Meet our Gold Coach Pat Nispel


Meet our eight running.COACH Gold Coaches in our interview serie. This first interview is with Pat Nispel. Until the 10th September 2016 you can profit and we will give you 10% off the gold subscription. Find the code and more details below.

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What reputation and importance does running have in the country that you live in? 

Australia has a long lasting tradition in exceptional distance runners and coaches. This is currently shown again by the many top results by Australian athletes at the Olympics. Running and triathlon as well as sport in general are part of our lifestyle here with huge participation numbers.

Tell us your personal running story.

I started with gymnastic and skiing form a very young age while growing up in Switzerland. However, from age 12, running has been my favourite sport and I started out with cross country and athletics; winning my first gold medal at the Junior Cross Country Swiss Championships when I was 17 and going on to represent Switzerland at the European Championships when I was 18.

Following a long track career racing across Europe, I moved to Brisbane, Australia in 2007 to work as an architect and train with the legendary coach Pat Clohessy at the University of Queensland Athletics Club. In 2008, I had my most prestige track race win in Melbourne with the Zatopek 3000m Steeplechase in a time of 8:59. At the same time, I started coaching runners and triathletes.

I decided to make the transition from track to marathon in 2011, with a debut time of 2:23 at the Gold Coast Marathon, placing 10th overall. That year was a good one for me; I also won the Australian and Queensland Mountain Running Championships and received my Australian citizenship. I am now very proud to be a dual Swiss-Australian citizen. In February 2012, I finished 3rd in the Osaka Marathon in Japan. In 2013, I placed 3rd in the Swiss Championships at the Zurich Marathon in a time of 2:22 which landed me a spot in the Swiss National team for the 2014 European Athletics Championships. My most favourite distance now is the half-marathon with many wins to my name and in 2016 I improved my half-marathon PB to 1:07:07 and won the City2South 14k event in Brisbane.


What has been your favourite running experience so far?

There are many fond memories I have from my 20 year long running career both in and out of competition. My most honourable track results is wining the famous Zatopek Meet 3000m Steeplechase in Melbourne in 2008. I went out hard leading the race from start to finish to win in a personal best time of 8:59. It was also my last season as a track runner. On the road, I am still hoping for my best to come, but my 3rd place at the Senshu International City Marathon in Osaka, Japan in 2012 was definitely a highlight.

What is your next goal? How do you prepare for that? 

I am currently having a break from competition and enjoy time with my family and 6 months old son while focusing on my growing coaching business. I am looking to return to some races towards the end of this year and some bigger goals from next year again.

What is your favourite type of training? 

I love a challenging long run on trails or marathon simulation run when I am in top shape. However, otherwise my favourite and most practiced speed session is the Mona Fartlek named after Steve Monegetthi. 


Which is your personal piece of training advice that you can share with us? 

“Train smarter, not harder” – a personal coach that brings both years of experience in the sport as well as the knowledge of the latest exercise and sport science will be able to guide each individual person/ athlete to achieve their personal goals. There are no short-cuts when it comes to performance in endurance sports so the right mix of different training methods and recovery are just one critical factor amongst many other factors to consider.


Do you have any ritual which you do before a competition? 

There are lots of rituals before a race I go through, too many to mention here. My warm up routine is definitely an important ritual, so is the 4am wake up alarm before a morning race start.

Do you mind your nutrition?

My nutrition has become more important each year and I believe it is equally important to my training and recovery. Luckily I work with a top sport nutritionist and my wife loves spoiling my with healthy cooking. Cooking, the same as exercise are part of our daily family lifestyle.

What is your favourite running brand? 

On running shoes. I have been running in On shoes for the last four years and love their constant innovations and variety in shoe types.

What was a special moment for you as a running coach/ Gold coach? 

As part of my marathon club we had over 50 people taking part in the Gold Coast Marathon Festival in July this year, 35 of them I coach personally using runinng.COACH as the training plan software and app of choice. To offer a personal coaching service and individual plans for this many people would not be possible without the technologies that sit behind running.COACH. We have athletes of all levels training for different events worldwide all year round in road, trail, track and multisport events.

Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?

