Anyone who listens to 2FM’s Breakfast Republic will be aware of the fact that Keith Walsh is running a marathon this year. In LA.
After running his first ever marathon in 2016, we decided to sit down with him and see what advice he has for anyone thinking of ticking marathon running off their bucket list.
Why did you first decide to run a marathon?
I was in denial for a long time. Telling people I’d never run a marathon because I had no interest. But secretly it had been a bucket list item for a long time, I was just afraid that I would fail. I was quite fit but I couldn’t really run a full 5k without stopping. Then I was approached by a SSE Airtricity. They asked me if I’d be prepared to take on the challenge of training for and running the marathon. I jumped at the chance. People were able to follow my progress on their website and through social media, so once I had signed up for it I couldn’t back out. I certainly couldn’t fail! I managed to finish it in 4hrs and 8 minutes which I was very happy about.
How did you approach the training?
I was lucky because I didn’t have a clue about training for a marathon and I was basically given a trainer. Gary Crossan would send me a weekly training schedule and said once I did what I was told I was pretty much guaranteed to finish. Barring injuries. My approach was to do exactly what I was told and never miss a training session.
What aspect of the training surprised you most?
Well obviously getting the miles into the legs is the most important thing. But I was surprised by how important other things were for your performance. Things like walking, sleeping, stretching, resting and of course, eating the right foods. All of this info is available on the internet, you can simply Google your questions. Pinterest is also a great source for marathon tips.
Did you notice any benefits you weren’t expecting?
Running fit is the fittest you can be so I was delighted with how fit I felt when I went to the gym or played a game of footie or hurling. There’s nothing like playing a game or working in a gym and feeling that you could go all day. It also improved my posture. Any problems I’d had with my back just disappeared. I also slept better and my head felt a lot clearer.
What three things would you say to anyone thinking of running the a marathon this year?
- The best way to start running is to run as slowly as you can for as long as you can. This is advice I hear from Eamonn Coughlan and he’s fairly good at running!
- Don’t leave it too late to start training. If you’re a first timer you can do it in four months but in my opinion if you can give yourself six months and build up the distance slowly that would be preferable.
- Get a pair of good runners or insoles. I would recommend Skechers but I’m biased. Most good running shops will measure you for your new runners and a good physio can recommend insoles.
- Stretch… a lot! I know that’s four but hey, I’m not very good at counting.
Are you doing anything differently ahead of the LA marathon later this year?
Well I’m going with my friends from Skechers who sponsor the LA Marathon so I’m being well looked after. My training schedule is all my own creation. I researched using the internet and combined that with what I learned from the last marathon and came up with an amazing marathon plan. I call it The Keith Plan. I’ve also been doing a lot more hill work and stretching… have I mentioned stretching before?
Are you trying to beat your last time or just doing it for the fun aspect?
I want to finish it in around the same time and to enjoy it and enjoy the route. I also want to be able to go out and enjoy a night in LA afterwards, so I’m not going to kill myself!
Do you run alone or with a club?
I run alone but I meet up with a bunch of lads at the weekend to do hill work in a place called Braveheart Hill on the Curragh.
Catch Breakfast Republic weekdays on RTÉ 2FM from 6 – 10am