Five years ago, Nanna Løvborg Hansen had the simple ambition of not finishing last. Now she is the new national marathon champion, not least thanks to the mental development she’s been going through.
In the spring of 2014, Nanna was 23 years old, and she had been training for her first marathon.
The plan was set, and she was hoping to get under 4 hours – if all went well. But most importantly, she just didn’t want to finish last and risk meeting her mom, who just that year was riding the closing bicycle behind the very last runner.
Five years later, Nanna has just won the national marathon championships after having gone through a remarkable physical and mental development.
To be able to call herself national champion is “completely crazy”, Nanna tells, still excited after the race, which turned out to be much tougher than expected.
“When it started raining, it got cold, my legs got heavy, and was loosing time. I wasn’t really able to see where I was positioned in the field, and I was struggling more than I had expected.”
Finishing in 3 hours and 59 seconds, Nanna indeed didn’t make a new personal best, and had it been a regular race, she would have even been disappointed, she tells.
But all of this was overshadowed the moment when she crossed the finish line as new national champion.
A moment that is not as much about the time and the title, but much more about Nanna’s physical and mental development.
I realized I could become better than I had imagined
When Nanna started running, she was very much motivated by the social aspects and being part of a running community. Slowly, the results became more and more important.
“In the beginning I had no idea that running would become so important to me as it did. It happened slowly as I was improving. Suddenly I realized that my training was actually paying off, and that I could perhaps become even better than I had imagined.”
Potential for more
It became more and more obvious, that Nanna had a potential, which was yet to be fulfilled. And things really started moving when she switched trainer.
For a year and a half now, she has been trained by Sparta running coach Christian. He is a great match, Nanna tells, especially because he has been adjusting Nanna’s training programme to fit her current needs and level.
“The past one and a half year being coached by Christian has been extremely beneficial for me. As a coach, Christian is very attentive. He has helped me focus more on me and adjust the training to my specific situation and personal goals.”
A trainer who believes in me
Even more important though, Nanna’s trainer has played a major role in overcoming Nanna’s biggest personal challenge: Believing in herself.
“Having a trainer who believes in me has meant a lot. A trainer who believes, that I am capable of just a little more than I think.”
Building faith in herself and her potential as a runner is something Nanna has been struggling with a lot.
“I wanted to improve, but I always felt that things weren’t really within my reach. Then I got injured and was struggling with that for a while. Being able to go to start with ease and confidence is something I’ve been working with a lot.”
Marathon is still a favourite
Now that Nanna has improved and is getting faster, she has talked with her trainer about taking on some shorter distances to. But her favourite discipline is still marathon, she tells.
“A marathon has got that extra something. It requires more of you. On the shorter distances you can always fight through, but for a marathon you have to be completely ready. I like the mental part and the will power it requires.
Even though Nanna started running relatively late, she has indeed found the distance she excels at.