October 24, 2017


My top tips for your Dublin marathon 2017

The 2017 Dublin marathon takes place this Sunday the 29th of October.With the change of day from bank holiday Monday to Sunday last year it has seen entries hit a sold out race capacity at 20,000 leaving Dublin now the fifth largest on the continent behind the likes of London, Berlin and Paris.

With less than 7 days to go I am sure at this stage you have dialed in a lot of the hard training for the big day.By now you really should have clocked in the miles,broken in the trainers and even perhaps have done a few of the Dublin marathon series with the lead up to the main event.

In this weeks Dublin marathon special series I am going to give you my top tips that will help you prepare for the final lead up along with my best advice for during and after the main event.I will share with you my top tips that helped me and a lot of my clients who have competed in many marathons and numerous other endurance events all around the world.

Lead up advice

The days leading up to the main event is important.Making your marathon debut can be a daunting task.I know that the days before hand is a time where you might be questioning yourself along with hoping everything will go according to plan.Am I ready?Hows the body feeling?Should I be carb loading?How much water should I be drinking?Should I run much this week?At this final stage for most people the excitement is building,the nerves are starting to becoming a little more real and generally speaking all you want to do now is just for the big day to appear so you can get out and run.

Are you ready?

Yes you are!You have prepared well for this and have paced yourself nicely for the lead up to the big day.You have done the long Sunday runs,the race series,recovery sessions,interval sessions,the tapering down and even some gym work.You are well equipped at this stage and ready to roll.

Hows the body feeling?Should you make any adjustments?

At this stage you more than likely have picked up a few niggles along the way-Thats normal and it really is all part of marathon training.My advice for the final lead up is to listen to the body and make the right choices with your training,nutrition and preparation.The final week is certainly not the week to cram in long distance or even make too many changes.My advice is to aim to get a 1-2 light runs in roughly Wednesday and Friday clocking in 2-4 miles per run.Generally speaking I would aim to try rest in and around the other days while getting in some light stretching.As for your nutrition now is not the time to start trying new things with your food.Go with what your body knows and what has worked the last few months.It’s good to increase your calories slightly before race day however you don’t need to get too carried away on carbohydrate loading or cycling.Yes, carbs and loading is important, but sometimes taking on too many carbs can lead to people feeling bloated on race day.Staying hydrated is going to be crucial.Make sure you are well hydrated and topped up with water and some other fluids.Anytime I do go out for long endurance events I will always have enough water the days before along with having access to drinks such as a lucozade or even a diarolyte to keep my body in check.However,there is no need to drink 4 litres+ the day before and another 2 litres+ the morning of the race.This will only lead to you feeling bloated and perhaps wont agree with the body too well.The goal for you is to keep it simple,consistent and topped up!

Make a list,visualise the course and do a dry run

Making out a list will keep everything in check along with keeping you focused and organised.The last thing you want to happen is to travel up from the country realising you left your running shoes at home.List down everything that you need.-Your race number,training gear,along with all the other smaller bits and bobs like your training gels,spare socks or even some vaseline that might come in handy on the day.With regards to your race day attire stick to what has been tried and trusted over the course of your training months.Get a map of the course and visualise parts of the run or even the final days before the marathon, do a two- or three-miler in your marathon day gear if you can.Getting to grips with parts of the course is crucial and its good to have an idea of what the course layout is like.-It might just be good to know where certains stations are located.Besides boosting your confidence, this run will provide one last little bit of conditioning and will help you lock in to race pace on marathon day.

The race itself 

My advice here is keep it simple and go with the plan you set out with-Your morning feed,your timetable,your warm up,race pace,your plan.The morning itself will be filled with lots of emotions,distractions and so on.Now is time to stay relaxed and focused but still enjoy it at the same time.

Stick to the plan and pace yourself

Give yourself plenty of time to find the right wave and start time on the day.Stick to the same warm up that has worked for you in the past.Now is not the time to change it up going with a group lead warm up performing movements that you really haven’t done before.Keep it simple and go through the motions of everything you have been doing to the build up for this big day.As soon as your off my advice here is to pace yourself.At any event I have taken part in I always see waves of people getting carried away going all out at the blocks.If you are doing a marathon distance you will know all about it at mile 15 if you do start too quick.My advice here is to stay calm and stick to your pace that you have planned for.If you start off too quick you are going to struggle a lot more and really enjoy the race.


Soak it all up (As much as you can)

Like I said earlier the day itself is full of emotions and excitement.There will be times you are going to feel great and times you will want the ground to swallow you up.You have been training hard for this day so go and enjoy it(You might just not do another event like this).Keep the head down at times when you have to grind it out but then sometimes when you have a wave of adrenaline and start to feel a little comfortable look up say hello and give that push to the others who also are taking part.The support on the day itself is great so make sure to give back energy to them when you can-Say hello,thank them and even cheer back to the other people who make this event just as special.Everybody from the public support,the aid stations,marshals to the volunteers are all important people who also make this event a great success.

Post marathon

Its a great feeling.Crossing that finish line is something perhaps you never thought you would experience throughout parts of the race.Your body will be sore and more than likely you are going to be feeling like you hit a wall at some point.Its all part of race day.Get that finish line photo with your medal and go enjoy the celebrations.

Dont get me wrong your body goes through a hell of a lot over the course of the day so it is very important to recover the right way.The hours and days after will be important for you to fuel your body with plenty of food and fluids.As for recovery my advice is to gradually do some light recovery drills such as a dip in the sea,a massage,stretching session, or even a cool down walk/jog.This will make everything that bit easier when it comes to getting back into training after a short break.

Most of all enjoy the day,have a laugh and don’t take it too serious.Let me take this opportunity to wish you the very best of luck on the big day and I hope all this advice has set you up the right way for the main event.Thanks for taking the time to read this article and If you felt it can help you or a friend feel free to tag,share or send it to someone you know who is doing the Dublin marathon this year.

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a message from the links below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.