Berlin Marathon Training Diary – 20 days to go

The Berlin marathon is in 20 days or…

• 1,728,000 seconds

• 28,800 minutes

• 480 hours

• 2 weeks and 6 days

The last few weeks I’ve have had some health concerns, that have taken precedent hence the blog writing hiatus.

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

Workout sessions:

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


• Warm up

• 10x5min on & 3min off

• Cool down 

Coach John: High-density workout with 10 reps over 5 minutes. The reps will be around 10mile race effort, with the idea being to make the weekend’s MP run feel easier and giving a good amount of work, over longish reps.

Marcus: A rainy day on the track. It was good to run this workout by feel. Whilst not my fastest run, I was hovering around six & half minute pace mark, but it felt good to be running considering the weeks before.


• 2 miles warm up

• 14 miles @ 6’50min/mile avg.

• 2miles cool down

Coach John: Simple enough 14 miles at MP. With the warm up and cool down this will be 18 miles, which is plenty 3 weeks out from race day. At this stage, 14 miles at MP should feel comfortable enough, however, the medical issues Marcus’ had have affected his training. Hopefully, after today’s workout (Sunday) it looks like he’s back on track. This will give us a good idea about how he’s going now.

Marcus: Life challenges over the last few weeks, have impacted my training, when your heads not in it, it’s harder to push when you need to.

I needed a new perspective so I got in my car and drove to a new area to run in. Whilst training is about earning that sub 3, it should also be an adventure.

I found that running in a new area I was more immersed in the run and actually ran faster than the target pace, completing the run in 6’43min/mile avg. However looking at the splits I’d like to try and run more evenly/disciplined (when in Berlin). I’d get into a stride, then back off, and kept repeating it.

Mindset training: I’m working with Duncan a sports performance mindset coach, and his weekly advice was about preparing your mental plan to start and finish your race.

Wherever your race is – in this instance, Berlin – do some research on the start and the finish. See photographs of these moments and begin to build these images up in your mind. Try to imagine what you are seeing, hearing, feeling. What are you smelling, tasting? Visualising it brings an element of reality to your upcoming race.

If you are able to, close your eyes and picture the start, picture your wave and how you want to begin the race. Will you be caught up in the nervous/excited energy that sends people out too fast? Will you stick to your pace? How will you feel crossing that start line knowing all the time you have put in to be there?

If you can’t see it yet, draw it, and describe it in as much detail written down. Now close your eyes and have somebody read your own words back to you.

Do the same for the finish. This could be the last 100m, 400m, mile, 2 miles – whatever you want to do. How do you want to feel in this moment? What will you see and hear? In Berlin you can hear the crowd from a-ways away from the finishing straight – how will you react?

As you approach the finish, soak it all in. All the time and effort put into training for these moments on race day. Race day is there to be enjoyed.

Again, drawing it and describing it then having somebody read it to you helps to strengthen YOUR mental image.

In previous weeks, we’ve prepared for the time in between the start and the finish. It’s important to prepare for these moments too, and this prep can add to your confidence going into the race.

Marcus: Taking on board Duncan’s advice I’ve previously drawn, pictured and visualise the end of the race. Fortunately I’ve run the Berlin marathon previously so I have the added real life memories to add to this process.

Regular visualisation is a vital part of the process, from seeing the great moments, and to overcoming the challenges. I even do it whilst I’m running.

But I will be getting someone to read my own words back to me. As I think that’s a really powerful way to reinforce my goals and visualisation process.


I’m honoured to be a nominee for the 2019 Men’s Health/Runners World @letsdothis.com_ Challenge Awards for Most Inspiring Male.

Thank you to the people that nominated and those that have already voted for me.

There’s a ton of worthy contestants, including professional athletes. So for me being nominated is a win.

I never set out to inspire anyone. Coming from a 4:55 marathoner, I wanted to prove to myself that this wasn’t my limit. I set a very ambitious goal to run a sub 3 marathon, despite my results and the doubters saying otherwise.

In the process, I make mistakes, have wanted to and have quit. I find it challenging to spin all the plates juggling family, work and training.

No one achieves goals alone, my family and my coach John have helped me go from a 4:55 to a 3:05 marathoner.

Please click this link and cast your vote. Voting ends September 15 2019.

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