As race day approaches DreamRun Dublin coach Paul Pollock introduces us to the team. Today we meet Martin McKenna.

Age: 40

Club: The Running Boys

Current marathon pb: 3hrs 19mins Belfast 2019

How do you feel training has been going since you joined the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

Training has been going well, I have picked up a few niggles along the way but I think most of us have and it’s to be expected given the volume of training we have been doing.

How has your training changed since joining the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

The volume of training I have done has increased since joining the team and each run is for a reason. For example our long runs are set at a specific pace and Paul asks us to try and maintain this steady pace throughout so when it comes to the marathon we try and maintain a steady pace throughout. I have been made much more aware of the importance of rest days and easy runs in terms of allowing your body time to recover.

The focus is of course on getting that sub 3 hour finish time at the Dublin Marathon 2019, do you believe you can achieve this? Have things progressed the way you’d hoped?

I have had mixed feelings throughout my training plan with regards to achieving the sub 3 target. I have managed to get 5k, 10k and 1⁄2 marathon times which have given me confidence that I have the ability to do it but during the periods where I’ve been injured the doubts have crept in.

The progression has been steady a lot of our early work was concentrating on building speed and then we have moved on to improving our endurance while maintaining a level of speed throughout.

What has been your highlight in terms of your own personal favourite performance since joining the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

The KBC South Dublin 10k and Lisburn 10k were two races where I felt my training really come into effect. I ran steady races and finished both very strongly with 2 PB’s which set me up nicely for the next stage of training.

What has been your favourite training session since commencing training with Paul Pollock and the #DreamRunDublin19 team?

I have enjoyed quite a few of the sessions Paul has set but one of the most challenging would be his progression runs of anything from 6-10miles building the pace up every couple of miles to finish with 2 strong fast miles. A tough work out but one that is very rewarding.

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

Being part of the team has been brilliant. The encouragement from the other guys in the group messages has been fantastic. A few of us may be at different stages in our training but we are all going through the same ups and downs and are experiencing the same highs and lows. As we get closer to race day we tend to meet up and do some sessions together as a bit of company can make a big difference.

What the coach thinks:

After an excellent initial training block to start the project, Martin picked up an injury in early July. Unfortunately, the niggle dragged on for a number of weeks, with a number of false training restarts. At that time, the consistency required in training for a marathon personal best was quite simply, not possible. Thankfully, he has managed to turn a corner with training and the body has held together for the past number of weeks.

Martin’s ability has never been the issue. Staying healthy and injury free has been the main concern. With a recent half marathon personal best of 1.25, running a sub 3 hour marathon time is becoming much more of a realistic target with every day that goes by.

If he has another 4 weeks, injury and trouble free, he will be standing on that startline, in shape to break 3 hours. At this stage, the short training time remaining is his major challenge, but one that I believe he has both the natural physical ability and mental aptitude to overcome.

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