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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Countdown to the Dubai Marathon 2018: Getting started

It’s three months until the Dubai marathon, so we’ve brought in an expert to help you prepare

The Dubai Marathon course is perhaps unique in allowing participants to race alongside elite runners. AFP
The Dubai Marathon course is perhaps unique in allowing participants to race alongside elite runners. AFP

Now that the days are cooling, we can safely discard the phrase: “I will start running when the temperature is cooler.” That means focusing on our goals and deciding how big we want them to be. For some, that might just mean be being able to run for 10 minutes on a treadmill. For others, it might be the opportunity to knock off the Dubai marathon.

This is where we come in.

With only eight weeks left of this year, the race calendar is starting to fill up, with the region’s running community focused on the biggest mass- participation running event in the Middle East. The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will see more than 20,000 runners take part in either the 42km, 10km or 3km family fun run.

With just 12 weeks until the big day, I, along with Adidas Runners Dubai, have developed a dedicated training programme, which will be out on Sunday, and will help you decide what kind of distance is achievable for you.

But, how do you get started?

Over the next three months, I’ll be giving you tips on fitness, nutrition, sleep and plenty more as we progress along this journey. The best way to approach a training plan is to look at it in manageable chunks. I like to use a four-week scope, as it can sit well in a month’s calendar, in and around your daily work and upcoming activities. Plan your four weeks around travelling, meetings, social commitments and adjust accordingly to make sure you stay on track.

Once this is established, break it down further into single weeks, planning sleep patterns and the times you will be doing the runs. Are you an early bird or a night owl? If you know you will have evening plans or will be working late nights, commit to training in the morning. These small details will be the difference between a positive or negative response in the body. Establish the routine that works for you and stick to it.

It goes without saying that a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle will be key to upholding the workload of this plan. Good sleep, good recovery and consistency. Trust the process. Some days you may feel amazing and want to run twice the distance in your plan – but don’t. It will catch up with you.

Our plan structure has been made to limit the stress and get the most from each training protocol – the slow runs, race pace runs, speed sessions, tempo and recovery sessions. You need to set a solid foundation to allow yourself to build the biggest goal.

During the later stages of training, the frequency and intensity will pick up a lot, so in the beginning, allow your body to adjust to the stresses. As I say to my crew: “Always finish strong. You don’t win a race in the first 100 metres, you win it in the last 100 metres.” This mantra can apply to your training programme as well.

Towards the end of the 12-week programme, it is the prime holiday period for most people. This is again something you need to prepare for, as these later stages are the most important aspect of race fitness and overall health and longevity. The 12-week training plan will accommodate all abilities – from the 10km to 42km. This includes different training protocols to ensure you are getting the most from your training, different time goals, and how to do it all in the safest possible way.

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Do you have a question for Lee about the Dubai Marathon? Send it to astewart@thenational.ae for Lee to answer in the next instalment.

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Who is Lee Ryan?

Lee Ryan, captain of adidas Runners Dubai.
Lee Ryan, captain of adidas Runners Dubai.

Lee Ryan is the captain of adidas Runner Dubai, a professional athlete, record-breaking endurance runner, and is also a personal trainer, having worked with the likes of Arsenal FC. Not only has he set four Guinness World Records, he's a keen marathon runner - his fastest time being an indomitable two hours 58 minutes, set at the Berlin Marathon in September 2017.

At the 2012 London Marathon, he attempted to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest time whilst carrying a 20lb backpack and finished just two minutes off the record time. In 2015, he broke a Guinness World Record for the most number of burpees completed in 24 hours (10,110 burpees), and the record for most burpees in one minute (46). He then went on to claim the record for the fastest half marathon with a 20lb pack at the RAK half marathon in 2016.

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