Berlin Marathon

Any previous runners on here. I’m doing in in September and figured I’d better check out what’s available on the course. When I’ve done London in the past I’ve generally carried 3 gels and then grabbed some sports drink on the way round and a couple of the lucozade gels for my energy needs.

Tried to look at what is on the course but at the moment its looking like those zany germans are at it again lol. I saw only one place listing a gel pick up and other had pictures of fruit so not sure if it means literal bananas on course. Also, didn’t really see much mention of sports drink, just something called ‘better’ which wasn’t clear if it was a sports energy drink or a witches brew?

Any past runners have on course experience?

I will be joining you on the start line so following with interest

Did Berlin a few years ago, carried my own gels so cannot help on that front. There were water and sports drink stations, from memory every 2.5 miles for water and sports drink at every 3rd.

Only used water and my own gels.

Seem to recall the aid stations were much shorter than other similar sized marathons and hence a bit of a bunfight. The killer though the year I ran it, water was provided in small plastic cups so for 400m after each station the road was littered with plastic cup and slippery as you like.

Thanks Mossimus. I think the sports drink provider this year is ‘Beetster’ Im guessing they will provide plastic cups at each stop with either Beetster or water in a cup so guessing maybe 150 ml in a cup? Do you think that sounds about right?

Just trying to plan some race day nutrition. Ideally I’d go for a gel every 20 minutes so 7x gels but thinking might become a bit impractical to carry that many. Think I can fit 3 in my race shorts pocket then wondering whether to carry one in each hand and then grab two at the gel station or swap some out for beetster drink. I don’t really like wearing anything extra like a gel belt. Did think about getting a small arm ‘bandage’ and sliding some gels in there

Hi, I did Berlin last year and doing it again this year, they had fruit sections, where they had tables of chopped bananas, they also do a beetster drink, i didn’t like it at all, they had a couple of gel stations, they also had warm tea at some of the drink stations, which was rather nice, i’ve tried beet it on a few runs and it’s not too nice tbh, an acquired taste if you get me.

As someone mentioned above, the roads get littered with the plastic cups, and at the beetster station the roads are slippery as an eel.

it’s a great day, just a quick reminder that the race doesn’t finish at the brandenburg gate, it goes about 200m past it so don’t go all guns there, also don’t forget to take your timing chip off, after the run and after collecting bag/poncho, there are bins to put it in on the way out.

basically enjoy it, it’s a great race and the support most of the way round is as good as london.

thanks for the input guys. Im currently wondering what’s going to be the best tactic regarding gels. From what I can tell they will only have one station at 27-ish km. Wondering whether to try to carry 5 and then grab two at the one station. Little disappointing only the one station but looking forward to the race none-the-less:)

also looking forward to it although work has been a complete shit fest for the last 6 weeks so training has fallen off a cliff - gonna try and bluff my way to sub 4 - lets see how that goes.

i’d take one just on the start line, that’ll see you through the first hour once it kicks in, I tend to use tailwind on the route so that gives me a small boost and carry 2 gels and 2 shot blocks then pick up two at the gel stop, i take a gel on 7k, a shot block on 14k, a gel on 20k a second shot block on 27k, the two i pick up go in around 31k and 36k. good luck though anyone running, i’m aiming for around the 4.30 time, not going to go out all guns as i have a 2nd mara in 4 weeks.

Yeah im planning one at the start and then one every 5 km. The Air BnB we are stopping at is right on mile 10 so wondering whether to ask the missus to throw some at me there but not sure if will struggle to see her.

I like shot blocks but only as a bike food. Struggle to chew much when running anything other than a trail run jog so stick to the gels.

Sub-2:40 target for me. Number 36959 if anyone wants to see how spectacularly I blow up around mile 20 haha.

You guys know your race numbers yet?


How did you all get on?

Unbelievable run from Bekele, 2secs off the WR!! What were conditions like?

Edit: just found itom150s result… congratulations! :grinning:

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Yeah congrats @itom150 that was one serioulsy impressive run! I must admit, your build up went under my radar a tad, i ahd no idea you were aiming for a sub 2.40. But you absolutely nailed it.

Any takeaways from the build up and/or race?

Cheers guys. Couldn’t be happier with results. My main target was a 2:39 for a club standard. 2:37:12 was a dream goal and 2:45 would be a salvage goal. I didn’t in all honesty think I could hold 6:00 miles all the way but my logic was get as far as I could and if I made it to mile 20 I’d still have about a minute a mile spare to at least get a champs place.

The course:

I can’t envisage a faster course than Berlin. There’s barely a slope in it and it felt like there were more downhills to spin the legs and get some free speed. The conditions were good with the temperature and not much wind but not perfect. Heavy rain for last 10 km but Berlin is a pretty rainy place from what I gather. You have to focus and look ahead to avoid getting boxed in and I imagine it gets the worse the further back you go but it certainly seemed better than London. There’s still the people who think hot lava is either side of the blue line unfortunately. Even when they’ve blown at mile 22 and are running 5:00+ km’s!

Can’t say much on the aid stations. I took 8 SiS gels every 5 km from 0 km to 40, carrying 5 on the run and my wife passing me two at 16 km Luckily our AirBnB was literally 30 seconds off the course. If I drank 100 ml of water total from two cups id be surprised but simply didn’t need it and no stitch was good results!

