Berlin Marathon Training Diary – 41 days to go

The Berlin marathon is in 41 days or…

  • 3,542,400 seconds 
  • 59,040 minutes 
  • 984 hours  
  • 5 weeks and 6 days
  • 11.23% of 2019

This is a summary of my sixth weeks training, as I work towards the Berlin Marathon targeting a sub 3 hour marathon. I ran 73.3 miles this week and 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

• 13×3′ on/off (on @ 5’50-6’off @ jog pace)

• Cool down 

Coach John: Here, we’re extending out from the 20×2′ on/off from a few weeks back. The idea is to keep the reps under 6′ pace. This will give Marcus roughly 40′ of quality work at 45″ faster than marathon pace. This session will progress into a higher volume workout: we’ll add to it and maintain the quality.

Marcus: I ran the total workout at an average of 6’11 min/mile just missing my target pace. I started well, with the idea to take the rest sections very easy. The pace dropped off towards the end of the workout. On to the next one…


• 24 miles @ 7’30” (structural run: 85% of MP) 

Coach John: This is the longest run Marcus will do in this build-up. The pace is 45″ slower than marathon pace. Over the weeks, this will quicken and as we extend the workout from the 18th August (2 miles warm up–13miles @ 6’47”–2 miles cool down) the two long runs will merge so that he’s running around 20-22 miles @ 6’45” pace+warm and cool down.

Marcus: I ran 20.58 miles at an average of 7’35 min/mile, just missing the target pace. I felt comfortable but began to feel ill in the latter miles, and the pace dropped. There’s no point being a hero and impacting next weeks training, so I thought get to 20 and call it a day.

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: One day at a time.

As we move onto the downhill slope (figuratively!) with your training with only 6 weeks to go, we want to remember that each training day, each workout has been added to the plan for a reason. Therefore, we can use our mindset to reset before each workout – to keep building momentum as you get closer to your tapering period.

If we are hitting paces/distance, then be happy with this, build your fire – celebrate that daily achievement. No need to be a hero and go faster or further than your schedule. Keep banking the successful workouts and stay on track with your plan for the race day.

If you have a day where you don’t hit pace/distance, then reflect on why to find solutions, but as discussed before, find acceptance and reset before tomorrow’s workout. Treat each new day as its own, and move your focus to completing the next day’s training rather than focusing on the fact you didn’t complete todays. Keep banking overcoming this adversity and stay on track with your plan for the race day.

Begin to write down/ journal the experiences you have had throughout your training. The positive ones where you can draw energy from on the day. But also the tough times where you have felt frustrated, and overcome these moments whether in the moment or the next workout – you can draw much strength from these on the day. Writing things down enables you to recall them with less focus on the day when you need that boost.

Marcus: Reflecting and resetting has been a part of my week.

In the reflection part it’s important to keep things in perspective (be kind to yourself) as I’ve had two workouts where I’ve just missed the paces. But there’s lots of positives to take from both runs and I’ll be working on making minor adjustments, such as diet and sleep.

On to the next one…

Thanks for reading!

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