Berlin Marathon Training Diary – 70 days to go

The Berlin marathon is in 70 days or…

• 6,048,000 seconds

• 100,800 minutes

• 1680 hours

• 10 weeks

• 19.18% of 2019

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

I ran 73.67 miles this week. Excluding the easy paced miles, I’m just focusing on my two workouts this week, 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.

Additionally I will cover some essential points about nutrition for my training runs and for recovery.

Workout sessions:


• Warm up

• On: 9×5 minutes on @ 6’25min/avg

• Off: 9×3 minutes @ 7’30min/avg

• Cool down

Coach John: (Target marathon pace 6’40”: 2hr54″). First marathon specific session. We’ve kept the rep time at 5 mins, slowed the pace by 15 seconds to 6’25” (104% of MP), added an extra rep, and structured the rec of 3 mins so that it’s now roughly 85% of MP. 

Marcus: When I see these workouts, I know that marathon training has begun. I know what’s it leading into… longer reps with “recovery” reps.

I looked at this as a tempo run over 60 minutes, instead of looking at the 3 minutes off section as a recovery. I blanked the fact that there was a recovery from my mind. It was “recovery” with a very very very small “r”.

This run was ran at a faster pace than the target pace (6’19 min/mile) and the “recovery” pace was achieved.


• 20 miles @ 7’30″min/avg

Coach John: Structural run to strengthen endurance spine in preparation for long tempo runs @ 96% of MP.  Pace is 7’30”: 85% of MP

Marcus: These runs traditionally are tougher than they look, as it’s very easy to go off too fast and drop the pace in the last quarter. So I was mindful about keeping it steady and disciplined.

This was my first long run in the Nike Vaporfly Next % and they were great. I liked the cushioned forefoot with a low drop. Every step felt like it was pushing me forward.

The run was a strange one. I didn’t hold a consistent pace throughout. I started conservatively slower (3 miles), then I got carried away getting close to marathon pace (I was picturing Berlin way too early…). The first 10 miles my average pace was 7’22. Then I had to reign it in, for a sensible second half running 10 miles in an average pace of 7’29. Overall I ran 20 miles under the target pace in an average 7’26min/mile.

Even though I was faster than the target pace, it wasn’t easy. When you’ve not done a long run for a while you forget how tough it is physically, and you forget the concentration required to stay on pace and manage the miles.

It’s a fair point…

Mindset training:

Unleashing the power of your performance mindset tip 2 (tip one is here).

Duncan: When you become more aware of the thoughts and the actions that are happening through your training and competitions, you are now able to begin creating your reactions.

Our thoughts create our feelings, and our feelings create our behaviours as a consequence.

How can we create an effective emotional reaction to what we think is completely within our control. It’s not about stopping every unhealthy thought, it’s more about how can we create an effective reaction to each thought in order to produce an effective response.

In your training this week, begin to find solutions to thoughts that may previously derailed your performances. Think about ways in which you can create effective behavioural responses by gaining control of your mind in that moment.

Next week: some practical skills and examples of this.

Marcus: Leading from last weeks advice, I was more aware of my internal chatter, particularly recognising the unhealthy chatter. I made a commitment when I felt when I was at or close to feeling at the bottom, it was an opportunity to rise strong.

For Wednesday’s workout, I was in rep 7 with tired legs, when my cadence started to drop, I reminded myself to rise to the level of my capabilities and to rise strong.

But this was definitely harder to do for my 20 mile run. It’s a long time on your feet, with a lot of thinking time, most of it I was thinking about Berlin, so I was thinking about a pace that was much faster than the target training pace. This was unhealthy because I wasn’t as focused on keeping a consistent pace for the first 10 miles. However this was something I was more mindful of to slow down for the final 10 miles. They were tough, but I’m happy I ran my final miles close to the target pace set, on tired legs.

My running “why’s” were getting tested…


During my tempo runs I practice my race day fuel strategy which consists of taking one Maurten 100 gel every 20 minutes. However if you go by the letter one Gel contains 25g of carbs which means you can take upto 4 gels, however you have to find what works for you and practice in your long runs.

Recovery for runners is so important, from sleep, nutrition, stretching etc it’s a wide ranging topic. Thanks to Kieran who recommended Xendurance Lactic Tabs to me. They aim to reduce soreness, improve stamina, and accelerate recovery and are used by Olympic, professional, and elite athletes.

In the U.K they’re aren’t as well known but it’s quite a big thing in the US, in runners and crossfit circles, so I was curious to try them out. So from this week I’ve started taking Xendurance Lactic Tabs in the buildup to Berlin.

The recommendation is 6 tablets daily; 3 in the morning and 3 in the evening, with or without food. Or 4 (x2) on race days.

In the following weeks I’ll let you know how I get on with several following Xendurance products. However my initial reaction backs up the results I’ve heard from others.

◦ Xendurance Tabs

◦ Hydro-X

◦ Fuel-5+

◦ Immune Boost


  1. How many Maurten gels do you take day for example running 20miles and do you eat before your long runs?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi 👋🏽I noted the answer to how many gels I take in the nutrition section. I take one Maurten gel every 20 minutes. For these type of long runs. I eat at least two hours before the start, aiming for a minimum of 150g of carbs. I tend to have a bagel with peanut butter, and a maurten carb drink.


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