Interview with Elli Laufer about the Berlin Marathon
Written By: SportsShoes
Our German SportsShoes ambassador Elli is running the Berlin Marathon this year. We met up with her and asked her why she chose this race and what about it makes it so special for her?
"I believe the best way to explain my love of the Berlin Marathon is through two experiences. I ran the Berlin Marathon for the first time in 2019 before living in Berlin. There are three things that have stayed with me:
"For one thing, the start! Holy cow. This kind of atmosphere makes the adrenaline pump through your veins like crazy."
Even three years after the event, these things are still so vivid in my mind that I can not wait for this year's Berlin Marathon. For one thing, the start! Holy cow. This kind of atmosphere makes the adrenaline pump through your veins like crazy. The atmosphere, the party, the knowledge that a few metres ahead of you are the best-of -the-best in marathon running. You are going to share the same course on that day. Absolutely brilliant! Especially considering that the first kilometres of the Berlin Marathon already are pretty cool: Flat terrain, straight ahead and all the way towards the Victory Column. The second thing that makes the Berlin Marathon so special is the atmosphere alongside the track. In fact, the Cheering Points are where the real party is taking place. Those people really push you on and it is such a huge form of support. Because these points are so evenly spread out, it feels like you are getting cheered on during the entire race. At the Mall of Berlin/Potsdamer Platz (pretty much at the end of the race) another great party takes place: people are standing really close to the barriers and you run through as if in trance. Finally, the third point: the finish! Holy cow again. When I ran the marathon in 2019, the weather was really bad, just rain and wind. So at some point you were glad when it was getting close to the end. And honestly, I underestimated the final stretch.
''You are running through the Brandenburg Gate towards the finish line, the end is already in sight - this is such an emotional moment."
Out of nowhere, you turn left onto the street "Unter den Linden" and find yourself on the last few metres before the Brandenburg Gate. That gives you a real boost especially because there are so many people there cheering you on. You are running through the Brandenburg Gate towards the finish line, the end is already in sight - this is such an emotional moment. I'm really hyped for the Berlin Marathon 2022, especially after I volunteered at km 37 in 2021 and experienced how important it is to cheer on runners and how great the marathon atmosphere is from the other side. Berlin 2022, it will be a blast!"
As the Berlin Marathon is part of the "World Series", we asked Elli if she had run any of the other big marathons?
"That has never really been a goal of mine as I do not enjoy traveling long distances, I find many things too expensive and the organisation would be too much for me personally. But I have other marathons, also abroad, that I would like to run. The World Series is not necessarily on my list though."
How does your preparation for this marathon differ from other races?
"The important thing when preparing for a marathon is the long runs. The body has to get used to withstanding a certain amount of stress over a longer period of time. Of course, I start my training at a good level because I have been running very regularly for almost 10 years, but it is still important to integrate long runs consistently. 30-35 km is a good distance to aim for."
We were also interested in what time she was aiming for?
"I have not, in fact, set a target time for the Berlin Marathon. Firstly, it will be the first official marathon for me after the whole Corona lockdown phase and secondly, I am supporting a friend who wants to run a 03:45. The plan for me is to run it as a casual training marathon. My aim is actually to set a new PB a month later at the Frankfurt Marathon.
"The plan for me is to run it as a casual training marathon."
To be honest, chasing PB's is not that important for me. I prefer having fun and enjoying the race instead. If my legs are feeling good on the day, I might want to go for it and see what happens. Running and also the races are and will forever remain a passion of mine. I don't want to spoil them by adding needless performance pressure. I will simply play it by ear and see how it goes!"
Our last question to Elli is about her preparation for the marathon and if she has a specific training plan?
"I work best without a training plan. For many people, training according to a fixed plan works, but not for me. That being said, I still make sure to integrate certain parameters and types of training into my workouts. I do long runs (30-35km) to built the fitness level needed for long phases of running. I am also a fan of little running games. During my run, I sprinkle in different paces every now and then. Primarily, of course, the pace I want to run during the marathon. This gives me a feeling for the pace and makes the run more exciting and challenging. Then, about a year ago, I started adding strength training to my workout. This has been really important to me, and I am already noticing the progress. I train the whole body, but my main focus lies on upper body strength.
"Don't cry, just keep running!" - Pull yourself together, stay strong and enjoy the moment."
This allows me to use my upper body strength even more at higher pace during the race. Otherwise, just run, have fun and prepare yourself for the mental battle during the race. I can wholeheartedly recommend that you start anticipating various mental problems that might occur. The reason is that if your head is still in the right space at km 37-39, your body can run another 10 km. When I cheer on my friends during their races, I always shout "Don't cry, just keep running!" And it's true, repeat this sentence like a mantra during practice. Push through, stay strong and just look forward to the joy of running the marathon in Berlin. "
Follow Elli and her running adventures here.