The film "What keeps you running" wants to give an answer to this very question. What exactly is it that drives athletes to never give up and to find new motivation day after day? The up-and-coming runner, Jonathan Dahlke, is one of those athletes who manages to test their limits and push themselves every day – always mentally one step ahead, ambitious and motivated.
Interview with Jonathan Dahlke
The 24-year-old has already experienced a lot in his young life as an athlete. After graduating from high school, the native of Cologne was offered the chance to start a new life thanks to a sports scholarship. He used this immediately. He studied psychology for four years at an American university in North Carolina, developed rapidly as a person and above all as an athlete due to the opportunities available. He got to know himself better personally, became more professional and tried to listen to himself in order to be able to make the right decisions on and off the track.
In an interview with us, the current sports psychology student talks about his connection to Ryzon, his inner drive and tries to answer the film's question. He also gives valuable motivation tips...
Four years in the US certainly left their mark. What influence did the stay abroad have on the runner Jonathan Dahlke?
Jonathan Dahlke (JD): Above all, the chance to be motivated there every day as part of a large training group was an important aspect. But personally, I've also fundamentally changed my attitude towards sport locally. I allowed few disruptive factors, was completely with myself and have learned to pursue my goals consistently and professionally.
What do you think were the reasons for this rethinking?
JD: I think both the training group community that kept pushing you and my character were responsible for that. It doesn't work without the inner drive. You have to be willing to keep trying to improve yourself and to test your limits.
Your career as a runner started with a bang – one of the first races you grew up with, you had to give up due to a breakdown. What made you decide to continue?
JD: After that incident, I initially struggled with a mental block that prevented me from returning to the track. The curiosity to discover myself never seemed to let go of me. That's how I rediscovered my passion for this sport after a break and haven't questioned it since. In my opinion, it can often be counterproductive in sports to think too much. You have to let yourself be driven by your rhythm and want to get the best out of yourself - then the doubts are usually superfluous.
" For me, it's the moments when I turn to myself, listen to the beat of my steps and follow my own rhythm."
Ryzon stands for the special moments out there. Can you describe these moments for yourself?
JD: For me it's the moments when I'm introspective, listening to the beat of my steps and following my own rhythm. I often train alone, so I often find myself in these kinds of situations. Be it late in the evening in the rain through the city, or early in the morning when running in the forest in the fog. Those moments when you don't see a soul. And only focuses on himself to be able to achieve his goals.
In order to experience these moments, you need perseverance and the will to test your limits. How do you deal with it?
JD: I don't think it's easy for anyone to push themselves to their mental and physical limits. Endurance athletes in particular always train at the limit of their possibilities. It is important to listen to yourself and not overdo it. This makes it a fine line to find the optimal size. It may not be easy even for the best. The trick is to be able to motivate yourself to do it again and again. This is the stimulus to which we athletes are devoted. And the challenge we face every day.
For us, the environment and the conditions in which we move play a central role in the development of our products. How important are these aspects to you?
JD: Ideally, the running environment and my goals complement each other perfectly. So the choice of route also plays an important role for me. The tranquility of nature is of course a decisive factor why I like running in the countryside. As an athlete, I have to keep adjusting to the changing weather conditions. But I'm not one to avoid it. I'm just as flexible when it comes to choosing the route, as far as it's possible. Due to the manageable size, I really knew every path in my hometown in the USA. The advantage of a certain monotony on the route – head out and let it roll.
A central theme of our film with you is the inner rhythm of an athlete. What meaning does this have for you?
JD: In order to follow its rhythm, you have to find it first. This is something that doesn't work overnight. It stems from experiences with yourself on the track. Once you have found it, there is hardly anything better for athletes. You know how to judge yourself, you can let yourself go. Your rhythm sets the pace and lets you function. You have to learn to listen to your heart. Then music, times or other orientation aids are hardly necessary. The film sums up exactly this aspect.
"What keeps me going is my constant desire to push my limits."
The name of the film "What keeps you running?" is also the overarching question that he wants to answer. What is your answer to this question?
JD: What keeps me going is my constant desire to push my limits. Titles and successes are secondary for me. First and foremost, I want to get the best out of my given potential, my talent. Even if it can sometimes be thankless to go out there alone at certain times and face this challenge, it still drives me again and again. I just want to be the best version of myself.
What would you like to say to people who find it difficult to keep motivating themselves?
JD: Take it step by step. You need a goal, an intention to pursue. Be honest with yourself and define them realistically. After that, consistency is important. Show perseverance and reward yourself by setting small intermediate goals that you can achieve in the short term. If, like me, you want to run alone, you have to be your own motivator. This is only possible if you always have your goals clearly in mind. Don't focus on others: it's about yourself.
Jonathan Dahlke the triathlete - imaginable?
JD: For me, the fascination of triathlon is the constant change of rhythm and the varied forms of movement that you have to perform. Since I would probably fail at swimming, I'll stick to my core discipline for now, but never say never.
Produced by CERULEAN FILM COLLECTIVE
artist. JONATHAN DAHLKE
director. LUTZ STAUTNER
director of photography. ALEJANDRO GOMEZ
assistant director. MARVIN KUEHNER
assistant cam. MAXIMILIAN HOLLER
editor. LUTZ STAUTNER
colorist. MORITZ BASTIAN
music. MATTHIAS HAUCK & NEPOMUK HELLER