Runners Diary Week 1: How I’m Preparing to The Dublin City Marathon


I thought it would fun to document my training for the Dublin City Marathon in October. It could also become an interesting side-project too.

This will be my fourth attempt at the race, which takes place around the streets of Dublin this October. It’s also the fortieth anniversary of this race.

So what better place to fail than publicly?

Here’s where I’m at:

I ran the Leixlip 5k road race on Wednesday evening in 24m 30. That’s the fastest time I’ve managed in over a year. It helped that I tucked in behind the 25 minute pacer, an ultra-runner who eats a 5 minute per KM pace for breakfast.

Anyhow, I’m still pleased with it. Last year, I struggled with shin splints which I think were due in part to lousy runners.

Side note: is there a more pleasing way to procrastinate about training than worrying about having the right gear?

It’s a sign that CrossFit training has improved my fitness, as has the recent increase to my weekly mileage.

As much as I love it, I’m skeptical about being able to rely on CrossFit as a core part of a marathon or endurance training programme though. The two disciplines are distinct.

Still, it’s also a sign that my old times are within reach, if only I can get there without becoming emaciated and losing the strength I’ve spent the past while building.

On My VO2 Max

A few weeks ago, after an steady-pace 8 km run, my Garmin watch reported I’ve a new VO2 max of 50+.

I had to sit down when I saw the alert.

My watch predicted my races times at: 20.30 for a 5k, 43 for a 10k, 1h34 for a half and 3h19 for a marathon.

That’s superior for my age (38) according to online sources!

Common-sense tells me the watch is either widely optimistic or wilfully inaccurate.

I would die if I attempted those paces.

I feel like I’m fitter though. I’ve increased my milage and have kept to a CrossFit and strength training routine. We’ll see when I pick some short races and increase my miles if…

1. I finish with a decent time and

2. I avoid injury.

2 is a big one. In the past, I’ve struggled with shin splints, a dodgy knee and various ankle problems. Most of these injuries went away when I reduced my volume or eased off on hard sessions.

I’ve yet to meet the long-distance runner who doesn’t have an injury story.

Currently, my weekly volume is 30km supplemented by two strength training sessions. Previously, I’ve relied on volume alone to train for a long-distance event.

I’m neither a fast or graceful runner, so let’s see what impact strength training has on my progress to the finish line.

More next week.