10 motivational tricks from the Hahner twins: Anna and Lisa Hahner on running and marathons

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Twin sisters Anna and Lisa Hahner appear on the running scene as the Hahner Twins - usually seen together. There's more to it than a marketing strategy - which, however, was also criticized at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. summarizes their motivational tricks, from setbacks to a successful return: Anna Hahner finished fifth at the Berlin Marathon 2017.

Anna (l.) und Lisa Hahner erklären, wie sie aus ihrer sportlichen Krise 2016 herausfanden.
Anna (l.) und Lisa Hahner erklären, wie sie aus ihrer sportlichen Krise 2016 herausfanden.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Anna and Lisa Hahner crossed the finish line together, hand in hand, smiling - even though their time (2:45:32) and place (81st and 82nd) gave them little reason to be happy. A debate began about their performance, which was criticized as a marketing campaign with little sporting value.


Anna Hahner succeeds in the comeback: 5th place at the Berlin Marathon 2017.

Her sponsors see the participation at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio as positive on balance, at least with the time gap - the beautiful pictures should speak for themselves. Adidas manager Götz Hohaus speaks of a "great experience" when, at the slide show in the showroom of Keller Sports in Munich, the two frame themselves - that is, stand in front of their so controversial picture of the finish in Rio.

Anna and Lisa Hahner have come out of the hole that marathon runners fell into after Rio 2016. Anna Hahner made the standard for the European Championships at the BMW Berlin Marathon 2017 with 5th place in 2:28:32 hours. The Hahner Tw ins have a new, common goal: Olympics 2020.

Sponsor of the Hahner Twins: Why BMW is betting on marathon instead of soccer >>>.

At the invitation of their outfitter adidas, Anna and Lisa Hahner gave a motivational talk at the get-together as part of the Running Challenge at Keller Sports Munich . was there - and describes: These ten motivational measures help marathon runners and ambitious endurance athletes.

1. change your life - start right now!

In the case of the Hahner twins, it was a talk by Joey Kelly, the Kelly Family's endurance freak, that sparked Anna and Lisa Hahner, who until then had played table tennis at the club. "The talk impressed us so much that as soon as we got out of it, we said: Now we start running," Anna Hahner recounts.

They started running training the next day, relatively late at the age of 17, "and six months later we already won our first half marathon," in a respectable 1:29 h.

The first motivational phrase comes from Anna Hahner: "If you want to change something in your life: don't put it off, start right away."

Der gemeinsame, aber nicht von allen Seiten gefeierte, Zieleinlauf der Hahner-Twins bei den Olympischen Spielen in Rio.
Der gemeinsame, aber nicht von allen Seiten gefeierte, Zieleinlauf der Hahner-Twins bei den Olympischen Spielen in Rio.
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2. talent is the sum of potential and training!

The Hahner twins quickly celebrated their first running successes - even though they didn't have this sport in their genes, their parents hadn't presented them with any running careers. "Prodigies are not born as such, they are made to be," says Anna Hahner.

Together with Lisa, she has now been to training camp in Kenya five times - and is taken by the Africans' willpower every time. "Haile Gebrselassie," perhaps the world's best long-distance runner of modern times, "ran ten kilometers to school and ten back every day," Lisa Hahner says.

3 Live for your dreams!

The motivation with which African children start running has inspired the Hahner twins. "They all want to become like Haile, and to do that, they just start running, every day," Lisa says.

Her number 3 motivational trick: "Find a goal worth fighting for every day. Live for making your dreams happen one day. Do everything for it."

Read here: These are the 5 most beautiful marathons in Europe>>>.

4. Big goals and pain change you. Embrace it.

The marathon final at the Olympics in Rio was the lifelong dream for Anna and Lisa Hahner - and went quite differently than hoped. Anna tore her muscles during the race, and the race was over for her.

The following weeks were painful - for mind and soul, for body and head. The big goal was gone, the pain remained, it even got bigger. "I had to learn to deal with it, to look ahead," Anna Hahner recalls.

She started with mental training. "I realized that setbacks are an opportunity - to change."

