#DreamRunDublin18 – 8 weeks to race day! We catch up with Conor Hogarth as part of a special feature…

#DreamRunDublin18 – 8 weeks until the race day – Interview with Conor Hogarth:

There is just over 8 weeks until one of the biggest races on the European race calendar, an epic race in terms of interest from the Northern Ireland running fraternity – 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 #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.

Based on the popularity of the athlete profiles in 2017, we decided to bring them back this year.  Each week we will feature one athlete, then on the final two weeks, we’ll publish two interviews per week.

We’ll feature all athletes and ask them questions about the project, their training and their hopes and expectations going forward.

Up first is Conor Hogarth – let’s see how Conor is getting on!

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

Training has been going great, a lot better than I thought! With running, and especially marathon training, it can be really tough and sometimes quite tedious but I’ve found myself really enjoying the training under Paul each week.

I have definitely been feeling the benefits of the miles and hard work that have been put in up until now and hopefully that continues into the final weeks. My one major worry with the amount of mileage put in was picking up injuries but thankfully there’s been nothing but the odd niggle (touch wood!).

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

One major change has probably been the structure of training. We get sent our weekly plans on the Sunday so we know what to expect with the week ahead. This really helps with juggling work and other daily activities! As well as this, the weekly mileage has also increased from what I was used to and busting out 45 to 50+ plus miles a week now just seems like the norm!

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?

Before starting the training for #DreamRunDublin18 I had a tiny bit of confidence that I could run sub 3, with my current pb being 3.07. This has only grown and without sounding over confident, I have a good bit of belief in myself that I can achieve this come the end of October.

However there have been times during the training I’ve doubted myself that I could achieve this. We all have sessions that won’t go as we hope and that’s when the doubt starts to kick in but thankfully there’s been a lot more positives than negatives.

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

Highlight for me would definitely have to be Lisburn 10k in June. I managed to run 35.58 which was a minute and a half PB. That was after about a month and a half of the programme so it gave me a great deal of confidence going forward and confirmed that Paul definitely knew what he was on about lol.

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

It would probably be the Tuesday session that consisted of 2 mile @ 6.20. 3 minutes recovery 5x1k/90 seconds off. 3 minutes recovery 2 mile @ 6.20. I can remember it was a session I was dreading all day in work then, when it came to it, I felt great. It really made me feel good about how much I’ve progressed and as well it was a week or so after a DNF at the South Dublin 10k so it definitely lifted the mood after that.

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

Next race is the Belfast Half Marathon on the 23rd September 2018 which is actually the last race before the big day. I’m really looking forward to this as I think it’ll be a really good indicator as to where I’m at for the marathon, which is just over a month later.

As well, I ran this race last year and really enjoyed it, the route is kind and the people of Belfast are great! In terms of expectations I would be happy with a PB whether it’s a one second or one minute PB. I think the main priority is just to feel good during it as this would really boost the confidence going into the marathon.

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

Being part of the team has been great! Right from the start everyone has got on really well and there’s been plenty of laughs. There’s always a great atmosphere at group training days and plenty of encouragement throughout the group to help each other through as, at the end of the day, we’re all working towards the same goal!

I think as well we’ve all been learning from each other, not only just Paul but everyone has their own experiences with running and it’s been great to hear. I’ve been really thankful for the opportunity to be picked as part of the #DreamRunDublin18 group and both Paul and Ryan have been amazing in all they’ve done for us so massive thank you to the both of them!

What the coach thinks:

Conor is the youngest member of this year’s #DreamRunDublin18 group. However, what he lacks in experience and age, he more than makes up for with talent. With a marathon best of 3.07.08, he currently has the fastest marathon time of anyone in the group.

As a coach, his progression since the start of the project has been fantastic to watch. He simply gets the head down and hits the splits in training, without any fuss. Perhaps it is his age, but he has been fortunate to have not picked up a single niggle since the start of the project.

As a result, he has built an extremely strong base, and already the rewards of this are coming through in his marathon specific training and long runs. If his consistency continues, as I hope it will, there is no question that he is tracking towards a sub 3 hour marathon.