My First Marathon

This week, we sat down with Joachim, goalmap’s design co-lead, who just completed his first marathon. He participated in the Munich Marathon, an annual event that attracts 7,000 runners. In total, he completed around 42 kilometers (26 miles) and has set a benchmark for next year’s run.

At goalmap, we don’t only build a platform for people to set, track, and reach their life goals; we also walk the talk and push ourselves to reach our objectives!

So, Joachim, tell us: why this crazy goal? How did it come up?

Well, I am a competitor at heart and I’ve always had in mind to complete a long-distance run. I have been running on a regular basis for the past five years and I thought 2014 was the right year to push things a notch higher and give it a shot. I was really keen to participate in a competition that requires long months of training. You can’t wake up one day and decide you’ll run a marathon in the afternoon and that’s exactly what makes the event so special. It requires commitment and dedication.

I wrote it down on my goals’ list, set a target, and the next day I registered for the Munich Marathon, without really knowing much about it. Sometimes you have to follow your gut feeling!

How did you prepare for it?

The marathon itself is not as hard as people think it is. If you are well prepared, it’s actually a walk-in-the-park… or should I say run! There are several ways to train for it; if you search online, you will find that most coaches and specialized websites suggest a four- to six-month training. I ran 3-4 times a week on average, combining short (c. 5km) and long (up to 27km) distances. I followed a fairly disciplined routine, including nutrition and sleep. I recorded the details my running activity with the Runkeeper’s application, and tracked all the rest with goalmap. It allowed me to analyze my results and see whether or not I was on track. Last but not least, I had a few Bavarian beers at Oktoberfest!

How did it go?

It was fantastic! No cramps, no injuries. I finished it in 4 hours and 45 minutes! I met a few people on the way, and ran with them until the end at a steady pace. What really surprised me was the social dimension of the competition, how people cheer each other up and give you energy. I will never forget the last 300 meters in the Olympiastadion, the same stadium where Marseille won the Champions League in 1993, and where I actually learned how to drive for the first time; it was a great atmosphere!

Joachim looking fairly relaxed!

Congrats! It sounds like you had an awesome time! Any advice for those who want to do the same?

Sure! Here are some general pieces of advice:

  • Set small rules, make a four-month plan with three to four runs a week and stick to it
  • Get two pairs of shoes for your trainings (one from short, one for long distances)
  • Attend yoga classes and do breathing exercises. Breathing well can help a lot
  • Don’t change your habits too much; don’t give up on your social life
  • Plan your nutrition for the race. I got a marathon pack by Overstim – it has all you need, it’s awesome
  • Test all your products before the race
  • Sleep well, eat pasta (having lots of carbs leading up to the race helps with endurance), CTRL+C, CTRL+V…

And here are some tips for race day:

  • For men, put band-aid on your nipples — a long run can chafe your nipples and that really hurts!
  • In the first 20 km, take it easy. We always tend to speed up on D-day (due to high adrenaline)
  • Take a minute to walk every 5 km (refreshment points)
  • Eat every 10 km or so
  • Represent your country; people will cheer you up in your own language if you wear your national football team shirt. Trust me, it makes such a difference!

What about the tools and gear you used?

I won’t comment on running shoes. It’s a personal choice, it all depends on your running style and on your taste. In terms of apps, I used:

  • Runkeeper (to record your runs)
  • goalmap to track and analyze all your activities and goals (check these links to see how goals work – sleeping, eating, drinking)

A screenshot of Joachim’s personal Sport & Health goals on goalmap.com

What’s next?

I am focusing on a musical project until the end of the year. It’s important to bring variety in your life. I also started to train for a potential first triathlon next year.

Good luck with these new endeavors! A last word to inspire others?

If you run, go for it and register for a race! It’s a wonderful experience, and totally worth it! It’s not just a 42.2 km run, it’s a 4-month experience, where you will get to know yourself better, learn how to control your body, recover faster, and discover new horizons.


If, just like Joachim, you want to run your first marathon and need motivation to reach that sports goal, join our goal “Run a marathon” on goalmap !

This post is part of our “They did it!” series. If you also have a goal story you want to share with the community, we would love to hear from you at social@goalmap.com.

A World Tour by Bicycle with My Girlfriend

World tour bike by a couple
Arthur and Caroline cycling in the Andes – Salta, Argentina

Why this goal? How did it come up?
We knew we wanted to travel for a year after our graduation, but we’re willing to do something special. Traveling by bicycle appeared to be an excellent challenge!

When I first told my family about it, they smiled. I would never do that: too many issues to be solved: I’m not a handyman; how could a girl travel by bike for a year; how could we, as a couple, support the challenge; how could we choose the itinerary; avoid accidents, sicknesses, injuries…

But these doubts didn’t affect our resolution to go for it.

How did it go?
We cycled through Europe, India, South-East Asia, Latin America… There were tough times – but we did it! 12 months, 18 countries, 13 000 kms, 4 hours of cycling per day and many unforgettable adventures. We are so proud of it! We know that it will remain, for the rest of our life, one of the most beautiful experiences we’ll ever live.

Do you have some advice to share with the community?
If you are willing to go on a very long journey:

1/ Collect information. It is essential to start somewhere. We started reading blogs, forums to get advice on bicycle-touring: which equipment? Is it possible for a girl? Which countries are safer? Hundreds of hours reading blogs in order to start getting an idea of what it could look like.
2/ Think positive. Collecting information on the Internet can be quite scary: on forums or blogs, lots of travelers write about their bad moments, their accidents… While it is important to be aware of issues you could face during your trip, you shouldn’t focus on these. Think positive!
3/ Make it social. Once you tell your family/friends that you’ll go, you cannot abandon your project. Moreover, talking to others will make you think about your project, clarify and improve it thanks to their suggestions.
4/ Create a Facebook page and a blog: same as point 3, once we created a Facebook page, we could not back out, we had to do it. Hundreds of people had “liked” our project on FB, it was too late. It was a new source of motivation for us: our project had become public, we had to do it for others, and not only for ourselves.

Global tour bike with my girlfriend
Joy of accomplishment and warm welcome back to the two heroes in Lyon, France

What about the tools and gear required?
For such an adventure, having reliable equipment is crucial. As many cycle tourers, we bought Ortlieb panniers and a Brooks saddle, both proved to be very solid. We were also happy with our bikes (Decathlon Riverside 7) as we didn’t face major issues. Concerning multimedia equipment, I would recommend taking a very light computer or a tablet, and a small camera. Travel light; you will feel the difference when climbing the Andes ;)

What’s next?
My next goal is to create a blog on tour cycling. Indeed, we noticed during our journey that it was hard to gather information as there is no website that centralizes everything. We hope to develop this as soon as we can. And of course we will go touring whenever we can: Iran, Mongolia, and Colombia are on our wish list.

A word to inspire others?
“The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.” Saint Augustine

This post is part of our “They did it!” series. If you also have a goal story you want to share with the community, we would love to hear from you at social@goalmap.com.