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The Week before Dublin Marathon...

Oct 23, 2023

It’s the time when all the doubts, nerves and phantom injuries all hit you with a bang. 

  • It’s ages since my last long run – I have lost my fitness ?
  • What if my alarm doesn’t work on race morning  ?
  • What is that pain I have in my knee ?

Does this sound like you? If so, don’t panic – you are normal.

It's also the week when there is a lot of focus on the Radio/TV and social media about the marathon. All your well meaning friends (who are not even runners) will start asking you about your training (and maybe even offer up their advice!) 

It's so easy to get overwhelmed with the load of confilicting information and start to wonder if you have done enough. But you cant change the past now - all you can do this week is set yourself up for success by getting prepared and staying positive. 

Top 10 things to do on Marathon Week 

1. Review your Training Log

Look back over all you have achieved in the last few months. Remember all the obstacles you have overcome. Think of all the runs you didn’t think you would do – but you did. You have trained well for the marathon, stop doubting yourself. Trust the Training.

2. Plan your food for the week

Think about everything you will need for the weekend race. Write out a list of the breakfast food, the race food, the pre race dinner food, everything you need to get into your kitchen before the weekend. Remember hydration early in the week too. Dont leave it til the race morning.

3. Create a checklist of everything you need on race day

Avoid the anxiety of thinking you have forgotten something. Take 20 mins to write down everything you need to bring with you on marathon day. Make a list, review it each day, and ensure you have everything you need.

4. Visualise your race

Train like an elite athlete and use this week to get your head in the race zone. Picture your race morning, your starting pace, your route along the marathon course and your finish line smile. Repeat this daily until your actually believe you can do it.

5. Organise your Supporters

Nothing beats the buzz of a meeting a friend or family member along the route jumping up and down cheering you on. Nothing is worse than missing them when you get distracted for a few seconds . Arrange in advance where to meet them and what they will have with them. (see below for lots of links for supporters). 

5. Watch Inspirational Marathon Videos

There are lots of motivational videos on YouTube. You only need to search for ‘Marathon Motivation’ and you have an evenings worth of entertainment ahead. One of my favourites is Spirit of the Marathon movie. The more recent Brittney Runs a Marathon (which is now on Netflix)  will pass an evening this week nicely too. 

6. Sleep and Rest

Get good sleep early in the week. Even if you are nervous at the weekend and struggle to sleep then, you will have banked good quality sleep from early in the week and you will be fine on race day.

7. Foam Roll / Massage

Loosen out any niggles and tightness by hopping on your foam roller for 10 minutes each day. If you can, schedule yourself in for a sports massage mid-week. Do all those gentle stretches that you always promised yourself you would do but never quite made the time for. 

8. Get your name printed on your Tshirt

Yes, I know it sounds a bit cheesy but trust me, it is one of the single best things you can do. As people cheer your name along the route, it will motivate and encourage you all the way along.

9. Work out your race strategy

Do you know what pace you are going to start at ? At what mile will you take your first gel/drink ? Are you going to take walk breaks ? What is your pacing strategy ? Plan out your mile by mile race pace and fueling. Mile 14 is not the time to decide you have run the first 13 miles too fast.

10. Keep your runs short and sweet

You wont get any fitter this week. A couple of easy 5ks is the most you should run this week. Take the time to focus on all other aspects of your training – mental training, checklists, logistics. Your legs have done their job. Give them a break for this week. They will be busy again on Race Day.

I wrote this article 10 years ago!!  (way back in 2013). The advice still remains the same. Keep things simple. 


Read more about Dublin Marathon week : 

Since I first started coaching runners to take part in Dublin Marathon way back in 2010, I have written A LOT! Those of you who are part of my Dublin Marathon coaching programme this year have 18 weeks of coaching videos, tips and support now behind you. You are ready for race day. 

But if you not part of that gang, you can get lots of tips in my book called Get Running. Go to Chapter 9 for marathon running (but start by reading page 198-200, my 2 favourite pages in the book). 

But if you need the tips right now, here are some more more blogs and articles I've written over the last 15 years in The Irish Times and elsewhere... 

For Supporters : 

For runners : To be honest, your work is done, its mainly down to practicalities now. But you could read this : 


Always remember that as soon as you are running the nerves will disappear! Keep an eye out for us on the sidelines and give us a shout! 


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