Marathon Training – Oh Yes!!

So further to the last blog post, which was going to talk about Marathon training (but I got carried away talking about the recent ultramarathon that I walked), it is here instead, finally!

So yes, today I embark upon Week One (of 18) of Marathon training for the Berlin Marathon on 25th September. The details are as follows:

Training Plan:

I have chosen the Hanson Marathon Plan for this one, for no better reason than I have the book! Actually there is another reason, in that I used the Hanson Half Marathon Plan successfully to PB in the Great North Run. Oh and another one (!) – Hanson recommends a longest Long Run of just 16 miles in training. I remember last time when doing New York that the plan I used (from Runner’s World I think) went over 20 miles three times. I decided that was important for me at the time as I didn’t want the psychological barrier (or the dreaded wall) to hit me in the race itself. However, in reality the running of over 20 miles, taking over three hours, is absolutely knackering, and I’m sure added to too much tiredness and probably injury too. You live and learn I suppose. In fairness also, Melanie, with whom I did New York, did tell me that 20 miles in training was too much (she’d done four beforehand), but I refused to listen :). She actually also told me about the Hanson Plan, so I should add some acknowledgement/appreciation here, so I will!

Here is the plan written down:

It starts off nice and gently, thankfully….
….and then quickly gets very serious!

The plan uses a fairly typical mixture of Long Runs, Easy Runs, Tempo Runs and speed/strength runs. They all colour coded of course :).


The plan amasses some 717 miles of training, which I calculate probably means three pairs of trainers! I have of course been somewhat meticulously planning, and have bought said trainers already! I have a ‘rotation’ as they call it, of different shoes. I intend to use Nike Pegasus 39 (newly acquired this week, but I’ve used three different iterations of the Pegasus series and I love them – they just seem to fit me best in terms of comfort and running style (not that I have a style :D)) for my long/easy runs, punctuated by Nike Invincible for recovery/easier easy runs (!). Then I’ll use New Balance 1080 v11 for my tempo runs, and an old pair of Nike Vaporfly Next% (as used for the New York Marathon no less!) for my speed runs. Finally I have a newly acquired pair of minty coloured Nike Alphafly for Berlin. I’ve tried the latter ones out just once, and the jury is out as to whether I prefer them or the Next%, so we will see in due course. OK – so that’s FIVE pairs of trainers, I lied!

Nike Zoom X Alphafly – expensive but hopefully satisfying!!


So I might as well set out here that of course would love a PB! Now as I only have one marathon under my belt then it can only either be better or worse than before! For the record, I ran 3 hours 54 mins in New York, having been determined (no, absolutely possessed!!) to beat four hours, and so that’s the benchmark. This time I am aiming for 3 hours and 45 minutes, and that’s what every single minute of the training plan is aimed at. 3 hrs 45 mins is 8 mins and 34 seconds per mile. It’s not the fastest running pace, but it is for me the best I reckon I can do over the distance. I’ll be absolutely over the moon in fact if I can run under the Brandenburg Gate with 3hr 44mins and 59 seconds in my sights. You heard it here first, but there is a long long way to go before I can get properly thinking about that, although of course I am already!!


It had to be Berlin of course. Why? Well I have always had the approach that you might as well ‘go big, or go home’, and this for me is the biggest. Of the six World Marathon Majors, this is really the one for the runners too, being the flattest. It is where my idol Eliud Kipchoge set the current World Record too, over the very route that I will do, so if running in that man’s footsteps (ok, about two hours behind his, but even so!) doesn’t inspire you then nothing will. I think also just the big atmosphere and excitement gives you all of the adrenalin that you need to make sure that you give it your all, and get it done. And what better city to do it in!

Berlin of course has both the most amazing (and indeed poignant) history, and it is there on almost every corner for all to see. It doesn’t shy away from the past one bit, with the massive holocaust memorial in the centre, covering 200,000 square feet of ground. They even call it the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Then there is the architecture, from the Reichstag, to the remnants of The Wall, to the incredible museums, and the simply unforgettable Brandenburg Gate. The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most recognisable features in Europe, if not the world, and it symbolises power, unity, glory, peace and reunification all at the same time. When I walked under it for the first time it gave me goosebumps. To think that I will (all being well) run under it as I approach the finish line in September will be nothing short of utterly overwhelming. Berlin has so much else to see too, and when I did a city tour there it was the best I’ve ever been on. – Go, if you haven’t been, is all I’ll say.


So having rekindled my blog, I’ll update it weekly or I so like I did for New York. There’s no training partner this time, so just me myself and I. But I’m not short of motivation, desire, or the excitement of all that Berlin has to offer. Tickets/flights/hotel all booked, and it is time for the hard work to properly get underway………hopefully no cartilage injuries or lost key issues this time, but with me anything is possible! Watch this space……