Berlin is a great city. Easy to get around on the transport. Food is cheap (€6-7 for a big plate of excellent quality pasta or pizza. As good as anything twice or more the price you get in London on Marathon weekend!). Support on the course is also excellent. Maybe not quite London but never run London is conditions as poor as this for spectators.

The course is as interesting as London. Lots of landmarks, some area that are just city places but always changing and some nice tree lined avenues.

I ran just about to pace but kept an eye on HR. Z3 is 157-167 and Z4 (threshold) is 168-174 for me. I kept an eye and first 10k was low 160’s and let it drift up staying Z3 to half way then up to 30km just stay at the edge of Z4. From 30 km it was let it do what it wants which was mostly Z4. Felt strong throughout but tired in places in the second half as had waves of fatigue and energy but was overtaking a lot in the second half. I ran all my 5km splits with 40 S of each other, my fastest was 30-35 km (18:13) and ran a 30 second negative split.

Training wise I based it Jack Daniels 2Q principles of 2 high quality work outs per week and then everything else easy. I’d previously tried his 71-85 mile per week which went well for 6 weeks then I got injury. One long run a week is good but the second can be hard to fit in around work (especially in winter!). This year I looked at the 55-70 mile program and sort of mixed the two. I mostly did Q1 from the higher mileage week and Q2 I would basically look at the quality part of the session (such as the reps) and build a session around that, moving the long sections of easy running to another day. I also wasn’t precious about the sessions such as one week a session of 2x 5k threshold then 3 k threshold was just swapped out for a mid week 10 km road race or I would just replace an interval session with a track session at my club which would often consist of 3 mile easy run to and from the club and do whatever session the coach prescribed (I’d use JD VDOT pace guides as a target though and if I was consistently going a bit faster than the reps take it!). At the the end of the day training is training and whether you run 8x 800 m or 2x 1200, 3x 800, 4x 400 m your body probably does the same reaction. I also learned to focus on quality this year. Between reps, if it said 1:00 rest but thought I’d be more likely to hit the speed of the 800 if I took 1:30 rest I’d take it. At the end of the day your body doesn’t care which you do.

Also, crazy mileage isn’t the be all and end all. I averaged 60-65 mile weeks with a peak of 80 on week. No double days (except a couple time when had to run 2 mile each way to train station, not really been cycling this year (including turbo training) but have done quite a lot of walking which probably added 10-15 miles per week)

Finally. Eat! Your body will thank you more for those extra 200 g of carbs than gain half a pound will. I’m 6’ 2” and 82 kg so no lightweight runner. We walked quite a bit on the three days before the marathon, Garmin says average of 25,000 steps a day. On Thursday I ran 5.5 miles very easy and saturday a 24:00 parkrun. Rested Friday. Probably ate 3500 kcal Thursday and Friday and Saturday about 4,000 kcal including 600 g of carbs so about 7.5 g/kg body weight. Race day was Peanut butter banana toast and porridge so about 700-800 kcal 3 hours before race, sipped water to start then gels:)

Any questions be happy to answer. This was my 9th marathon. People often say you nail it on your 7th but I feel like I’m still learning! I don’t think I’ve had a bad one yet (excluding my first Snowdonia trail marathon which was equal parts love and hate!) so am sure I’ll cock it up at some point!


Great write up there, thanks

Great race report and a brilliant race result :+1:

Bloody great result!!!

That body composition allays my fears - I’ve felt people looking at me on the start line before, I always feel a bit self conscious, lining up at the front, with all the whippets!

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The thing that did it for me is I was at the night of the 10,000 PBs watching the A-races and they arnt all tiny. One that stuck in my mind was jip vastenburg. She was a lot bigger than the other girls and still ran sub-34. Her wiki says she is 59 kg and I don’t think that’s anywhere near accurate.

Could I run faster if I starved myself and lost another 5 kg. Maybe, maybe not but I’m happy being able to eat socially, enjoy food, not have any issues with bone density etc and happy with myself. And losing weight wouldn’t be a guarantee of going any faster anyway. I’m never going to run for GB so why be lighter!


Congratulations on your Berlin result, fantastic run! Like gb your form went under the radar a bit for me too, I guess that shows how important consistency is for a marathon - hero sessions won’t get you nearly as far.

Great report.

Curious about your long runs. You mentioned two quality sessions a week, were any of those as part of a long run? I like to include MP efforts of gradually extending length as part of a long run on alternate weeks, but that probably is just a habit that comes from years of following P&D plans.

Great comments about energy/diet/life-style balance. I am a bit shorter (6’), probably a bit lighter on race days (~78kg) and a bit slower (2:39) but always feel a little out of place compared to the ectomorph body types which typically gather at the front of pens!


Great write up thanks. I’m running my 6th marathon in 3 weeks time. :rofl:

Also interested to hear about your long runs, i’ve been adding doses of 5-10km at mp into my 20 milers, generally towards the start/middle, but seem to struggle towards the end of my run. Not as quick as you … training for 4.10/k mp and easy pace just under 5/km so averaging out about 4.40/k for long runs. They have come mid volume though, no real tapering. Again… great result, well done.

Both Q sessions in the Jd plan are long runs but like I say I’d drop one to circa 8-10 mile with something like track work in the middle and easy either side.

The long weekend run was typically 15-20 mile. Probably every 4th was an easy Z2 HR run and the others often included about 30% of the run at threshold (such as 2x 2 mile) or longer periods of MP such as 50% MP or alternating MP and Threshold