#DreamRunDublin18 – 3 weeks to race day! We catch up with Philip McBride as part of our special feature…

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#DreamRunDublin18 – 3 weeks until the race day – Interview with Philip McBride:

You’ll hopefully have been keeping up to date with the #DreamRunDublin18 project, which we are involved in within Rio Olympian Paul Pollock? In the second edition of the Project, Paul has chosen a group of 10 athletes who he will help towards a sub 3-hour finish at the Dublin Marathon.

There is just 3 weeks until the SSE Dublin City Marathon, which incorporates the AAI National Marathon Championships.

In the run up to race day, we have been featuring all athletes, asking about the project, their training and their hopes and expectations going forward.

Following on from excellent interviews with Conor Hogarth, Tracey Atkinson, Adam Ferguson, Eamonn O’Reilly and Peter Thompson, we’ll now catch up with Philip McBride and see how he is getting on as part of the #DreamRunDublin18 team.

How do you feel training has been going since you joined the #DreamRunDublin18 team?

My training has totally been transformed. I was not a member of any running club nor had any running training so having a structure to it and specific goals was brilliant.

Also, in the last 6 months I have been diagnosed with optic neuropathy which has meant loss of my peripheral vision in both my eyes – this has made running slightly challenging to say the least!  I had lost a bit of focus and confidence so when I came across the #DreamRunDublin18 challenge I was pretty excited. I loved that moment getting the email from Paul saying I had been chosen.

The intensity of the sessions was also new. Previously I would have gone out and just sort of run – now when I run I am always aware of pace/speed – easy/hard – tempo etc. Having to run at near race speed for the sprint/tempo sessions made such a difference and gave me a belief as to what times and goals were realistic.

How has your training changed since joining the #DreamRunDublin18 team?

My week is structured now with speed, tempo, long run and easy sessions with 2 days off. You really value the 2 days off now to let the legs recover and get the body back. I have had to learn that a rest day means that and to enjoy it. Also trying to run easy has been challenging as it is very easy to want to keep pushing but Paul has put me in my box a couple of times for overstepping the mark.

The focus is of course on getting that sub 3 hour finish time at the Dublin Marathon 2018, do you believe you can achieve this? Have things progressed the way you’d hoped?

To be honest when I started the training I thought it was a real stretch. I am not the quickest and struggled the last time I did Dublin in 2015 when I posted a 3:58, albeit having to walk a bit of the way. When the training sessions started I was quite worried about how my body would cope and whether or not I was good enough to achieve the goal. Paul must have seen something in me.

The sessions each week have worked out better than I could have hoped. The first couple of months was really working on speeds and pace which I did struggle with. I more enjoyed the tempo run and longer runs. The first time I sort of thought this may be achievable was after the first 20 mile run a few weeks back. This gave me a lot of hope that I can do sub3. I have committed to the training the last 4/5 months and have only missed a couple of sessions due to family holiday/work commitments. I am going to give it a good crack.

What has been your highlight in terms of your own personal favourite performance since joining the #DreamRunDublin18 team?

I have posted PBs at 5k, 10k and at Belfast Half-Marathon posted a PB of nearly 4 minutes coming home in 1:24:19!  I had paced it perfectly and was then able to drop the last 3 miles down and bring it home strongly – this really gave me confidence heading towards Dublin.  Although the focus of the training is sub 3 at Dublin the intensity of the training has put us all in decent shape no matter what start line we turn up to.

What has been your favourite training session since commencing training with the Paul Pollock and the #DreamRunDublin18 team?

That’s a hard one – most of my training sessions during the working week have started at 5am so that is never nice. The first 20 mile run when we had to do 15 miles at 7.10 pace and then drop the last 5 miles to do 6.45 was kinda enjoyable. You are sort of running along trying to keep the pace and counting off the miles to number 15 and then bang you have to pick up and keep motoring for the next 5 miles. That was tough and 20 miles was a bit of unknown but I kept the pace and that gave me a real sense of achievement.

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

We have just completed Belfast Half-Marathon.  I was able to put all my hard training into a race environment.  Paul had given us the pace he wanted us to run at and I was able to do that for a change.

I am 100% focused on Dublin and getting under 3 hours – I just want to get to the start line fit and injury-free now.

After Dublin I am sure the foot will come off the gas and I may just enjoy a few leisurely parkruns, 10k’s and half marathons.

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

Yeah it is great having the other guys and girls helping and encouraging throughout the weeks and months. The WhatsApp group has been a great success with some nice banter along the way. It is always difficult meeting up with the others due to family/holiday/work commitments, but we have gone through some tough sessions together and hopefully made some friends for life.  It is always interesting to see how the others are getting on with some nice comments on Strava as well.

I’d also like to add..

I have loved every moment of the experience without a shadow of doubt. Some people think I have been crazy but when someone sets me a goal and a target I will commit to it 100%.

My family have been so supportive as well.  My wife and kids have often had to live their lives around my sessions for the last 5 months.

Paul has been great along the way – giving you a kick when you need a kick but also encouraging you to push harder and dig deeper.  He is a great athlete and now also a great coach.  He has opened my eyes to what is possible with hard work.  I am very grateful to him and Ryan at Ni Running for picking me and having belief in what they have seen.

What the Coach thinks…

Phil is the early bird of the group. While the rest of the team are waking up on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, Phil has already finished his session and completed his warm down.

It takes a certain level of dedication and motivation to keep the early starts going over a prolonged period, but Phil has never complained, nor has he let the quality of his runs dip.

At the age of 43, he has the unwanted stat of being the slowest member in the group, with a marathon personal best of 3:58. There is no doubt that he is on course to smash this time. He has the talent and currently the fitness required to break three hours.

Provided the next three weeks go smoothly, not only will he have a very good opportunity to run under three hours but he also has a very good chance of winning the #DreamRunDublin ‘most improved athlete’ award. After all the early mornings, he fully deserves to run well in Dublin.