#DreamRunDublin18 – 5 weeks to race day! We catch up with Eamonn O’Reilly as part of a special feature…

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#DreamRunDublin18 – 5 weeks until the race day – Interview with Eamonn O’Reilly:

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 over 5 weeks until the SSE Dublin City Marathon, which incorporates the AAI National Marathon Championships.

In the run up to race day, we’ll feature all athletes and ask them questions about the project, their training and their hopes and expectations going forward.

Following on from excellent interviews, Conor Hogarth, Tracey Atkinson and Adam Ferguson, we’ll now catch up with Eamonn O’Reilly 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?

Gruelling! The quality of the training has been much higher than I am used to, and it was quite a shock to the system. I think it took me about 8 weeks to get used to it! Plus, it felt daunting sending details of each session completed to an Olympian! However, Paul has been totally positive and supportive throughout and has come up with helpful solutions whenever I have raised any problems. As a result of the training sessions that Paul has set I feel much stronger now than I did at the start and this has really improved my confidence.

I also enjoy following a plan and knowing that every single training session has a particular objective.

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

My training is much more focussed now than it was before I started. Before I rarely included tempo runs in my schedule (or anything basically that was difficult). Most of my running was at a relatively easy pace with a weekly parkrun thrown in for good measure. Following Paul’s weekly plan has taken me out of my comfort zone and I hope to continue to incorporate elements of it in future.

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?

That was the reason why I signed-up for this project! However, I know that it all comes down to how I feel on the day and an element of luck. At my standard a sub-3 is not a given and I have to accept that it is possible that it may not happen. The training has told me that I am capable of doing a sub-3 if I am fit and healthy on the day. For me however, there are no shortcuts which means that there is a lot of hard work still to do and no guarantees of success at the end, but that’s the risk you take.

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

That’s easy as it has to be my personal best in the Killough 10k race in July 2018 which followed some great sessions and sound advice from Paul. I also think I would have improved my parkrun time in June 2018 but came down with a bug the day before so that wasn’t to be.

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

I am assuming that I cannot say “easy runs”! In the early days I was really daunted by the distances and pace Paul set for our weekly Tempo runs and I struggled quite a bit. Whilst I am not quite at the stage of loving them, I know that I have improved significantly and there have even been times when I enjoyed them (although that was usually when the session was over!)

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

Yes. Belfast Half Marathon this weekend! I am hoping to finish the race in and around 85 minutes. I am also hoping that the training to date will have prepared me to run comfortably under 90 minutes.

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

Yes. It’s good to know that I am not suffering alone when I’m in the middle of a particularly tough session! Seriously, though, it really helps to measure myself against others in the Group and to see how they are also progressing. That goes equally for when a training session does not go well and I’ve had my share of those days!

I’d like to add…

I also feel really impressed that Paul devotes so much time to offer his experience and advice to local runners to help them to fulfil their potential. Whether or not I achieve a sub-3 time in Dublin I have learned so much about my running this summer and am grateful to Paul. I also intend to take the key elements forward when this project comes to an end.

What the Coach thinks…

Eamonn may be the oldest member of this year’s group at 47, but he has the second fastest marathon time of 3:07:13 (marginally behind Conor’s 3:07:08). From a coaching perspective, I am absolutely delighted with how Eamonn has progressed. At the beginning of the project, I believe it is fair to say that Eamonn had several moments of self-doubt, that he had either the ability or the talent to get to the level of fitness that he is currently at.

Perhaps as a coach, I was pushing him too hard or too quickly. Having readjusted training though, he has continued to impress and markedly improve. He has come into good form just at the right time, and with only a few hard sessions left before race day, his confidence should be high too. There is no question that he is mentally tough and that, combined with where his fitness currently is, gives him a fantastic chance of breaking through the 3 hour mark.

First up though for Eamonn and a number of the group is this weekend’s Belfast and Dublin Half Marathons. Good luck to all competing and hopefully there will be a few more personal bests come Sunday night!