25 May 2022

DUNDALK RUNNING: You don’t need to run marathons to want to get into running

Niall Fergus

DUNDALK RUNNING: You don’t need to run marathons to want to get into running

I have a pet hate. Lots of people I know say that this is why they took up running. They did it to run a marathon.

That’s okay, lot of people do this, but the way they go about it is another thing. So here is what people do in the New Year; they have it on a bucket list to do a marathon and now its January and some of these people would not be runners, but they just leap into the sport.

I would not advise anyone to go and say 'I want to do a marathon, therefore I will do it by say the end of October and sign up for the Dublin Marathon'. This is not how to do something like this, especially if you are new to the sport. One needs to build up training first. A good coach of mine, told me that the right time to do a marathon is after three years of running and being comfortable with it.

Another point from my own personal experience is that if I get introduced to someone new, maybe at work, or a friend and I’m having a chat with them and then I could say 'I’m a runner and I love to run'. Straight away 9 times out of 10 if they don’t know much about running they will say 'Have you ran a marathon?' and I will say 'No not yet'. In their head I know they are thinking 'he is not a runner', but in running there are so many different distances. There's 100 meters, 200 metres, 5km or 10km etc. Now, believe it or not, I am now six years running and I have not completed a marathon or even a half marathon. However this year I will do the Edinburgh half marathon in May to see what it’s like.

I believe the way to do the sport is the way the professionals do it. Lets take Mo Farah, many of you will know the British athlete runner. What he has done and many do, is conquer each distance one by one until you can go no faster in that distance. Let’s take Mo from 2012 Olympics when he started to become big. I watched the 2012 Olympics and Mo Farah inspired me to take up running and I did in 2013. He ran the 5000 metre (5k), which is 12 and half laps around the track, with each lap 400 metres. He succeeded at 5k and then he did the 10k and won that too.

He was a double Olympic champion and it was held in his home city of London in 2012. Then in 2016 he won the 5k and 10km again at the Olympics in Rio Brazil. Then Mo started to look at other events in 2017, like the half marathons. He competed in the World 5k and 10k. But his training started to change and he started to look more at half marathons and marathons in 2017 and again in 2018. Then in 2018 he completed in his first big marathon in London and completed it in a time of 2 hours, 6 minutes and 22 seconds and he beat the British record and I witnessed it (I went over to watch Mo Farah in London picture above right).

I feel very strongly on this matter - one does not jump into a marathon with just 10 months of training. Do it the way Mo Farah did it - do a 5km, be happy with your time, conquer it, try for two or three years, then when you get around the 18 minute mark, start to concentrate on the 10k and next, after that, the half marathon and in a few years then you will be ready to conquer the marathon.

Here are some tips for beginners:

1. Don’t worry about your watch and your times all the time, you will get better times. It might be a year before they get better. Sometimes in a race don’t wear your watch and you may run better. People can get obsessed with their watch and their times.

2. Go and get a good pair of runners. Go to a good sports shop and get your foot assessed and see which runners suit you best.

3. Also, I think this tip is important - if you're finding it hard to get out in the morning because its dark and you want to stay in bed, then the night before, have all your running stuff laid out ready to go: your runners, your t-shirt, trousers, hat etc. and you are already getting your mind prepared before the run and the old saying of “Fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.”

4. Also, last one for any walkers out there; there is an new initiative at Muirhevnamor Community Sports Centre. Meet up at 10.30am every Saturday at the centre and walk 4.5km around the park at 11, but, make sure to come at 10.30am to register. Also there will be a Fr. John Mulligan 5km Fun run/walk on again this year, this can be used in preparation for it (date to be confirmed for the 5k) and other runs or walks.

Contact Conor Gorham 087 1721650 or for more information.

There are boot camps in Muirheavnamor Sports Centre too.

There's lots going on there that many don’t know about.

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.