8 Tips for Your Upcoming Marathon

by Anna and Lisa Hahner (Hahner Twins),
German long-distance runners

Many dedicated runners have been working a long time towards one goal: the (first) marathon. The race can end up being quite a challenge…

How long is a marathon?

A full marathon is 42.195 km (26.2 mi). The marathon event is the longest track and field running discipline at the Olympic Games.

Are you thinking about training for a marathon? These 8 tips from the German long-distance runner twins, Anna and Lisa Hahner, will help you turn your upcoming race into a great experience.

Get all your nutrients

“You are what you eat.” Sound familiar? There is a lot of truth to this saying. A study conducted at Aalborg University in Denmark found that marathon runners who ate right crossed the finish line faster.(1) Whether it’s a tasty beet juice, oatmeal with nuts, or delicious falafel, try to only eat fresh, unprocessed products and make sure to prepare your own meals. You can’t cook? That’s no excuse – everyone one can learn how. Plus, you can look at it as training, improving your cooking skills step by step.

Jemand bereitet eine große Schüssel Müsli mit Obst vor

You should know …

It is important to pay attention to what you eat and when you eat it when you’re training for a marathon. For instance, before a run you should avoid foods that are hard to digest, like legumes. This way you will be sure to perform your best and find out which foods weigh you down and what energizes you. Here you can find helpful nutrition tips to prepare for the marathon.

Make sure you get the right amount of macronutrients: fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

Cross-training makes you run faster

When you are training for a race, you shouldn’t only focus on your legs. It’s especially important for runners that the core is a strong source of power. This area is connected with your arms and legs and provides stability. Your legs won’t tire as quickly and it’s a great way to prevent injuries.

Tip:

Bodyweight exercises are a very effective way to cross-train. You can get a full-body workout without any equipment at all. Exercises that give you the power you need for a marathon are Lunges, Bridge, and Squats. These will complement your regular running training perfectly.

Find what drives you

Before committing to marathon training, you should be clear on what is driving your to do it. Why do YOU want to run 42.195 km (26.2 mi)? Define your goal and stay focused on it. Don’t look for excuses during training. Keep at it, even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

The race is the reward for training. Yes, training is tough and exhausting – but the marathon is an amazing experience that you will never forget.

Try out different recovery techniques

After a long run – like a marathon – your thigh and calf muscles might be pretty tight. This is the time to focus on recovery. However, you should also focus on recovery during your training to perform your best. The following recovery techniques can relieve tight or sore muscles:

  • Sauna or warm baths
  • Stretching
  • Yoga

Important:

Plan recovery phases into your training (e.g. one day of training – one day recovery). This is the only way you’ll improve and see results.

Say goodbye to side stitches

You’ve got your nutrition plan, your personalized training plan, and all the necessary gear. Bursting with enthusiasm, you take off running – and are suddenly crippled by the dreaded side stitch. The only way you’ll be able to deal with the pain when it strikes is if you address the issue ahead of time: practice proper breathing techniques and check out more tips on side stitches while running.

Be prepared for everything

Power snacks, blister pads, sunscreen… Have you thought of everything? To help make your upcoming race a complete success, we have put together an equipment checklist for you. That way nothing can go wrong.

Tapering and the last 7 days before the race

Training for a marathon takes a lot time and energy. If you want to be able to run your best on race day, you should give your body the rest it needs before the race. Get great tips on tapering and learn what you need to pay attention to during the last 7 days before the race.

Train your mental toughness

You need a lot more than strong abs and legs: You also need to be mentally prepared. What we are talking about here is mental toughness. From the “High” to the “Twinge of Panic” to the “Silver Lining”: Do you know the 7 phases of a marathon? Be prepared for all the emotions you might experience during the race.

A marathon is like life. There are highs and lows – sometimes things go downhill, but there are incredible highlights, too. And that’s what you have to remember during a race. Think about the moment you cross the finish line; it is indescribable…

About Anna and Lisa Hahner:

The twin sisters Anna und Lisa, also known as the “Hahner Twins,” are German marathon runners. Their career began in 2012. Anna’s personal best in the 2014 Berlin Marathon was 2:26:44, Lisa finished the 2015 Frankfurt Marathon in 2:28:39. The Hahner Twins also ran for Germany in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

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