Berlin Marathon Training Diary – 77 days to go

The Berlin marathon is in 77 days or…

• 6,652,800 seconds

• 110,880 minutes

• 1848 hours

• 11 weeks

This is a summary of my weeks training, as I work towards the Berlin Marathon targeting a sub 3 hour marathon.

I ran 66.84 miles this week, but I’m just focusing on my two workouts, which includes the rational from Coach John about why I’m doing it, the benefit etc.

John trains beginners through to elites who compete in all distances from 1500m to marathons to 24-hour ultras. Click on this link to view his website.

I add my feedback of how I got on for my weekly workouts. Please note this training is targeted for me, and isn’t the only way you can train for a sub 3 hour marathon.

Beyond the physical training, I’m exploring the mental side of marathon training and share tips I’m learning from Duncan a sports performance mindset coach. He specialises in leading athletes to greater, more consistent performances through the power of their performance mindset. He works on a consultancy basis with individual athletes and teams. Click on this link to view his website.

Workout sessions:


◦ Warm up

◦ 8×5 minutes on/3 minutes off

◦ Cool down

Coach John: These are done at a smidgen faster than threshold/10 mile race effort. This session has progressed out from the 5k/10k work and is preparing the body (structurally and metabolically) for the upcoming marathon training. The volume of these sessions will extend out.

Marcus: Most of my runs are done before work. It was a rushed one on Wednesday. Usually I have a maurten 320 drink mix ready. But I was rushed on time. So I took several Maurten 100 gels on the run. I built up a good consistent pace from rep 1-6. However the last two reps my pace dropped. Considering the 50g of carbs I had, it was practically a fasted run. I don’t recommend fasted runs if your looking to run at your potential. So next week I’ll better plan my pre workout fuelling. The positive was this run was ran at a faster pace than last week.

Track miles in the On Cloudrush


◦ 4 miles easy

◦ 8 miles at 6’45”

◦ 1 mile easy

◦ 6×45″ @ 5k effort off 1’15”

◦ Jog 2 miles easy

Coach John: Roughly 17 miles of running but peppered with spices: the 8 miles @ 6’45” introduce a rhythmical tempo/aerobic builder, which we will extend out. The cheeky little 45″ reps, introduce some faster turnover on fatigued legs. This paves the way for the extended tempo runs at 10″ slower than MP and again, introduces some structural and metabolic work.

Marcus: I try and mimic what I’d do for a race. Get a minimum 7 hours of sleep and eat at least an hour before running. Below is my breakfast.

Bagel with peanut butter & Maurten 320 mix

I felt fairly good in comparison to the start of my Wednesday run. For this run I missed my target pace 8 mile tempo pace. I hit it last week, but that’s just life. I had to quickly forget it and get my legs turning over for the “cheeky” 45 second reps. My legs didn’t welcome them with open arms, but I got through it. Today was a tough 17 miler but I finished strong.

Sunday run nutrition (used for tempo miles only)

Mindset training:

Unleashing the power of your performance mindset tip 1

“Awareness precedes choice, and choice precedes results” – Robin S. Sharma

Duncan: As you complete your training this week, I want you to focus on what you are thinking and telling yourself throughout your runs. This involves bringing a level of consciousness to your thought patterns. These can be organised into 3 categories – effective, neutral and unhealthy.

Of course, some will be situation dependent, there may be a time when you really need to go in on yourself to spark a reaction, but for simplicity, think about it like this: In most situations if my coach or best friend said this to me while I was training, which category would it fall into.

Get an A4 sheet of paper and create 3 columns based on the categories. After each training run document your thoughts and words to yourself. As we become more aware, we can realise our current habits, and then begin to focus on creating new, more effective mindset habits.

Next week: understanding how to create our reactions in the moment

Marcus: For Wednesday’s sessions my internal chatter was mostly unhealthy, in terms of focusing on the difficulty, the early start, not a lot of sleep etc. Whilst they were valid reasons they took more space than they needed to.

But I was more aware of my unhealthy thoughts from Wednesday for Sunday’s run. I felt when I had unhealthy thoughts on Sunday, I could recognise it for what it was and turn it around much quicker without staying in a space that didn’t best serve me.

I didn’t hit my average mile target, but each mile I just started from zero and gave my best effort, regardless if the last mile was on or off pace.

There’s still work to be done but this exercise was really usefully highlighting my conscious thoughts, and helping me learn to win the ugly moments.

Tempo miles in the On Cloudflow

Thanks for reading! Next weeks training summary will be published next Sunday.

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