In a couple of cases in our application we really needed to run a little section of code before the page was displayed. We tried a bunch of ways of doing this until we got a tip from Ducan Mills that we could consider abusing "Bookmark" feature in adfc-config.xml. This is normally just for accepting query parameters; but it turns out that the method is executed before the page is rendered so it can be useful it you need to do some minor configuration in advance.
Note that this only applies to unbounded task flows, bounded task flows can't be made book markable. Also the parameters are optional, the code will fire even if none are defined as they are in this example. (We are using the code to force some initial selections in this case.)
I am not convinced it is a good idea in many cases; it was really helpful in solve our particular problem. I would be interested to hear if there is a more JSF way of doing this.