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.

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Damien Catani

About Damien Catani

Après 12 ans en finance à Londres et aux Emirats, j'ai mis ma passion pour le développement personnel au coeur de mon aventure professionnelle en créant GOALMAP. Persuadés que performance des entreprises rime avec bien-être des collaborateurs, nous accompagnons les entreprises dans la mise en place de politiques bien-être globales.

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