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Conquering the Berlin Marathon: A Coach's Journey and Guide

Welcome to the world of long-distance running and, let’s say, Guten Tag to the flat and fast Berlin Marathon. As a running coach and a participant in this iconic race, I am excited to share insights on securing your spot, preparing for the challenge, and unraveling the unique elements that make the Berlin Marathon an unforgettable experience.

How to Get Into Berlin Marathon:

Securing a spot in the Berlin Marathon can be a dream come true for many runners, given its reputation as one of the World Marathon Majors. Here are a few ways to gain entry:

  • General Entry Lottery: Each year, thousands of slots are available for public registration. Keep an eye on the official Berlin Marathon website for announcements regarding the opening of the lottery registration.

  • Charity Entries: Several charitable organizations offer guaranteed entries in exchange for fundraising efforts. This is a great opportunity to contribute to a cause close to your heart while securing your place in the race.

  • Tour Operators and Travel Packages: Some tour operators and travel agencies offer marathon packages that include race entry, accommodation, and other amenities.

  • Second-Chance Lottery System: The Berlin Marathon also employs a second-chance lottery system, which gives hopeful runners a chance to be randomly selected for entry. This is actually how Coach Christine gained her entry.

Training for the Berlin Marathon:

Training for a Fall marathon requires dedication, consistency, and a well-structured plan, but if you are training in a part of the world experiencing a sweltering summer, it can be even more challenging. As a coach, here are some tips to help you prepare for the Berlin Marathon:

  • Start Early: Ideally, begin training at least 16 to 20 weeks before the race day. This allows for gradual progression and reduces the risk of injuries. However, in those hot summer months, it’s important to start “early” with those early morning runs, or you could choose to go “late” by hitting those miles at night. Either way, stay consistent with those miles and train safely by hitting up the times of day that aren’t quite as hot.

  • Build Mileage Gradually: Gradually increase your weekly mileage, incorporating long runs, speed workouts, and recovery runs. A mix of different training types will enhance your overall fitness.

  • Cross-Training and Rest: Incorporate cross-training activities like swimming, cycling, or yoga to give your running muscles a break. Additionally, prioritize rest and recovery days to prevent overtraining.

  • Practice Pacing: Develop a sense of pace during your training runs. Understanding your pace will help you gauge your performance during the race and avoid burnout. Incorporating goal mileage pacing into runs and workouts can be a game-changer to help your race day be as “fast” on those “flat” roads as possible. Here is a great workout to include during your Berlin Marathon training.

However, again a summer caveat is to be mindful that pacing during the hot summer months can be challenging, and your pacing may need to slow down to stay safe. Take a screenshot of this image as a good reference.

Race week and day logistics: Where to stay: Very much like Chicago, Berlin is a dream when it comes to transportation. With the start and finish lines being close, staying within distance of a train station within the city proper should be all you need for a successful race morning!

However, if you are staying farther away in the suburbs or surrounding metro area, be aware of road closures and give yourself plenty of time to get to your starting corral on race day. Expo: The expo was in Coach Christine’s estimation a bit lackluster. Smaller than the other majors but still well-organized.

Sightseeing: If you want to do some sightseeing, sign up for one of the boat tours. Sensing a theme? Well, all of these majors have great river tours! So why not take advantage of it!. They book up quickly on marathon weekends, so reserve yours soon!

Do the official shake-out run! This year they are bringing it back so that you finish your fun run at the Berlin Olympic Stadium. Exhilarating and a one-of-a-kind experience. Wanna learn more? Head over to the podcast to hear about this race weekend's unique aspects.

Race Day: This is what you trained for, friend, trust your training and go get that medal.

To Oktoberfest or not to Oktoberfest: YES! If that is your thing, take your medal and head to Oktoberfest in Munich and enjoy!

The Berlin Marathon is more than just a race; it celebrates human resilience and determination. As a coach and a runner, I can attest to the unparalleled experience this event offers. From the thrill of securing a spot to crossing the finish line at the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Marathon is an unforgettable journey of self-discovery and accomplishment.

So, lace up your running shoes, set your sights on the horizon, and let the roads of Berlin lead you to victory!

Have questions or want to learn more about incorporating speed workouts into your training? Sign up for the TFB Training newsletter or drop a message over to

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