Berlin Marathon Training Diary – 4 days to go

As I get ready to run this Sunday, this is a takeaway of some my thoughts in the buildup.


Pre-marathon paranoia also known as maranoia is defined as:

The irrational fear in the taper period that imminent doom is lurking at every corner to ruin your race. From picking up sickness, phantom injuries, to losing your fitness in the days before the race due to the taper.

I’ve experienced these symptoms previously and can relate to people that experience them in their race buildup.

However for the buildup for Berlin I haven’t experienced them. Look I’m not over confident as I respect the marathon, but when I look back at recent health concerns, and what happened in the buildup to my last marathon in Manchester (3:05), I’ve come through these tough moments. Whilst the marathon isn’t easy the discomfort is temporary and I’m just grateful to be healthy.

I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my sports performance mindset coach Duncan. In training it’s easy to just focus on the physical side but it’s so vital to train the mental side to prepare for your race.

You don’t have to be an elite to get the benefits as I’m not. But Duncan has got me to be more mindful of my thoughts in training and for the race.

Post marathon I’ll share these tips in greater detail. But an example of something we worked on, is paying attention to my unhealthy and healthy thoughts whilst running. I wrote them down for a series of runs. I then became more mindful of how I was feeling in the challenging moments and I learnt through trail and error how to get focused on the healthy thoughts.

Regardless of this Sunday’s result, I feel like he has helped me remove the maranoia, he has helped me be able to recentre my thoughts, and learn to have greater belief in myself and trust in my training.

Trust in your training

I’ve been working with Coach John for several years now, and he’s helped me learn how to train properly, as previously I’d been free-styling, and I wasn’t improving.

We’ve been building training blocks on training blocks, and each marathon cycle has evolved. So whilst we take a long term view, we check in weekly to monitor and tweak if needed.

In pushing myself there‘s been multiple training paces I’ve just missed. This isn’t a bad thing. As this is part of the training stimulus.

You will want to quit

There have been lots of days that I wanted to stay in bed, and not drag my tired legs to run. There’s been runs, that I’ve got frustrated. There’s been lots of long looks at the door and my shoes at 5am. There’s been times when my kid is up in the night and the whole family sleeps badly. But I got through each moment and all these experiences will aid me on race day when it gets hard.

It’s not that hard moments are something to be avoided but it’s knowing that you have the strength to face them.

In the moments I wanted to quit, it was a great moment to really test the strength of my why’s.

All the other parts

Sub 3 training, is all encompassing. It’s like being on a moving target with no let up. Sometimes it’s in your sight and the other times, your trying to keep up, or being dragged along kicking and screaming.

Your body is being pushed to breakdown and rebuild. Your tired, hungry, walk like a zombie. Then combined with working full time, and being there for your family and kids, it’s hard work.

If it’s so awful why knowingly do it?

Despite this, I enjoy the challenge of facing uncomfortable moments. Whilst I know some of my why’s, in the process I’m always learning why I’m doing these challenges, and that’s an ongoing part of understanding the self.

Ultimately this training block has tested me in new ways, it’s broken me down and built me up stronger.

In the taper period, my body is starting to feel normal again. I’m just looking forward to getting out there now.

To wrap up I need to send a big thank you to Adrian, Rush and the team at RD physios. I’ve had this Achilles issue which I’ve been managing for a while. And the team have really helped calm it down, to allow me to run with less pain than I have experienced previously.

1 comment

  1. Great read! Always an inspiration Marcus!


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