This Interview is with our Gold-Coach Ueli Bieler, runner and triathlete. Read about his running background and get his advise.
What reputation and importance does running have in the country that you live in?
In an international comparison, Switzerland is a country with many runners. About 20% of the Swiss population runs regularly. Furthermore, ever more of those people run a considerable amount (several times a week).
Tell us your personal running story.
Until the age of 20, I mainly played football and other ball sports. However, we only ran a maximum of 5km per training session. My good endurance rather stemmed from long hikes. I have always been to the mountains a lot and I have always enjoyed it. I only took up running when I moved to Zurich for my studies at the age of 21. I did my first running trainings with the ASVZ (Academic Sports Association Zurich). Two years later I already completed my first long distance triathlon (Ironman Switzerland 2003).
What has been your favourite running experience so far?
My best running memory so far is from the Berlin marathon 2015. I had already run 9 marathons before. However, I ran most of those previous marathons at the end of the triathlon season, without serious preparation, whereas at the Berlin marathon 2015 I had the clear goal to achieve a new personal best. I specifically prepared for it together with 9 other runners on my squad (TV Oerlikon) for about 8 weeks. All of us were successful. I achieved a new personal best with 2:34,12 and Christian Kreienbühl even managed to qualify for the Olympics in Rio with his time.
What is your next goal? How do you prepare for that?
After the Powerman Zofingen is my next goal the Ironman Hawaii. I am thus taking part in two official World Championships in long distance within 5 weeks. In addition to that, the Ironman Switzerland took place 6 weeks before the Powerman Zofingen. I am testing something new this year, trying to keep myself in competition mode for 11 weeks in a row. I have planned a competition every fortnight. A lot of recovery and only a couple of shorter, tough training sessions are planned for in between.
What is your favourite type of training?
My favourite kinds of training are long mountain runs – I sometimes do them as training competitions. I really enjoy being in the mountains and I like technically challenging terrain.
Which is your personal piece of training advice that you can share with us?
Something which is being neglected by a lot of runners: breathing. You should breathe deep down into your belly when running. It should feel as if you were filling your whole belly with air. You can practice this anytime and anywhere. Training my breathing has helped me a lot to improve in running: I am now able to run more relaxed even in competitions and at a high intensity.
Do you have any ritual which you do before a competition?
I like warming up a little longer than others, although I keep it very easy. Before a half marathon I would usually warm up about 20 minutes at 6min/km, followed by a couple of quick accelerations.
Which is your personal piece of competition advice that you can share with us?
This is very individual! Each runner needs a different piece of advice for a competition. However, a good pacing makes sense for everyone. Especially beginners tend to start off too fast. One should think about what distance one will be able to keep for the whole race and one should keep the pace as steady as possible right from the beginning.
Do you mind your nutrition?
I know a lot about sports nutrition and I have been following what’s happening in the field of nutrition science for many years. Nutrition is important for athletes, but you don’t need to complicate things. If you stick to the most important rules, you can achieve a lot without too big an effort. My diet is varied and healthy, but I keep it simple. I don’t take any supplements.
What is your favourite running brand?
I don’t have any favourite brand. Running shoes are most important however. I use about 10 different pairs of shoes from 10 different brands – depending on the situation and the type of training.
What was a special moment for you as a running coach/ Gold coach?
I am always very happy when one of the athletes I am coaching works for a specific goal… and then achieves it.
Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?
Because of my experience. Especially on longer distances. I have been working for running.COACH for 10 years now and I have organised more than 1500 running trainings, as well as a lot of training camps. Furthermore, the 10 marathons and the 20 long distance competitions (duathlon/triathlon) that I’ve taken part in, have left me with a lot of competition experience.