Berlin Marathon Training Diary – 63 days to go

The Berlin marathon is in 63 days or…

• 5,443,200 seconds

• 90,720 minutes

• 1512 hours

• 9 weeks

• 17.26% of 2019

• I ran 71.54 miles this week

This is a summary of my third weeks training, as I work towards the Berlin Marathon targeting a sub 3 hour marathon. This summary just focuses on my two workouts this week.

Workout sessions:

Below is the workout rational from Coach John and my feedback post run.

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.


• Warm up

• 20x2min on/off

• Cool down

Coach John: Midweek workout is a classic, Stazza high-density session (11.5km-12kmish worth of work) at roughly 10k pace. Keeps in touch with speed from earlier in the build-up, gives threshold a tickle, and supports the longer reps sessions that we extend every fortnight.

Marcus: For this workout my plan was to start conservatively for the first few reps, so my legs wouldn’t blow up in the middle section. Thankfully this paid off and I consistently hit the target pace.


• 3 miles, starting at 7’40 min/mile working down to 7’10 min/mile

• 5 miles at 7 min/mile

• 5 miles at 6’50 min/mile

• 4 miles @ 6’40 min/mile

• 2 miles @ 7’40 min/mile

Coach John: The long progression run is introducing work in and around MP with some pre-fatigue. This paves the way for the long, hard tempo runs which will come later in the cycle.  

Marcus: This run had two parts, the first part went to plan, and the second part didn’t.

Stretching is one of my weaker elements, for the second part my hamstrings got tighter, so I was putting more effort into a reducing stride. As my target pace slipped I could feel the anger just bubbling, as I had to change my goal from thriving to surviving.

My focus turned from the run, to needing to book a sports massage and work on my stretching.

This run I didn’t hit the target pace, whereas Wednesday I hit my target pace. That’s life. Give your best effort for the moment your in, then onto the next one.

Mindset training: I’m working with 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.


Energising with our why.

• When our training gets tough and we miss our pace target for a rep/one session;

• It’s raining outside and have a long run to complete;

• On race day we are on pace but feeling it physically.

All these examples plus many more individual to you are moments when we have a battle. I call this winning the ugly. How are you going to win this ugly moment when you’re hurting physically and temporarily demoralised mentally?

Here is one powerful skill you can build up and commit to for those moments. Simon Sinek in his now infamous video explains that knowing what to do, or how we are going to do it isn’t enough. And actually by flipping the priority of these, and then beginning with why we are doing this, we are able to tap into and energise through a deeper connection to that moment.

For example (Marcus comments):

What – run a sub-3 hour marathon in Berlin;

How – follow the training plan as designed by my running coach, work with performance mindset coach and commit to new habits;

Why – one of my why’s is starting from a 4:55 and working down to a 3:05 marathon, I want to see what my best looks like.

Once we have all 3, we start with why, follow with how, and finish with what.

Each individual will have a different set of why’s, and this is YOUR power to energise your performance in those ugly moments so you can #stayinthefight and #wintheugly.

Marcus: This is really useful, having a plan in place is vital.

Something I’ve learned is that you need to have a pocket full of why’s, to dig out of tough moments.

For Sunday’s run which didn’t go to plan, it went from focusing on my why’s, to just putting one foot in front of the other. My focus was on my tight hamstrings, which was hard to shake off.

However these rough experiences give me fuel in the marathon, knowing that I’ve got through tough moments in training.

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

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