April 2016

Haspa Hamburg Marathon Training Diaries: The Countdown Begins

As this post goes live, this time in two weeks I will have completed my first marathon.

The nerves have kicked in, the butterflies in my stomach are ever so present. Every time I think about the marathon, read that previous sentence again. When I ran my first half marathon, the emotions I went through were nothing like this. It was probably more about dreading the early wake up more than anything else; races are the only thing that will get me out of bed before 9am on a Sunday morning!  

If you’ve not run a marathon before, I can only liken these feelings to those before an exam. But don’t get me wrong, amongst the nerves, there’s plenty of excitement as this will be my first of many things: my first time in Hamburg, my first time in Germany, my first (real) solo holiday, my first marathon.  


Before the taper began, I was struggling to reach my daily hydration targets, so I decided to quit caffeine. I’m also flavouring my water with cucumber or Nuun tabs. These are a life-saver and have helped me to get back on track with hydrating.   

Quitting the java just when the two four-working day weeks began was really hard because I was working longer hours last week and not getting enough sleep, meaning I was so tired. Usually if I get enough sleep, my zombie mode coffee cravings will disappear. I’m writing this, sitting in a coffee shop and the smell of coffee beans isn’t helping…  

Currently I don’t feel too sluggish but I do have a feeling that the last two weeks of the taper will be hard because of the reduction in training. I’m going to feel so restless, but let’s hope all that restlessness and energy is well-reserved for the big day.  


Training for a marathon abroad has led to me being (or rather, trying to be) super-organised. Normally, I just pack my bag the night before and have a quick double check the morning of the race. With this being abroad, I can’t obviously do that. I’ve had to plan everything from what I’m going to eat for breakfast, what underwear I’m going to wear during the marathon to what clothes I’ll wear the next day (because I’ll probably want to be in something very comfy) in advance. I even looked at the date of the marathon when booking, to ensure it wouldn’t take place during my period. Read here why. I have purchased my baby food running fuel and that will be delivered to the hotel, so one less thing to pack.  

I’m packing two possible outfits to wear on the day, based on the weather. If it’s cold, I’ll be wearing my favourite Asics long tights, a tshirt and a cheap running jacket (I’ll throw it away during the race if I get too warm). If it’s warm running weather, I’ll be wearing a t-shirt, possibly the jacket and shorts. I’m hoping the sun will come out to play on Race Day.   If you’ve got any tips for me and others, whether it’s about running abroad, places to visit in Hamburg or about Race Day, don’t forget to write a comment below or tweet me. Good luck to everyone running in all the upcoming marathons. We’ve got this.  

Not read my previous updates? You can find update one, two and three.     

Mara xxx