Meet our Gold Coach Stefanie Meyer

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Our Gold coach Stefanie Meyer is Swiss, but has been living in London for almost three years. The sports scientist and former sports teacher has years of experience in different running distances, as well as triathlon. As a mum of a daughter, she has to find a way to combine running with everyday family life and work life. In the following interview, you will learn more about Stefanie’s passion for running and you will get a lot of tips from her.

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

The English are fond of sports and running, preferably outside, indifferent of the weather. On Saturdays, park runs are held in the whole country (originally in London), where runners of all ages and all levels meet for a 5km run. Performance is secondary, while the primary concern is experiencing something together or having a coffee/ tea afterwards, or even visiting a pub. Park runs are for free and they have become to be established even in other countries. In bigger running events in England, the atmosphere is often so good that you feel like you are literally carried by the crowd. Many people here do not only run for themselves in competitions, but they use them for collecting money for charity.

Tell us your personal running story.

I have been spending half of my life in running shoes. My father, who still runs himself, would occasionally take me to running events where I ran in the kids category. Back then, however, I never trained specifically, but just tried out many different sports. At the age of sixteen, I joined a sports club which had a runners section. This was the beginning of more specific running training and I started to take part in competitions on track, in cross-country and on road (everything from 5km to half-marathon). For my sports sciences studies I needed to learn to swim. Soon after that, I had my first tries in triathlon. I later started to participate in middle and long distance competitions.

At the moment, I am more focussing on simple running again, as, being a mum, I simply don’t have as much time as before. Today, running feels even more like some sort of short holiday: breaking free from everyday life and discovering the world by foot whenever possible.

What has been your favourite running experience so far?

I can think of lots of beautiful running experiences I could tell you about. Two of them are especielly present, however. I had a very special run-in at my first and, so far, only Ironman in Zürich 2014. When I realised towards the end of the course that «wow, you can do it!», and when my husband, siblings, parents and friends were waiting for me in the finish, I was overwhelmed by my feelings – a mixture out of exhaustion, pride, joy and relief. Even when thinking back to that moment now, I have to smile.

The second experience was my first competition after my pregnancy. It was an ordinary 10km competition in Regents Park in London, nothing special. But the anticipation before competing and knowing that my daughter would be waiting for me in the finish – a very special feeling.

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

I am running the London Marathon on 23 April – a personal goodbye, as we will soon be moving back to Switzerland. In January, I started my specific preparation with the running.COACH training plan and I have been running five times a week since then. This always includes one or two high-intensity sessions and a long run on the weekend. I’ve been trying to always plan the long runs in new and exciting places, so that I could look at them as being some kind of « excursion ». An important part of my preparation are even strength and flexibility training, which I do at home with the help of minibands, a TRX or Sypoba.

What is your favourite type of training?

I still love short intervals on track, like for example 20 x 1’. That way, I can see how much power is left in my body. And there really is nothing better than cooling down on the lawn barefoot after a track session and maybe even do a short stretching afterwards. This always gives me the feeling of being on a training camp. And now I have even discovered running with my daughter, which never becomes boring.

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

STRENGTH LIES IN CALMNESS – plan regular rest days, which you really stick to. My weakness is regeneration. However, through my pregancy and motherhood I have learnt to listen more to my body. Don’t force yourself to do a training just because it says so on your training plan. Sometimes you just don’t have enough energy and this normally has valid reasons, thus, just have an additional rest day.

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

After an easy warm-up, I normally run one minute in racing pace, in order to activate my body. Afterwards, I like to do some drills and some ascending runs.

What is your personal tipp for competitions? 

RUN WITH YOUR HEAD, TOO. For me personally, it always helps to divide the course into stages, especially mentally. A half-marathon, for example, I always divide into three 7km stages. I use the first third in order to get into the competition and to position myself in the field. The second third is mostly about keeping up. I often have a short crisis during this period, which I need to overcome. I just tell myself then that half of it is over and that soon there will be only one third left. In this last third I try to one last time mobilise all available energy and when my legs are getting very tired, I focus on my arms or on a reward in the finish.

Do you mind your nutrition?

Yes, and since I’ve become a mum, even more. I really like eating, especially sweets. However, I try not to eat too much white industrial sugar. Furthermore, we cook ourselves, very varied and based on fresh products.

