of training, we have every reason to believe that 3 hours is a very realistic goal. He is peaking precisely at the right time, and now, the focus is all about getting to the startline mentally ready to have the race that he deserves.

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