Berlin Marathon Training Diary – 49 days to go

The Berlin marathon is in 49 days or…

• 4,233,600 seconds

• 70,560 minutes

• 1176 hours

• 7 weeks

• 13.42% of 2019

This is a summary of my fifth 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

• 20min tempo @ 6’30min/mile avg.

• 5min easy

• 10x2min on/off

• Cool down 

Coach John: 20′ tempo 6’30” is to get everything fully warmed up and to add a small degree of pre-fatigue. After the 20′ tempo, the 10×2′ on/off will be run at crest load (just a bit slower than 10k effort). This session is a lighter workout than previous weeks and is to give some turnover but not too fast (Marcus has tight hamstrings) while maintaining around 40′ worth of work with half of it faster than 10-miles race effort.

Marcus: I ran the tempo at an average of 6’24 min/mile average, then ran 9’28 min/mile for the 5 min recovery. I ran an average of 5’56 min/mile average for 2 min reps. This week I made sure that I took my Maurten 320 drink mix, it was a tough early morning run, but I’m glad that I didn’t crash and burn like last weeks run.

Sweat on the Garmin


• 2 miles warm up

• 13miles @ 6’50″min/mile avg.

• 2 miles cool down

Coach John: This is to see what sort of shape Marcus is in around marathon effort. 13 miles is the starting point of the marathon specific tempo runs. We’ll then extend these out to 18/20 miles.

Marcus: I decided to run the 13 miles on the track. Yep I know many would find this boring as hell, but I just wanted to run even miles without running into traffic etc.

I also had to update my running playlist. Thanks to everyone’s suggestions for new songs from my recent Instagram stories, the choices definitely helped today!

I’ve been using the Powerbeats 3 in my training, and have been looking forward to upgrade to the Powerbeats Pro. So glad to finally get my hands on them and after the first use they didn’t disappoint, with great fit and sound quality.

Powerbeats Pro
Powerbeats 3 – Made Defiant edition

For Sunday’s run I started running sensibly, but sped up, after the rush of blood to my head, I settled into my pace and ran an average of 6’47 min/mile.

It was hard work, an error was not bringing any water with me, hence the salt deposits on my cap…

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.

Duncan: Practice gratitude

As you go through your training, recognise the physical and mental strength that you have built up through running in comparison to when you started. Be thankful for the ability to run, the opportunity to run, for your health, your family, your employment and everything else we can be thankful for in our lives that we often take for granted.

It’s so easy in the modern world to float through life and lose notice of all the great opportunities, people and moments in your day. At some point, your training will be over – you won’t get to go out and complete that workout. You may have been successful in achieving your race goal, or maybe you weren’t but you only get to live through this period of training for this event once.

As training goes well and occasionally not so well, ride the ups and downs by practicing gratitude and being thankful for working towards something. You won’t always have the time, or an injury may take you away from training, or a number of other curve balls that life could throw at you. So take a moment each workout to appreciate what you are doing, what you are building towards and how much you have achieved so far.

Marcus: This really resonated with me during the third quarter of my Sunday run. An unhealthy thought hit my mind about how difficult this was. I then refocused on the fly by remembering how far I’d come from running a 4:55 marathon, and despite how hard it was, the pain would be over soon. And ultimately I am grateful to be healthy and have the opportunity to run.

Whilst this seems like common sense, working with Duncan has really helped me pay attention to my thoughts. By monitoring unhealthy, neutral and healthy thoughts, to work to win the ugly moments, whilst running. It’s not easy and is something I work at each run, but if you don’t address it in training, you can’t manage it come race day.

Nutrition: For Sunday’s run I took one one Maurten 100 gel every 20 minutes, with a breakfast beforehand of a bagel and a Maurten 320 drink mix. However I didn’t take any sips of water during the summer morning run, which is something I’ll address for next week. And is something I wouldn’t advise doing.

For Wednesday’s run I took Maurten 320 drink mix, so I didn’t crash like last week.

I’ve been taking Xendurance Lactic tabs for a number of weeks and they really have helped with recovery.

One of my go to lunches, is white or whole grain rice, spinach or mixed vegetables, plus smashed avocado with mackerel.

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

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