“We love the marathon with every fiber of our body”

“We love the marathon with every fiber of our body”

Anna and Lisa Hahner have a common passion for running.

On asphalt roads, through forests, uphill, downhill – for Anna and Lisa Hahner, the perfect running trail is, above all, varied.

When Anna and Lisa Hahner run a marathon, they are completely in their own world. As soon as the race has begun, they take in only little of what is around them and are highly focused. Their only goal is to finish the race successfully and in their best time. During training, very different things are important: the twins want variety and new perspectives.

Trusting your own ability

“Sometimes, our training involves running backwards – we just build it into our normal endurance run, and it means we can train other muscle groups,” says Anna. “It also serves as mental training. When you can’t see where you’re running, you have to trust yourself and your ability. You look behind you, see that the coast is clear, and then run.” Simple yet effective – this is an easy way to change your perspective and increase variety during training.

You see that the coast is clear, and then run.

A training route involving very different challenges is also just as important. Asphalt is certainly a key aspect for both of them, but they also like to run in the forest, for example. “We use the forest runs to practice running uphill and then really speed up on the descent.” The forest floor is also soft and the uneven paths across stones and roots train different muscle groups.

They regularly incorporate steps or stairs into their training, since these demand a set length of stride and the body has to activate the necessary energy reserves. This keeps training interesting as there is always something new to discover. And varied training like this challenges the body with new stimuli every time, helping them to improve and become faster.

Athletic highlight

Their favorite distance, the marathon, takes the twins to all manner of places and to the most exciting competition circuits. A real highlight of Anna and Lisa’s running careers, however, was without doubt the race at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. They trained for this competition for years – it was their biggest sporting moment to date.

Not finishing the race is not an option.

However, in the end, not everything was as they had dreamed. “It was a terrible day. As an athlete, you just always want to perform at your best and when you just can’t on the very day it actually matters, then it’s obviously very frustrating,” says Lisa, looking back.

One year before Rio, Anna had a tendon problem, which she didn’t give enough time to heal properly. She paid the price after the Olympic marathon: she had to take a four-and-a-half-month break and wasn’t allowed to run a single step. Nevertheless, she says that this time wasn’t without its positives and that she learned some important lessons during this period: “You have to listen to your body and take care of your health. Wanting something too much and too intensely doesn’t work. You need peace and calm – everything runs more smoothly with a lighter approach at times. Unfortunately, this fell by the wayside before the Olympics.“

Everything runs more smoothly with a lighter approach at times.

The next goal in mind

The twins are now looking into the future with motivation and their training is even more varied. A typical training week for them consists of around 14 endurance sessions, which can be a combination of one running session a day and cycling, swimming, strength training, or coordination exercises – for which they like balancing on a tight rope, TRX training, or practicing yoga.

For 2017, their big goal is the Vienna ‘Herbstmarathon’ in the fall and Anna is especially motivated after her injury. Her best time is 2:26:44, Lisa’s is 2:28:39 – and they want, at the very least, to achieve these times again. “We both know how amazing it feels to cross the finishing line with these times. And of course we want to experience that feeling again in the fall,” says Anna.