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A man leans on his arm, revealing the agony of a headache.

A Hangover Called 2023

When it comes to run­ning, the years of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic were actu­al­ly pret­ty good for me. Not that I enjoyed the lock­downs, and I don’t want to down­play the suf­fer­ing of so many peo­ple and the con­se­quences. But when it comes to the flex­i­bil­i­ty of work and the rise of remote work, I have to say, all of that had a pos­i­tive impact on my train­ing. I could run more reg­u­lar­ly, be more flex­i­ble, and, as a result, more consistent.

H owev­er, what fol­lowed in 2023 can only be described as a hang­over. Wak­ing up from the era of COVID was painful. I had set some goals for myself — a half marathon to start, a trail marathon, a cou­ple of small­er runs, and aim­ing to beat my per­son­al best time in Frank­furt. But I did­n’t man­age to com­plete a sin­gle one of these races. COVID itself, my Achilles ten­don, and a fall that strained the ten­don in my left arm all put a damper on my plans. While I can slow­ly start run­ning again, bik­ing, yoga, or strength train­ing are off-lim­its. It was a year filled with headaches.

There are oth­er run­ners who can relate, and more and more of them are shar­ing their sto­ries, whether on blogs, Insta­gram, or in per­son­al con­ver­sa­tions. But what comes after such a hang­over? What’s the aspirin to help us get up and keep going in the next year?

None of us are run­ners whose liveli­hood depends on run­ning. We don’t make mon­ey from run­ning, but our hearts are deeply con­nect­ed to this sport. How much can our hearts endure? And when they are dis­ap­point­ed month after month, what can we do to set new goals?

For me, the first step is to look back. You might think that would lead to the oppo­site, but even in 2023, there were pos­i­tive things. I returned to run­ning with a group after a long time, and despite many changes and new faces, it felt good. A rou­tine I intend to continue.

I Have Some Unfinished Business

I also start­ed focus­ing on my mobil­i­ty. Before that mis­er­able fall, I was doing dai­ly pli­a­bil­i­ty exer­cis­es to tar­get the weak­ness­es all run­ners know. Progress came quick­ly and was impres­sive. That will def­i­nite­ly be part of my train­ing plan in 2024. Which brings us to the next year.

Yes, races will be a part of it too. As much as I some­times annoy myself with train­ing plans and goals, I can’t escape them. Ven­lo in the spring is back on the agen­da, and in the fall, I’ve thrown my name into the lot­tery for Berlin. It’s the 50th marathon in the cap­i­tal, and such an anniver­sary will prob­a­bly be an even big­ger par­ty than usu­al. Plus, I have some unfin­ished busi­ness with both Berlin and my per­son­al best time.

What else? I want to hit the trails more often, get out into nature, leave the asphalt behind. Free­dom is my top pri­or­i­ty for the com­ing year with all these goals. Behind that is a hope: the freer I am, the bet­ter I can han­dle set­backs. The more I cling to plans and lock myself into goals, the hard­er it becomes when I need to adapt.

So, it’s like a real hang­over. After the aspirin kicks in, and we wake up the next morn­ing with­out a headache for the first time, things become clear­er. Maybe even some new ideas have emerged. So, let’s bring 2023 to an end with dig­ni­ty. And then, let’s embrace a new, freer year. With­out headaches.

A female runner is running on a path in the mountains amidst a yellow-green meadow.

Intuitive Running

I don’t want to run like this any­more. It’s not doing me any good. More than that: it’s jeop­ar­diz­ing my health. I’m jeop­ar­diz­ing my health. And my joy of run­ning is at risk too. I owe this real­iza­tion to a gad­get, not my own insight. But let’s start from the begin­ning. Read More

A man is sitting in a grainfield practicing breathing techniques.

A method worth exploring?

It’s been a strange irony that I, lying in my bed, should stum­ble upon a book that deals so inti­mate­ly with the very thing that had brought me low. Covid had robbed me of my strength and left me short of breath, and yet it was in the midst of this strug­gle that I found dis­trac­tion and, yes, a tune up.

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Program code is projected on a woman's face.

«Running is about finding joy in the journey»

In the world of run­ning, trends come and go, but some have the pow­er to shape the future of the sport. From the grow­ing focus on recov­ery and self-care to the con­tro­ver­sial debate around trail run­ning and mega events, there is no short­age of top­ics to explore. In this inter­view with Chat­G­PT*, a cut­ting-edge AI lan­guage mod­el, we delve into the lat­est trends and hot-but­ton issues in run­ning, and dis­cuss the poten­tial impact of tech­nol­o­gy on per­for­mance opti­miza­tion. But beyond the data and ana­lyt­ics, we also touch on a more fun­da­men­tal ques­tion: what does it mean to find joy in run­ning, and how can we strike a bal­ance between the pur­suit of excel­lence and the intrin­sic val­ue of the sport? Join us on this thought-pro­vok­ing jour­ney into the heart of run­ning, and dis­cov­er what the future might hold for this endur­ing passion.

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