My favourite meal of the day definitely is breakfast. There is nothing better than starting the day with a hot meal. We normaly eat porridge. I cook oats with almond milk, a bit of cinnamon and sometimes frozen berries. As a topping we either have chia seeds, cocoa nibs, coconut flakes, mable syrup or fresh fruit.

 

What is your favourite running brand? 

I only use Asics running shoes and I have been trusting in particular models for years. Their continuity convinces me – which is why, after having tried out other brands for a short while, I have always returned to Asics. Since February this year I have been a member of the Swiss AsicsFrontRunner team.

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

Everytime I witness athletes making progress, being able to run better and faster and their experiences from running having a positive effect on their private and work life.

Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?

On the one hand, I am very versatile (running/ triathlon) and I have years of running and coaching experience, as well as a sports scientific background. On the other hand, I really enjoy motivating people to train for a specific goal. I also give a lot of importance to regular exchange, in order to be able to react to people’s individual needs and to not just use a standardised strategy with everyone.

On her Blog Stefanie mainly writes about sports during her pregnancy, as well as currently about her preparations for marathon. If you wish to book her as your Gold coach – you can get further information here.

New running.COACH ambassador: Frank Shorter

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We introduced him, Frank Shorter, back in our series: running legends. The running legend can look back on extraordinary achievements, which were the result of a special training philosophy. His knowledge is now also finding its way into running.COACH: Frank Shorter, the Olympic champion in marathon 1972 in Munich, is our new ambassador – we are proud and happy.

Olympic champion 1972 in Munich

Frank Shorter was the dominating marathon runner of the 1970ies. In 1972, he won the marathon at the Olympic Games in Munich. And how: already during the first half of the race he ran away from the field. In the finish, his lead amounted to more than two minutes. Four years later, at the Olympic Games in Montréal, we won the silver medal. Between 1971 and 1974, Shorter even succeded in winning the at that time very prestigeous Fukuoka marathon in Japan four times in a row.

Running boom through shorter’s achievements

With his Olympic victory, Shorter achieved not only a win in sports, but he also ran into the consciousness of American public (the Olympic marathon was broadcasted live on US TV), thereby making the running sport popular for the general public. His achievements, especially the triumph at the Olympic Games in Munich, contributed considerably to the beginning of a running boom in the US.

Frank Shorter shortly before his greatest achievement: winning the olympic marathon 1972 in Munich.

Shorters career is characterised by three expecially interesting aspects

Firstly: It was incredibly successful. Out of the 15 marathons he ran, he won ten. A fourth place, aside from one dropout, was is worst result. Shorter achieved these results between 1971 and 1976. That is, he was at the very top in marathon for six years. He managed to stay at the top for such a long time, because he was good at peaking his shape for the important competitions. He finds it practically impossible to be in the best shape possible two times in one season, he says. Therefore, he only ran a few main competitions per year and he used to try and be in his best possible shape at the Fukuoka marathon and at the Olympic Games.

Secondly: Shorter was no top athlete during school days. It was not until the end of his university career that he started to train seriously ant to achieve good results.

Thirdly: Shorter first trained for track running. He was also very competitive in 5000m (PB: 13’26’’) and 10’000m (PB: 27’45’’). This is something he has in common with Paavo Nurmi, Emil Zatopek, or even Derek Clayton.

What do we learn from Frank Shorter?

Out of these three aspects, every amateur runner can learn a lot. Firstly, it is worth focussing on a few main competitions a year. This expecially applies for longer distances; training and preparatory competitions are of course always possible. Secondly, it is not necessary to be a top athlete already in younger years. For longer distances, structured training can give great result even at a later stage. Thirdly, fast legs in shorter distances lead to better performances over longer distances. This explains the importance of rapidity and interval training.

Good to know that the knowledge of a running legend like Frank Shorter is inherent in the running.COACH training plan.

“The training philosophy that made it possible to become olympic champion is at the heart of running.COACH. As we developed plans for everybody, running.COACH suits every level: From the beginner to the absolute competitive athlete.”

Starting the day with power – the runner’s breakfast

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In our series #RUNNINGFOOD we give you practical tips for runners’ meals; we’d like to start with a few breakfast inputs. Proteins, carbohydrates and good fatty acids: a good breakfast includes all three main nutrients. Depending on the goal, point of time and taste, you can choose your favourite version. 