The athlete – coach relationship is very important hence the decision needs to be mainly a personal one. If there is a mutual understanding for each other, I can offer over 20 years of personal experience in the sport as well as I offer both onland coaching and personal training in Brisbane as well as online coaching worldwide. Everyone is different and has individual needs so none of my training approach is exactly the same for two people.


Would you like to book Pat Nispel as your Gold Coach? You get 10% off till 10th September 2016. It doesn’t matter which Coach your book. Just use the code: GETGOLD10





Running Form


The online coaching platform at running.COACH is great for individualized training programs and for athletes that can not commit to scheduled group runs. It allows you to find your own time to run and you know the workout was made just for you based on your training progress and goals.

The coaches are available to answer your questions and give you a poke of motivation when needed but since we can’t have our eyes on you at practice its important you concentrate on running form. Here are some tips to improve form which will make you a more efficient runner and less prone to injury.

Follow the running.COACH suggested drills

On the sidebar of your training calendar you will find daily recommended exercises that compliment your training. Since most bad form and therefore injuries are the effect of week hips, a strong importance is put on increasing the strength and mobility of your hips and glutes.

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Figure 1- Training videos as part of your training package suggest exercises that will aid in running form and injury prevention.











Barefoot running

If you can find a safe place to take your shoes off, like a soccer/football field or infield of a track, and go for a run you will immediately have improved form. Without the cushion and elevated heal of a shoe your brain won’t let you heel strike. Completing 1-2 short runs (less than 5k) or strides (~100m gentle accelerations) barefoot after a run will improve your form for when you do wear shoes and greatly reduce risk for injury by strengthening of tendon and muscle groups you probably are not used to using. Be sure to ease into barefoot runs, starting with very short duration, as your body will need time to adjust.

Zero Drop Footwear

In addition to barefoot running you can switch to shoes with a Zero Drop, meaning there is no drop in height from your heel to your toes (most typical running shoes will have between 8-13mm of extra height under the heal which promotes harmful heal striking). Zero Drop shoes keep your feet in a natural, barefoot, running position allowing you to run more natural while still receiving the benefits of cushion and protection. Gold Coach Calum Neff is an Altra shoe sponsored athlete and attributes his long stretch of good health and performance to their Zero Drop footwear.

Increase stride rate

One of the best things you can do for your running is to increase the amount of steps you are taking each minute. Elite runners are taking between 180-200 steps every single minute while most runners will find themselves in the 140-160 range. Measure yourself by counting every time your right foot touches the ground over a 20 second period during a normal run on flat hard surface. Multiply that number by 6 to calculate your stride rate in steps per minute. Example: You count your right foot hit the ground 30 times over a 20” period, this gives you a rate of 180. If you find your rate below 180 you should make an effort to increase your stride rate on all of your runs, with a goal of increasing by 10%.

Arm Swing

In general, your arms should swing naturally back-and-forth without crossing the body, with a ~90 degree bent elbow the entire swing, your elbow should not swing any further forward then your hip unless sprinting and your relaxed hands should swing all the way back enough to touch your hips. Arms should remain compact/close to your body and swing speed and range should increase with pace.

Form Strides

When working with athletes one-on-one I always suggest three strides as part of their warm-up that concentrate on one body component at a time. The first stride we focus on staying upright and tall, nothing else. The second we concentrate on good arm swing and the final stride the focus is on fast feet, quick steps.

Gait Analysis

If you are really concerned with your form or have been battling injuries there are a few professional services that can complete 3D gait analysis with feedback on areas you can improve. Alternatively you may discuss with your Gold Coach about sending in a video, preferably filmed at a high rate (60fps or slow motion feature on iPhone).

Running light, smooth, and efficient is something you should always concentrate on. Listen to feedback from your body, like scuffing your feet. Look at the bottoms of your shoes for excessive localized wear. Watching videos, especially of the East Africans running, is not only motivational but good help for your proprioception and visualization of how you want to run.

Neff_KatyHalf16_WR_BillBaumeyerThis blog post was written by Calum Neff, canadian born running.COACH gold coach in the U.S., 2:22h marathoner and Guinness world record holder for the fastest half marathon pushing a stroller in 1:11:27. Are you interested in a personal running coach? Click here.