The training is finished. I did my last run this morning – a light 1-mile trot around the local park.
I’ve got my gear prepared too, including my race number pinned to my running top, the same one I’ve worn on all my long runs and short races since July.
I’m ready for the 2014 Dublin Marathon.
The all-important weather forecast sounds favourable: dry, overcast and mild, with temperatures in the low teens. Today in Dublin there was a strong wind from the south-west, but apparently that will have eased a little by tomorrow morning – and a south-westerly breeze will help runners going up the drag of Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park and along the last few miles into the city-centre finish.
The more races you do regularly, the easier your pre-marathon prep. You find you don’t need to bring your full wardrobe and bathroom cabinet – just the essentials like Vaseline, Sudocreme, plasters and some soft post-race clothes.
Apart from yesterday’s brief visit to the marathon expo and this morning’s one-mile loosener, I’ve spent this weekend resting up as much as I can. I got two good nights of sleep and a couple of naps too, so whatever sleep I get tonight will be a bonus.
This will be my fifth Dublin Marathon and my fourth in a row, so by now I have a fairly settled pre-race routine. I’ll get up at the usual hour, have my regular pre-race and pre-long-run breakfast, and leave home at the same time as previous years. I have a particular pre-race spot where I like to spend some time staying warm and getting ready.
Then when the moment arrives I’ll head to the start area to drop off my bag, do my warm-up and slip into my home-made bin-liner poncho to keep warm as I wait for the gun. I’ll be in the right wave and I’ll use the pacers as a guide to where I’ll place myself in the start area – a good rule of thumb is to stand in the start area in the place where you expect to finish.
For example, if you’re aiming to run just under 3:15 you would stand roughly halfway between the 3:10 and 3:20 pacers. (The Dublin Marathon has its pacers in 10-minute intervals.) This will help you go off at the right pace – as long as this is the pace for which you have trained. You can’t fool your training.
It’s hard to relax tonight when adrenaline is surging through every cell and fibre. I just have to avoid any unnecessary activity and fuss.
I’ve trained well, I’ll do my best and I’ll try to enjoy my Dublin Marathon experience. And so will you.
See you at the finish.