Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman once coined the phrase, “If you have a body, you’re an athlete” and its legacy lives on today in Nike’s mission statement: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world” (the asterisk footnoting Bowerman’s infamous mantra).

In the spirit of this profound and progressive philosophy, we’ve teamed up with Berlin-based creatives and athletes to prepare for the Berlin Half Marathon this April. Alongside some of Highsnobiety’s own team members, tattoo artist Biel Carpenter, model Steph Barretoa, rapper Souly, and designer and make-up artist Diana Maracuja are on a 14-week training journey that should have them race-ready come April 7.

Each has their own motivations but our athletes are united by a determination to confront new challenges and push personal boundaries. To help, Nike laid the foundations for our training with a 14-week plan designed to gradually level up any runner, no matter their experience.

The plan leverages three key principles of training to run long distances: speed, endurance, and recovery. Of course, speed and endurance directly impact one’s progression, however, recovery is the oft-forgotten hidden ingredient in any training plan that guarantees each session is as fruitful as possible. Simply put: without time to recover, the body will not perform.

The first few weeks of the plan prioritize pace setting, light runs, and developing habits to introduce new runners to the training process. By the midway point, trainees will have learned new skills that they can spend the next 7 weeks bringing together and refining in the lead up to race day.

In addition to Nike’s training plan, the Berlin Braves running crew invited us to join their weekly training sessions in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. In today’s day and age, running isn’t the solitary activity it once was, it’s communal and the Berlin Braves know this better than anyone. As well as being social, training as part of a group provides an extra motivating factor. The Berlin Braves consider running a form of creative self-expression — “a community sports club that focuses not only on athletic performance but on creative expression as well” — an approach that aligns perfectly with Carpenter, Barretoa, Souly, and Maracuja’s own athletic pursuits.

All four have been sharing their progress on Instagram, as have their Berlin Braves training partners, Kontra K, and the KRAFT Runners crew. They also took some time to tell us a little about their successes and struggles in training. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at each athlete’s journey as race day approaches.

Why are you running the half marathon?

Luca/Souly: I never planned to. I do a lot of sports, but running was never a thing for me. When Highsnob hit me up to participate in the run, I just thought it could be a great experience. Testing out our limits is never a bad idea.

Biel Carpenter: First, because I was invited by you. Second, because I love running, I really do. Thank you for reminding of that.

Diana Maracuja: To be honest, I got asked to run it and I said yes before I even knew I'd committed myself to a 21-kilometer run! The thought that everyone can finish it with enough hard work and patience made me still do it.

Steph Barretoa: I think it’s great to have discipline in general and it shows in sports like nowhere else whether you have it or not.

What has been your biggest challenge in training?

Luca/Souly: Keeping up the motivation isn`t easy, but it´s getting easier and easier over time.

Biel Carpenter: To be honest, my biggest challenge is training itself because of my schedule. I'm trying to maintain a routine.

Diana Maracuja: Going to training after a long day of work.

Steph Barretoa: The biggest challenge for me is the air, because I am now training in a very warm country where the air is very heavy and humid.

What has been your biggest achievement in training?

Luca/Souly: I never ran so far, ever. But that´s not it... It sounds clichéd but I've achieved a new personal level, I am feeling more productive than ever. Maybe the biggest achievement is that I develop the craziest ideas while running. I have the chance to take my time for some hours and to immerse myself in my own world of thought. Learning that running facilitates this is possibly the biggest achievement.

Diana Maracuja: Finishing a training session that seemed outrageous, and that was only because of the group. I’m totally the type to just give up when I go on a run by myself.

Steph Barretoa: That I can go through with my discipline, which I really wanted! And that my activity level and stamina is growing.

How has training had a positive impact on your life?

Luca/Souly: Every time I run a bit longer than the day before I am feeling like a damn king, totally feeling myself haha. But for real, the impact is massive! I really start to feel less stressed and well-adjusted.

Biel Carpenter: Running helped improve my sleep and my mood. Because of the half marathon, I decided to quit smoking too.

Diana Maracuja: I actually go out more often because I feel energized and in the back of my mind I think more activity helps against the soreness.

Steph Barretoa: I feel more confident as I can praise myself for every successful kilometer and relieves stress.

How ready are you for race day?

Luca/Souly: There are some kilometers missing at the moment, but that's what training´s for right..?

Biel Carpenter: I'm ready!

Diana Maracuja: I’m excited and hyped to go on further runs to prepare. When it comes to race day I’m pretty nervous but I know I’m not the only one running their first half marathon, we all in this together!

Steph Barretoa: I'm still growing, I had to start again because of the new weather conditions.

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