With just a few days to go until the Dublin Marathon, we have been talking to some runners about why they are running the Dublin Marathon, as well as some questions about their running journey.
Next up is Declan Milne from Birr AC in County Offaly.
Hi Declan, tell us a little bit about yourself?
Living in Birr, Co Offaly. I’m a 48-year-old, married to Ann. We have four kids, Shane(12), Rory(11), Ruby(9) and Lucy(7). Self-employed we have a family business Milne Foods with 60 members of staff. We Prepared and supply Fresh and Prepared Fruit & Vegetables to the Catering, Manufacturing, Wholesale and Retail Industry throughout Ireland
Why are you running the Dublin marathon?
Dublin Marathon is one of the most unique marathons in the world. The support from the crowd around the course is deafening, The atmosphere is its most powerful drawing point. As a child watching it on TV I was always amazed at the runners how could somebody run that far ? and like most ruining the Dublin Marathon I’m searching for that possible PB!.
Can you remember the moment when you decided to run your first marathon?
I decided to run my first marathon back in January 2018. Before that I was doing quite a lot of cycling with the local cycling club. I completed a 5K road race in August 2017. Organised by Birr Ac. A few of the members asked me after the run to come up to the club and I suppose between August. And October It took me a while to get organised and go up to the Club, but I decided in January 2018 that I was going to commit myself to completing a marathon within my first year. Having a good fitness base, I thought this was quite achievable.
Have you run many marathons before? Have you any run this year, or planned for next year?
I’ve run eight marathons in total since 2018.
Dublin twice 2018, 2019. Dublin Virtual 2020. Clare Burren Maraton in 2019. Kinvara in 2020. Two self organised Marthons during Lock Down one with in the 2km Radius allowed at the time ! and this year in March (2022) a group of us from Birr AC ran our first international Marathon competing in the Rome Marathon, which was amazing and a great experience to run through such an amazing city with landmarks all around the course starting at the iconic Colosseum on the Fori Imperiali, passing Vittoriano, in Piazza Venezia, Circo Massimo, Lungotevere, Castel Sant’Angelo, viale della Conciliazione, St. Peter’s Basilica to name a few!
How did you get into running?
I was fairly fit as a teenager playing sports and like so many but stopped during my twenty’s and Thirty’s. in 2016 I decided to take up cycling with a local cycling club and really started to enjoy the whole experience getting fitter, stronger, loosing a few pounds! In August 2018 I took part the the annual Birr Ac 5km road race, I had an ok time but more importantly really enjoyed the excitement and buzz of it and how everyone else was enjoying it, it was infectious, all be it exhausting! Speaking to one of the Committee members Damien after the run he asked me to consider coming up to the next training session at the club. It took me several week to get organised but I popped up and found a very welcoming group of members who I have to say were very encouraging, after several weeks I could see a huge improvement to my fitness that running was bringing to me, but also it was a lot less time consuming than cycling! and with a young family and been self employed that suited me, so I made a decision to enter and focus on the Dublin Marathon many would say I was mad to consider taking that on in my first of running but remember I had a good base layer of fitness from Cycling.
How do you find the time to train? And how do you cope with missed sessions?
Sometimes you just have to be quite disciplined. I have a mantra on my strava profile that I use “Discipline is doing what needs to be done even if you don’t want to do it” and its something I have to remind my self sometimes of but Also I have a very supportive Wife and together we organise our time so we can both partake in sports activities and as a result monkey see monkey do! in relation to our kids, who are all very enthusiastic about sports. I had to teach myself that missing a session is not the end of the world, you might feel frustrated or annoyed sometimes in missing a session but the extra rest of a day really only aids your recovery more and you’ll feel stronger the next session when you do get back out at it.
How has your preparation been for the marathon? Have you run other races, or shorter races? Have you had injuries?
Preparation for this years marathon has been good considering I broke my fibula while running in August 2021 while on a trail run supporting one of our club members Joe who was running an 80km Ultra in the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Myself and three other members ( Noel , Donal & Damien ) were supporting Joe on a 25km section when I unexpectedly and suddenly heard a crack and felt an incredible sharp pain. I knew instantly that it was broke. I ended up been the person who needed support that day! but thanks to the amazing friends I had with me that day, We got Joe through to the End of his run and he completed the 80 km and I got a 12 week break from running. Thankfully the break was very straight forward break if there is such a Thing! But recovery was excellent, with no complications. I was back running at the end of October.
Everyone has a different method of training. Do you train with a club or on your own? Tell us about your training plan
I do both, I think its great to mix it up, running in the club you get a great sense of encouragement, advice, members share their experiences, tips and advice with your constantly learning about running. On our long runs we have a bit of banter. or a serious talk its what ever comes up in conversation we tend to keep our long runs at a conversational pace. I aslo like to run alone sometimes this really helps me mentally to feel comfortable with my own company its good training for when your slogging it out at the end of a marathon. It also allows you to have your time to distress from day to day things.
My typical week training for a marathon is average of 50 to 70 km per week. five runs per week, one to two speed sessions at 80 percent effort , two 10km runs at what ever I feel like running. and a long Run on a Sunday morning at approx 5:40 5:30min /per km.
What is your goal time for the Dublin marathon?
This year I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself. I hope to come in. Around. 3 hours and 45 minutes. I may do better, It will really depends on the day and How I feel. What the weather is like. I want to enjoy The Dublin Marathon this year. It’s such. A momentous occasion especially now that the crowds are back. The level of support from spectators along the route in Dublin is very special.
What would your advice be to runners heading into the marathon?
My advice would be to try relax in the week before hand. Don’t overthink the run too much but have a race plan and most importantly stick to it during the race Trust your plan. Try get loads of Sleep and eat well in the weeks before the race. remember You’ve done all the work. Be confident in what you have done and you preparation. Pay attention to preparation in relation to what you’re going to eat the morning of the race. How you’re going to fuel yourself during the race. But most importantly if possible! Enjoy the race.
Do you have any techniques to motivate yourself when the going gets tough?
When the going gets tough I try to turn my mind off negative thoughts, and I try picture the finish line. To me running is about competing with yourself and no one else their time is their time but mine is mine so I try focus on that. I focus on my heart rate and try stop my mind wondering as I believe this too can use up energy and the mental strength needed, Try to be in the moment. Believe in your self.