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.
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!