Woman in summer running clothes and with pink kneeboard runs over a concrete halbrund

Marathon Training

Aiming big with a marathon

Marathon training takes a great deal of motivation

Tie your running shoes and get going. It's not always that easy. Sometimes you just don't have the drive, time or motivation it takes. We managed to get some info directly from the Hahner twins.

From start to finish it's 26.219 miles. For many ambitious hobby runners, this distance is such a major goal that a lot of passion goes into preparing. Anyone who makes it to the finish line, no matter how long it takes, knows why all those months of training were worth it. Crossing the finish line releases all sorts of emotions, and the ordeals of the preparation phase are forgotten. Nevertheless, getting there is a difficult journey. Training for the longest Olympic running event alongside a full-time job is tough. This is why runners should set smaller stage goals for themselves. Even the fastest marathon twins in the world – Anna and Lisa Hahner – do the same. Anna und Lisa Hahner.

"Setting stage goals allows you to experience lots of small successes along the way that bring you a step closer to the big goal."

These two successful marathon runners even divide their competitive runs into five-kilometer stages. This makes the end seem not so far away. During a marathon, Anna also imagines "how cool it will be to cross the finish line." Thinking in small units can have a lot of positive effects: This is doubly true for running. Even if you don't have much time, a brief training unit is always better than nothing.

Stick with it!

Endurance sports are for people with drive – they don't lose sight of their goals. Regardless of determination, even the most passionate and disciplined runners often face major challenges during training phases. An effective tip: seek out a running partner or even join a whole group of runners. During phases when it's not going very well, training partners can help to motivate one another. The secret behind this is simple and easy to put into practice. Everyone finds it harder to cancel a fixed meeting time arranged with other running enthusiasts, even if your motivation is flagging that day or the weather is lousy. If you manage to don your running shoes anyway, you will be twice as proud after exercising.

"Running in a group is something all runners enjoy – you can make a plan and chat before, during and after the run. Everyone benefits from this."

Even pros have tricks

Visualizing goals has never hurt. This could be a well-organized training plan where runners record their training units. But even five sticky notes on the refrigerator that stand for five runs in the coming week can give an extra motivational push. Once a training session has been completed, the note goes in the trash – even tearing off the note and throwing it in the trash is enjoyable. And if a Post-it is left hanging, every marathon runner or future hopeful knows what needs to be done the following week. A wellness trick that even Anna and Lisa know and use: Reward yourself for the work you do!

"After very intense running sessions, it's important to have something to look forward to even while you're running so you can really step on the gas for the final yards."

These could be a wide variety of things. Some people look forward to a piece of cake – like Anna and Lisa, who have quite a sweet tooth. But for others it could be a pair of new running shoes, a trip to a restaurant in the evening or a visit to the sauna afterwards that also helps regeneration.

"After intense training, you have to give your body time to recover. You should only continue training after a period of regeneration, which is part of training itself, otherwise your performance curve will not improve."

This includes regular and sufficient sleep, healthy nutrition, sauna visits, maybe a physical therapy session or massage. It is important for every runner to internalize that a stressful workday is not regeneration. So listen to your bodies, be attentive and don't ignore any signs. And if your motivation is lacking, think about this: The feeling after a successful training session is primarily your own sense of satisfaction, which is priceless: Whether you ran 26 miles or just around the block.