Countdown to the Dubai Marathon: why family support is crucial

You don't need to do it alone; if you know you have the support of friends and family, it will aid your motivation on those tough early-morning or late-night runs

As a father to two little girls, with all my focus on world records and hours of training, I make sure all my free time on weekends or evenings is just for family. I try my best to make sure training doesn’t encroach on that family time.

My alarm goes at 3am most mornings to make sure I can get training done before work or before the family wakes up. Much of the time, my wife has to make sure I stay on track with what I need to do.

Large challenges like running a race don't need to be something you do alone; if you know you have the support of friends and family, it will aid your motivation on those tough early-morning or late-night runs. If you have kids, use this journey to empower them with the challenge you are doing. Show them that they can achieve anything in life with hard work.

I have had many people ask me when is the best time to start pushing my kids into training. The way I look upon it is that sport is like playing, but with consequence. Empower them by showing them what mum and dad can do, and exercise their brain.

My next record will involve me pushing my two girls in a pram in the Dubai Marathon to break a world record; I want to build their legacy and put them in the record books with me. Now the key in that statement is: that’s my goal. By no means does this have to be the scale of what you have to do. The other day I went to the park with my girls and to see my youngest daughter (16 months) walk a full lap of the park was monumental. That made an impact on her mental growth to be outside, moving and making strides in her own progress.

When it comes to setting your next goal, share your story with the right people who will support you. Putting the word out there on the world wide web (showing my age there) gives you a bit of accountability to make sure you do it. Don’t feel alone ahead of the Dubai Marathon. Each step you take is incredible and - depending on your start point - life changing.

Remember: there is no such thing as a bad run, and anything is better than nothing. Never judge a run by the first kilometer. Any run is good, and your body will respond positively, even if it's just the 20 minutes you have spare. In these moments, it’s the effort you give that supersedes the required result. The human body is unique in every single way. Sometimes we feel good, sometimes we don’t feel good, that’s just how it goes. Sometimes we have to treat it like you would a car on a winter morning; you have to get it running, let it warm up, and then iron out the cracks.

So, when you head out for a run and those legs feel stiff, the lower back is a bit sore, breathe…take a moment and carry on. Focus on the run, what is needed, and don’t overthink every step. Before you know it, you’re two kilometres in and the body is firing on all cylinders. Go and get it!

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


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



Are there any pace groups for the upcoming Dubai Marathon? I’m an American runner aiming for a Boston qualifying time of 3 hours 15 min in Dubai.

Adidas Runners Dubai as a crew will not be allocating pacers for the marathon. As a race itself it has a very small field compared to some of the major marathons around the world. For the individual runner this can be a good thing, as you will not be put off by other people’s paces at the start. I would suggest you check out the FAQ on the marathon site to check for the route and plan your pacing. It is a very direct route, so I have every faith that you will get a Boston qualifier – but again, check if this race is actually recognised by the BAA to be a BQ. You can even go online and print off your pacing times on a wrist band to make sure you stay on track here.


Read more from Lee:

Staying safe on the streets and the four week itch

Lifestyle hacks when it comes to training

Getting started for the Dubai Marathon


Updated: December 13, 2017 01:03 PM


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