#DreamRunDublin18 – 7 weeks to race day! We catch up with Tracey Atkinson as part of our special feature…

#DreamRunDublin18 – 7 weeks until the race day – Interview with Tracey Atkinson:

There is just over 7 weeks until one of the SSE Dublin City Marathon, which incorporates the AAI National Marathon Championships.

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.

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.

Tracey Atkinson will be competing in the World Masters Athletics Championships (currently ongoing in Malaga, Spain), so we thought this would be the perfect time to speak to the Albertville Harriers athlete and see how she is getting on as part of the #DreamRunDublin18 team.

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

The first 5 weeks I was totally fine, although it was hard going with the heat wave that we had.  As weeks go on, it does get tougher but I also feel fitter and somehow the body adapts.

This is my first time training for a marathon and I have jumped into the deep end. I have had a couple of ups and downs which was to be expected.

Lucky I haven’t been injured, I would be heartbroken if I couldn’t complete the project. 

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

The training is similar to training sessions in my club i.e., speed, tempo, long run.  Main difference being Speed. I now have more reps and faster speed sessions, faster and longer tempo and faster and longer long run. On Sunday evenings I sit biting the nails waiting for the phone to bleep, wondering what Paul has planned for the following week.

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?

I have to believe in myself, put doubt out of my mind or I’m defeated before I get to starting line!

I will be a bundle of nerves which I need to get rid off. So much goes through your mind, especially as this is my first marathon experience. How’s the body going to feel, will I hit a wall, you hear so much about marathons being an unpredictable race.

Yes I may not achieve my goal, but I have put in the hard work and just see what happens on the day. I can only but take deep breathes at the starting line and have some sort of running mantra to get me over that finish line in Sub 3.

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

With family commitments and a couple of niggles I haven’t had a chance to really put myself to the test.

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

Surprisingly, I loved my first 20 mile run. I didn’t know what to expect. The most miles I have ever ran was 15, once! It was tough as it wasn’t what I’m used to. I ran 15 comfortable and 5 mile pickup. Couldn’t believe I done it, I was absolutely buzzing!  It made me think, ‘Flip maybe I can do this’.

It’s funny but singing to myself helps keep the pace and a motivating song helps push me the last couple of miles (not the ‘Eye of the Tiger’ lol).

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

Last year I ran in the European Masters Championships in Denmark, so this year another new challenge, I thought I’d give the half marathon a go at The World Masters Championships in Malaga.  I can’t wait for the experience, meeting people from around the world, the atmosphere and the beautiful course along the coast.  Although it’s a race, I do enjoy the site seeing along the way. After all, when am I going to do this again?

As for expectations, well I thinks its survival. Of course I would love a PB, even better get on the podium either individually or as part of a team, but it’s going to be a hot one.

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

I love being part of a team. When we met up at Mary Peters to do a session, tough session, we had a good laugh and support each other along the way. It was fun experience, running one after the other like ants up and down the hill.  Liosa and I are outnumbered by the lads and there’s a couple of competitive menaces in the team, mentioning no names lol. It will be interesting to see if we can give them a run for their money on the big day!

I would like to say a big thank you to Paul and Ryan for giving me the opportunity to be part of the team.  I was shocked that I was picked and still can’t believe I am actually going to run the Dublin Marathon.  It’s definitely an experience I won’t forget.

What the Coach thinks:

Tracey is the only one of this year’s #DreamRunDublin18 group to have never attempted the marathon distance before. What some may view as a daunting prospect, it is clear that Tracey relishes the challenge that the marathon will bring.

From the very start of the project, she has been eager and determined, both of which have been reflected in her training. Despite a painful gardening injury in June, meaning that she had to miss the Lisburn 10k, her fitness has improved markedly.

Her next challenge is the World Masters half marathon race in Malaga this month, before switching her attention to the big day itself.  I believe the fact that she has never encountered ‘hitting the wall’ or the pain that the marathon can sometimes bring, stands to her advantage. There is no doubt that she is talented enough to break through the 3 hour barrier. Provided the next number of weeks go smoothly, she will be in with a very big shout of doing just that.