Berlin; Third Time Lucky?

It’s confirmed! I’ll be heading back to Berlin in September to run the marathon. Hopefully, this time, I will actually run it.

Regular readers will know that I deferred my place from last year’s trip with adidas due to a niggling knee injury, but you may not know that I also had a ballot place for the Berlin marathon in 2014 too. I entered while I was out in Dubai but, having injured my knee (sense a theme here?) during VLM 2014, I wasn’t in a state to be running another marathon in the following autumn.

Berlin marathon is now a bit of a thorn in my side and, being stubborn, I just can’t let it drop.


To be completely honest with you, marathon running isn’t really for me. I work long hours and struggle to fit in the training. I always seem to get injuries and niggles with the longer miles and struggle to fit in the massages and strength training and yoga and sleep that it takes for my body to be ready. The thing with marathon training is that it is so much more than just running the miles. It’s an entire lifestyle change and requires a huge amount of commitment to do properly.

Soph, if you’re not in to marathons, why do you keep running marathons?” – you might ask. I don’t blame you, as I often ask myself this too. I run for fun and I don’t really find marathon training fun. As I’ve mentioned, I am pretty stubborn. I know, deep down, that these little legs are capable of a sub-4 hour marathon. I know that, for a lot of runners on the world wide web, that might not be a big deal, but I’ve run three marathons now and a sub-4 still eludes me. At present I have no ambitions to qualify for Boston or run all the majors, but I really do want to run a sub-4. I’d like to think that, once I’ve run a sub-4, I can put marathon running to bed and focus on doing the type of running I really enjoy (lovely trails and half marathons!).

So, 2016 is the year of the marathon. I made a promise to myself in January to do everything I can in order to achieve a sub-4 run in Berlin in September.

I started off by signing up for technique lessons at The Running School, to sort out my sore calf muscles and over striding issues. I’ve been working in the gym to build up strength in my legs and core (something I personally find necessary to prevent injuries) and I’ve also been working on my glutes on the instructions of coach Nick at the City branch of the Running School! Hopefully this will provide me with a strong base to start my training plan.

I’ve also been looking in to different training methods and, having followed Cathy and Sarah on their training journeys, have ordered the Hansons Marathon Method to read more about the Hansons method of training. Hansons looks like a really interesting way of training and, from previous experience, I know I am going to have to shake up my approach if I am going to make real progress. Cathy’s blog on the Hansons method is a really good overview.

I figured the next step in making this happen is to put it out there so, for the record, I will be running the Berlin marathon on 25 September 2016 and I am aiming to finish in under 4 hours. It’s on!




  1. March 31, 2016 / 1:27 pm

    You will totally crush it!
    First, because you’re committed to it. If you’re putting this much effort into it (and thinking it through at the same time, to avoid injuries) you will make it.
    Second, because Berlin is the best place for a fast marathon. It was the first marathon I ran which might skew my perception a little bit, but I also ran it again two years later with a sudden 28 degree heatwave and three giant blisters on my feet and still loved it. The course is fast and the crowd is amazing. They won’t let you run slow. 🙂
    And third, if you ran a PB during the half then this is the right marathon for you. I also ran my half marathon PB in Berlin and the marathon course is way better. SO excited for you!

    • prettyfit
      April 11, 2016 / 7:53 pm

      Ooh thank you so much Ann! It does look like an amazing marathon, so I am hoping the crowd will carry me!

  2. April 1, 2016 / 7:07 am

    Arrrgggghhhh EXCITING!! I said no marathons this year as I wanted to do other stuff but I’ve got major FOMO of everyone about to run a spring one. It’s the only thing that keeps me 100% focused on not just training but sleep, nutrition and yoga. I never look after myself as much as I do when marathon training. Enjoy the journey and go get that sub 4!

    • prettyfit
      April 11, 2016 / 7:54 pm

      I know, you can’t win can you?! When you don’t do one you get FOMO, but when you do train for one you missed everything else! One day maybe I’ll be superwoman and I’ll be able to do it all 🙂

  3. April 1, 2016 / 8:42 am

    This is super exciting Soph! I like to think I’m (hopefully) proving that Hansons is doable with a busy life, and it really does seem to be working for me- and I’m going to use it for the Barcelona Marathon next March! Can’t wait to see how your training goes and see you nail that sub-4!

    • prettyfit
      April 11, 2016 / 7:55 pm

      Thank you! Would love to chat to you actually about how you’ve modified it, and how you’re finding it? Fingers crossed for you in Barcelona!

  4. April 1, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    I’m running Berlin in Sept too. It’ll be my first marathon (I missed out on 2 last year due to injury). My goal is sub 4 (what is it about sub 4? It’s like a badge of honour) too. I’m a 44 year old bloke, married with a 13 year old daughter, who fell in love with running less than 3 years ago and a marathon is (all being well) a stepping stone to ultras – marathons are bit too obsessed with times, ultras less so – they seem to be more about just finishing (and DNF’s are apparently like a badge of honour). Keep up the good work (blog and running), fingers crossed we’re both on the start line in Berlin.

    • prettyfit
      April 11, 2016 / 7:58 pm

      What is it about sub-4?! It just feels like an achievable but still challenging target, despite it being completely arbitrary! Fingers crossed for you getting the sub-4 and on getting in to ultras too! I’ve always wanted to do an ultra but my body just doesn’t seem to stand up to the mileage!

  5. April 2, 2016 / 10:39 am

    Super exciting! Hope your training’s straightforward and injury free (imagine!) and you crush it come 25 September! Really interested to see how your training goes – and if the technique lessons make all the difference. Good luck!!

    • prettyfit
      April 11, 2016 / 7:58 pm

      Thank you – I can only hope!!

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