5. use the reset button - for new thoughts!

Several weeks of running ban, at least physical - that's when Anna Hahner started a head cinema experiment: "I started running mentally - without actually being able to run physically. She imagined training conditions, even in distant training camps. While bad weather set in with the fall in Germany, Anna Hahner thought her way to the track in New Zealand. She sat down, closed her eyes and suggested to her body "that now I'm running 400 meter intervals on the track."

Suddenly, Anna Hahner shuddered: "I brought images of training into my head. It was as if I had lactate in my legs. The body thought it was training hard right now." When she returned to training on Jan. 1, "it felt like I had just run yesterday and was fully in training" - which was actually four months ago.

Read here: The 10 best tips for buying running shoes >>>.

6. looking ahead!

Lisa Hahner had experienced a similar fate two years earlier. She had been working towards a new best time at the Hanover Marathon in April 2014, but then it came to an end after 45 minutes at kilometer 12. She sat on the side of the course, cried, and was exhausted.

Back at the hotel, she read a text message from her twin sister Anna: "Cheer up, princess - otherwise the crown will fall off!" Lisa says today, "In moments like this, you have to look ahead and set new goals."

7. Set SOS points!

Anna Hahner clarifies the SOS principle with her example - so how she got out of the hole after Rio 2016.

The first S stands for self-confidence: "You always have to know what you can do, what you've already accomplished - and realize it."

The O stands for optimism: "When the curve goes down, read from it that you're just getting the momentum to get back up," says Anna Hahner.

The second S stands for self-determination: "I can change everything if I just want to," says Lisa Hahner.

And the P in SOS points stands for change of perspective: "You can always learn something from others," says Lisa Hahner. "The most beautiful image in this context for me is walking backwards. That's progress through regression." Because the step backward is only an apparent one.

Anna Hahner schaffte es beim Berlin-Marathon 2017 auf Platz 5 – und setzt auch ihren Sponsor BMW in Szene.
Anna Hahner schaffte es beim Berlin-Marathon 2017 auf Platz 5 – und setzt auch ihren Sponsor BMW in Szene.
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8. the pizza tactic: Set yourself stage goals!

A marathon race consists of 42.195 kilometers - a daunting distance at first glance. Anna and Lisa Hahner divide it up "as in pizza corners: Eight times 5 kilometers and an encore of 2.195 kilometers at the end. And after each 5-kilometer stage finish, we put a check mark on it and say to ourselves, 'Done - on to the next piece!'

This makes the race seem shorter and the distance more surmountable. Another trick: On each of those 5-kilometer sections, they have a song line that accompanies them on that leg. In training sometimes with earphones, in the competition (where these are forbidden) then humming. "That makes the long stretch more bearable," says Anna Hahner.

9 Your body is your capital - pay attention to nutrition!

"You have to imagine what kind of relationship Germans have with their cars," says Anna Hahner, "most of them check them 1-2 times a year, care for and polish them, and even pay attention to what kind of gas they feed them." And with their own bodies? If very few people listen to the alarm signals, they at least pay attention to their diet.

Lisa Hahner: "Thereby it is completely simple, if you ask yourself: Do I want to consist of what I eat there straight also to large parts?" Who likes to be an arduous running pork knuckle?

The Hahner Twins' nutrition tips: little industrial sugar, more foods in their basic form, spelt flour instead of wheat products, lots of (diverse) vegetables.

10. enjoyment instead of renunciation: treat yourself to your chocolate!

Finally, some extra motivation: the Hahner Twins are not ascetics who don't indulge. "We love chocolate," says Lisa Hahner, "and that's okay. If the body gets enough healthy nutrients, you're allowed to sin every now and then."

After all, she says, it takes a lot more effort to muster the willpower to fight the temptation every time. Deliberately indulging every now and then, for example after a particularly good day of training, on the other hand, is motivating, he says. "The important thing is that if you decide to have something, for example chocolate in the evening, then enjoy it."

Gunnar Jans ist Chefredakteur von ISPO.COM Author: Gunnar Jans