#DreamRunDublin17 – 9 weeks to race day! We catch up with Paul Curley as part of a special feature…

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Special Feature – #DreamRunDublin17 countdown:

There is just 9 weeks until 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.

Up first was Barry Reid (read Barry’s interview HERE) from Belfast, now it’s another man from the capital city, Paul Curley!  Let’s see how Paul is getting on!

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

I came into the programme after taking about three months off due to a hip injury I picked up at the Dublin Marathon last year. So, it was a bit like starting from scratch with training and the first few weeks were tough but once I got going, and got a bit of fitness back.  The training has just been getting better and better and tougher and tougher.

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

I feel I have to try and forget everything I think I know about marathon training and put my faith in the plan produced by Paul P.

The core of the training plan is similar to many plans I have used in previous marathon training i.e. Speed work, Tempo and Long Run. The difference is that the pace of these sessions have been worked out by Paul P and that has basically meant that these sessions have been at a quicker pace than I would have ever have thought of running. Especially when it comes to long runs. I don’t want to scare anybody who will apply for the #DreamRunDublin programme in the future but be prepared for a pretty intense training plan.

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?

I have run a few marathons and have ran pretty close with 3:03 in London last year, that run gave me the belief that I would break three hours, so I am going into the Dublin with the confidence that I can achieve that goal of sub 3 and hopefully well below 3hrs.

The training has been progressing well and we have had a couple of 10k races and a few 20 mile training runs which has boosted the confidence. Confidence was also boosted with a personal best at the Fingal 10k and I have the Belfast City Half Marathon coming up in the next few weeks so I’m hoping for another good result.

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

The group have raced a couple of 10k’s.  Lisburn was very hot and humid and everyone was slower than what we could have done and I think it maybe knocked Paul P a little bit too as the whole group seemed to be slower.

The next 10k was the Fingal 10k, which was a part of the Dublin Marathon race series. This was the complete opposite to Lisburn and the whole group did really well. I really enjoyed the Fingal 10k, the course is a nice fast course, and I ran a good race and got a PB. Although, like most runners after a race I think I could have went quicker.

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

I enjoy the real hard sessions and there was one a few weeks ago that was a progressive mile repeats that I really enjoyed. It was one of them sessions when you just have to give it everything on the last couple miles and that’s the kind of thing I like.

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

I have Belfast half marathon in the next few weeks, my PB for 13.1 mies is 1:22:30, and I would be hoping for a new PB.

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

I am lucky enough that I knew a couple of people from the group but I have really enjoyed meeting the other members. We have meet up on a few occasions and the craíc at these and on the WhatsApp group is brilliant.

I’m just the typical North Belfast lad and love a bit of slagging. I usually just like taking the piss with the rest of the group and I think they’ve twigged on that I don’t take things to seriously.

To finish, I just like to thank Paul P, Ryan at NiRunning and Dublin Marathon team for this opportunity and I hope for the best for the rest of the group and hopefully we can repay everyone with 10 sub 3’s in Dublin.

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

Paul C came into this project following a three month absence from running, due to a hip injury. He is the second fastest marathoner of the group, after Barry, with a marathon best of 3.03.40, set in London 2016.

However, he went on to complete the 2016 Dublin Marathon in a time of 3:24, a considerable distance off his best time. As a self-employed plumber, Paul C continues to surprise me by his ability to produce and finish high quality sessions by 8am in the morning. It takes a certain level of skill and dedication to be able to run hard at six o’clock in the morning but Paul C has done it continuously, without complaint, since the start of this project.

Having recently broken his 10k personal best at the Fingal 10k, running 37:17, his progress has been steady throughout the plan. He is rare amongst the DreamRun crew as having had no injuries or niggles since the start of the project. If he remains healthy for the next eight weeks, then he will have a very strong opportunity to break his marathon best time in Dublin.

We’ll catch up with another of the group next week!