Week 10: Strength In Numbers

As yet another dominant week comes to a close, and the weekend draws near, the butterflies have gradually begun to flock towards the pit of my stomach in anticipation for the big race tomorrow. Approximately 2 weeks after I started working with ‘The Guru’ in an attempt to get on top of my nutrition- almost 8 weeks ago now- I started training for this marathon.

A journey within a journey, you could say.

Preparation has gone supremely well, and at this moment in time, I have never been in a fitter mental or physical state, which is encouraging.

I have been asked quite often about my training in preparation for my first marathon, so here it is.

My typical week has been comprised of 3 weights sessions, 2-3 runs, with some prehabilitation and core work peppered throughout the week as I saw fit, not forgetting the all important rest day. Perhaps not a typical training schedule for an endurance race, but I felt it suited me and my needs. My nutrition has allowed me to reach new heights in training; I am stronger, leaner, more dynamic. Overall, I don’t think I could have wished for it to have gone better, and I owe a lot to my nutrition.

I have come up against some tough tests over the past 8 weeks or so, challenges which have pushed me both mentally and physically. A 20 km dash against a -17 °C head wind, has a tendency bring the mind to some strange and wondrous places. Or the act of rising in the early hours to knock out a few miles, while the majority are still in the land of nod, penetrates the psyche in ways which I simply did not know possible. I have no doubt that my nutrition has allowed me to go to these places, to dig deep, and to push myself. I’ve enjoyed every minute of training, looking back on it.

That being said, I haven’t been alone in my preparation.

All the kind words of support and encouragement, from near and far, offered incredible motivation to drive on whenever I felt like stopping. Tomorrow, it will be no different. I am eternally grateful for the inspirational nuggets of wisdom, powerful words of support, and positive energy I have received over the past 2 months.

I have been simply blown away by it all.

To top it all off, a surprise visit from my good friend Daragh, who is living across the way in China, has really given me an added lift. I am so very grateful to be able to spend the weekend with him, as I mentally prepare. He has stood alongside me in many battles throughout the years, in sport and in life, and it’s going to be truly special to be able greet him at the finish line.

Bring the tissues Big Lad, just in case.

I‘m beyond excited to hit the tarmac through the streets of this beautiful city, and I will look to soak up the atmosphere, feed off the energy, and enjoy every minute. I have been humbled by all the support, and will look to clock a respectable time which will reflect the hard work and generosity of so many wonderful people.

See you at the finish line.

Tomorrow I will be running the Seoul Marathon in aid of Aware. If you would like to make a donation, please feel free to jump over to my JustGiving page. It’s for a great cause! Thank you so much for the support..!

Fionn McSwiney is a PhD researcher and lecturer at Waterford IT; a specialist in the field of Exercise Science and Nutrition. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram– seek out the experts.