What should be my first marathon

My first marathon: How a running runner became a marathon runner

Exercise is healthy, there are many amateur athletes. For some, the ultimate goal is to run a marathon. What do you need for that? A report from our author Volkhart Rudert.

Marathon - do I have to do this to myself? No, you don't have to do that to yourself, but you may well want to one day. It could be that you are one of around 120,000 marathon runners (Marathon runners) that exist in Germany. That you want to say of yourself: “I ran a marathon”.

In the age group between 30 and 60 years there are about 2.5 marathons for every thousand Germans. Do you know one of them in your circle of acquaintances? What kind of people are they? Crazy? Masochists? Not at all, and to show you, I'll tell you how my first marathon came about.

Running a marathon: The first attempt can also fail

From my profile you can see that I have a normal athletic youth I was allowed to experience and then always did something for my physical fitness afterwards. When the center of my life moved from Cologne to Merdingen am Tuniberg due to work in 1982, I continued this habit by becoming a member of the TV Ihringen; a great "she and he" gymnastics group kept the body fit and created important social contacts in a new environment, and Alemannic dialect needs to be learned first.

One day I heard a story that moved me: One year after a heart attack a then 53-year-old member of the gymnastics group is said to have run the Black Forest Marathon. That interested me immediately and I used the club's Christmas party in 1984 to talk to him. During rehabilitation, he came across a young doctor who had recommended that he and others should actively be built up through controlled and pulse-monitored running.

This gentle running training ended with the recommendation to take part in a small fun run if you feel like it. It was all more than a year ago and the former heart attack patient had become a very successful runner who ran his first marathon in October 1984 in the Black Forest in a time of 3:25.

From recreational jogger to marathon runner

At that time, my running ambitions were limited to six kilometers with the running club that I ran once a week. With this in mind, I boldly arranged to meet the amazing marathon runner, whom I would now like to call Bernd *, for a training run the morning after the Christmas party.

I wanted to know if I could train like him; I wanted to have tried at least over a shorter distance of 15km. Even this first run showed me my limits, because the way to the Totenkopf with the Neunlindenturm in the Kaiserstuhl climbs quite steeply when coming from the east my legs failed, I had to go to the top. Bernd, however, ran up there lightly, was twenty or thirty meters away, stopped, turned around and called out to me: “Ha, what is it? Do you drink alcohol? "

In the following years my endurance got better and better through regular runs and the running distance was extended. Smaller competitions followed, and in April 1985 my wife gave me the book "Marathon Training" for my birthday Manfred Steffny. So I started to train systematically according to one of the training plans described there.

The training progress was through 25km competitions, a half marathon in Badenweiler and a few 10km runs confirmed; A standard 9km lap was run three times in a row and one fine day at the end of August 1985 I ran this route four times in a row and added the 6km of the running meeting lap: That was my first marathon in training in four hours.

Six weeks later, at the age of 46, I was at the start of the Black Forest Marathon in Bräunlingen in the morning with my running friend Bernd; after 3 hours 8 minutes and a few seconds I crossed the finish line again. A new, enthusiastic marathon runner was born.

Everyone can run - the enemy of success is impatience

While most marathon debutants aim to to manage the route at all and many middle-aged people dream of running under 4 hours, I immediately achieved a surprisingly good result with a time close to the imaginary 3-hour limit. In retrospect, many beneficial coincidental factors contributed to this: growing up during the war years and then from 1945 to 1949 in the Soviet occupation zone, there was never any danger of being overweight.

Instead, all the ways to school, to friends, for small errands and also the Indian games popular at the time were always covered. I can still well remember that during the time in the first grades at the grammar school in Detmold (North Rhine-Westphalia), i.e. the fifth to the eighth grade, I mostly walked the 2.5 km to school with my satchel on my back and then Back then there were small, galvanized ash buckets on the sidewalks once a week. They might have been 40-45cm high.

I still have the rhythm in my ears today: one-two-three jump, run, one-two-three jump, run ... what a wonderful run-jump training. By the time we get to school, there will be 50 to 60 jumps.

Marathon basis: Regular and constant endurance training

Once a week gymnastics evening, once athletics and once handball training, once a song and discussion evening for the youth department; At the weekend, gymnastics or athletics competitions and handball games in series are very frequent. Since the way to the gym, also as a meeting point before bus trips, was always covered on foot, every day, including the way to school, at least 12 km came together. That was a regular basic endurance training.

At the age of 13 I became the proud owner of a used bicycle with a “health handlebar”, one sat upright and the two handles pointed past the body on the right and left; this bike did not have a gear shift. As young people we used bikes like this to go to venues up to 15km away and had to overcome the steep ascent to the Gauseköte in the Teutoburg Forest (18% gradient) on the way from Detmold to Schlangen without gears.

The handball game in the morning and a gymnastics competition in Detmold in the afternoon, you had to show up on time. But what else did we have at that time besides our sport; the gymnastics club was home and community. This way of life has certainly laid a good foundation for any type of endurance sport.

After graduating from high school, I was drafted into the Armed Forces in Sonthofen in the Allgäu; Both on the short weekends (closed on Saturday at 12:00) and on the long weekends (closed on Friday at 5:00 p.m.) we went on mountain tours in small groups and on ski tours in winter. Again, subconsciously, additional training to normal duty.

I wanted to have said this beforehand because not everyone who wants to decide to jog or who has started jogging right now has such good qualifications. In my next text I would like to bring you closer to what you can learn from my experiences!

* Name changed by the editor