#DreamRunDublin17 – 3 weeks to race day! We chat to Paul Gorman about his journey towards Dublin Marathon 2017!

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Special Feature:  #DreamRunDublin17 countdown to race day!

This coming weekend will mark the 3 week countdown to one of the biggest races on the European race calendar, an epic race in terms of Northern Ireland participation – that is of course the SSE Dublin City Marathon, which incorporates the AAI National Marathon Championships.

You’ll hopefully have been keeping up to date with the #DreamRunDublin17 project which we are involved in within Rio Olympian Paul Pollock? Paul is taking his first steps into coaching and has chosen a group of 10 athletes who he will help towards a sub 3-hour finish at the Dublin Marathon.

We decided – 10 weeks to go, 10 athletes in the group… so we’ll feature one athlete each week and ask them questions about the project, their training and their hopes and expectations going forward.

Our interviews so far have proved popular – they have provided an excellent insight into how the athletes have progressed; their open and honest answers have also allowed us to experience the up and downs which have occurred throughout the process.  There has been a mixture of fantastic news and positive stories, and of course not avoiding the disappointment of losing two athletes through injury.

This week, we have the pleasure of chatting to Paul Gorman from Albertville Harriers.

How do you feel training has been going since you joined the #DreamRunDublin17 team?

Overall training has being going well. As I joined the team after the initial kick off, I felt I was playing catch up with the others. There has been great sessions and some poor sessions but as I said overall I have been hitting the paces that have been set for me. The last few weeks has been slightly disrupted with a niggly injury but hopefully we have the major part of the training completed and the fitness is there to complete the goal.

How has your training changed since joining the #DreamRunDublin17 team?

Actually, the structure within the week is pretty similar to the local clubs that I am attached with (Albertville Harriers) with main session on Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays. What is different is that he all sessions are tailored for me individually. Also the key difference as was said before is the intensity, the long slow run on Sundays are now long fast runs (Well for me anyway!).

The focus is of course on getting that sub 3 hour finish time at the Dublin Marathon 2017, do you believe you can achieve this? Have things progressed the way you’d hoped?

Apart from the last few weeks I progress has been great. I have new PBs in all the new key distance 5k. 10k, 10m and HM. So, this would point that I am capable of reaching the goal. My marathon PB is 3:12 which is a big chunk of time to find. Although I ran a new PB in the Belfast Half I was expecting a better time so for my chances are more 50/50 of achieving the goal than a certainty. Having ran the Dublin Marathon last year I know the feeling of running down Merrion Square, it was fantastic and it would be very special to arrive there in Oct 29th reaching that magical goal. Trust me I will be giving it everything I have on the day!

What has been your highlight in terms of your own personal favourite performance since joining the #DreamRunDublin17 team?

All the races have been great but either Fingal 10k or Frank Duffy 10m race were the two that stand out. Both races were superbly organised by the Dublin series team and were great events. In both races I ran significant PB and hitting under 38 mins for a 10k was just fantastic! As a recent addition to running to go from running/walking a parkrun in 27mns to running sub 38 10k just shows what is possible if you put your focus on a target. What is more I think I will improve this time in the future!

What has been your favourite training session since commencing training with the Paul Pollock and the #DreamRunDublin17 team?

I can honestly say I have enjoyed all the sessions that Paul has set. The one that really stands out is the 20 x 400s with each 5 x 400 getting 2secs quicker. I actually was on holiday when I got to do this one – so you can imagine the Spanish were wondering who this blanket white, ginger bearded and by the end topless guy was doing by @ 6.30am running up and down the sea front. Trust me by the end I thought I my lungs were going to explode. But it was one of those session that you felt a great sense of achievement at the end and was enjoyable. As I said all the training sessions have been good so much so that my club mates have joined me on many of the sessions. Thus fulfilling one of Pauls objectives of the team transferring our learning into our clubs.

Have you got any races coming up? What are your expectations for these?

The only race left is the big one on 29th Oct.  #23days.  I should definitely PB but hoping to hit the main goal.

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

The team has been great.  Fortunately, I am based in Belfast so have been able to meet up with most on our long Sundays runs. The craic is great but don’t be fooled there is clearly a competitive edge to the group especially now as we are getting closer to the A race. Some are more boisterous than others but overall we have formed friendships that will last. I will take this opportunity to wish all entrants for Dublin and all upcoming marathon to wish all good luck on their targets but special good wishes to all the DreamRun Team. I am sure we will all do Paul P proud!

As like the others, I would like to thank Paul Pollock and Ryan Maxwell for their time. I do first hand that Paul P is a very patient person as he had to listen to copious amounts of crap on our whatsapp group! So again, thanks to both for sharing your knowledge and hopefully we can all reward your efforts with PBs on the day.

What does the coach say!? … enter Paul Pollock:

Paul was a late call up to the Dream Run project, having been a replacement for Liosa, who unfortunately had to withdraw due to her pregnancy. Despite starting four weeks late, Paul’s baseline level of fitness was such that he quickly adapted to the group’s routine of training. He has progressed steadily throughout the project, setting a number of personal bests in the process.

Paul is a dedicated and enthusiastic runner. The biggest challenge that I have had is trying to keep the reins on him and instill a level of patience in his training. At the start of the project, like many runners, he wanted to keep pushing to the limit on every tempo run and in every session. I am hopeful that he has now learnt that there is a smarter way to train.

A sub 3 hour marathon is currently a very realistic goal and well within his capabilities. Up until two weeks ago, he was fortunate to have not picked up any niggles or missed any days training since joining the project. Frustratingly however, over the past fortnight he has been dealing with a small hamstring tear. With still over three weeks until race day, I am hopeful and confident that it will heal up quickly.

Thanks to the hard work that he put in at the start of this project, he now only has to concentrate on getting to the start line healthy, and his fitness should come through. With a sensible approach and careful monitoring of his hamstring injury over the next three weeks, he is another Dream Run athlete I expect to markedly improve upon his marathon best time, which currently stands at 3:12:17.