Two categories, two priorities

Breakfast is the most important meal oft the day. Thus, you should not skip it. It has even been shown in studies that people who skip breakfast eat more during the day than people who had had scrambled eggs for breakfast. Breakfast haters could for example prepare a shake instead.

High-protein breakfast

A high-protein start of the day keeps you full in the long run and covers a good share of the daily protein requirements. Those versions are appropriate on rest days or after a run. Combine them with whole grain bread or cooked potatoes.

Breakfast shake

Ingredients:

150 g lowfat quark

100 ml milk/ soy milk/ natural joghurt

1 banana

100 g fresh or frozen berries, ex. raspberries, blueberries, strawberries

1 teaspoon of cocoa

3 tablespoons of oatmeal

1 tablespoon of flaxseed

2 teaspoons of chia seeds

Optionally: agave syrup to sweeten the shake and/or 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Preparation:

Put the chia seeds and flaxseed into a glass, add triple the amount hot water, let it rest for 10min. Then, put all ingredients into a mixer, mix – done!

 

Mediterranean scrambled eggs

Ingredients:

2 eggs

a little bit of milk

½ onion

½ zucchini

50 g feta cheese

a handful of fresh herbs, like rosemary, chives, thyme, oregano, basil

sea salt, pepper

a bit of butter

Preparation:

Whisk the eggs with some of the milk. Chop up the onion and the zucchini. Heat up some butter in a pan. Brown the onion and the zucchini and then pour the egg/milk blend over it. Add the feta cheese. Season with the herbs, salt and pepper. Let it thicken at a low temperature. Turn over with a spatula and let it brown a little on both sides. Serve with a bit of whole grain bread, if required.

 

Breakfast quark base mixture

(can be prepared for several portions and then stored in the fridge)

Ingredients:

500 g lowfat quark

500 g natural joghurt, 1.5%

200 g grainy cream cheese

½ TL teaspoon of fresh vanilla powder

agave syrup to sweeten, if required

Preparation:

Blend all ingredients, sweeten if required and store in a bowl or jar in the fridge.

For a delicious breakfast, jazz up this blend with fresh fruit and grains/seeds, ex.

* flexseed

* pumpkin seeds

* hempseed

* buckwheat

* chia seeds

* almonds

* oatmeal

Carbo breakfast

Before a competition or an exhausting day: With carbohydrates you can start the day fully loaded. Before a competition or an intense training session, you should reduce the proteins or skip them completely, as they can cause an upset stomach. Porridge or bread with butter and honey are ideal in those cases. Either is a good choice, everyone has to decide for themselves which one they prefer. In all other cases, however, a combination out of carbohydrates and proteins is recommended, as it keeps you full longer. Furthermore, proteins provide you with an important dosis of amino acids needed for recovery and muscle building.

Porridge

Ingredients for 1 portion:

200 ml milk (or half milk/ half water)

ca. 50 g oatmeal

one pinch of salt

1 piece of fruit

Optionally: cinnamon, honey

Preparation:

Pour the milk into a pot, add the oatmeal, make it cook. Add a pinch of salt. Let it simmer for a little while, jazz it up with a piece of fruit of your choice, and a little cinnemon or honey, if required.

 

Spelt semolina with glazed apples and natural joghurt

Ingredients for 4 portions:

500 ml Spelt drink or milk

125 g Spelt/whole grain semolina or wholemeal spelt flour

2 tablespoons of cocoa

30-50 g agave syrup

2 pinches of vanille powder

2 apples chopped up in thin slices

2 tablespoons of raisins

2 tablespoons of chipped almonds

2 tablespoons of honey

Optionally: 2 tablespoons of cinnamon

500 g joghurt or soy joghurt (unsweetened)

Preparation:

Make the spelt drink boil in a pot. Add the semolina and the cocoa, stir with a whisk. Add the vanilla powder and sweeten with the agave syrup, if required.

Heat up some water in a pan. Sauté the apple slices in the pan for a little while. As soon as the water has evaporated a bit, add the raisins, almonds and honey and brown the mixture. Put it on top of the prepared semolina, add the natural joghurt to finish off with.

 

Whole grain bread with grainy cream cheese

Ingredients:

2 slices of whole grain bread (spelt or rye)

200 g grainy cream cheese

6 basil leaves

fresh chives

2 tomatoes

4 slices of cucumber

salt and pepper

Preparation:

Spice up the grainy cream cheese with salt, pepper and finely chopped herbs. Spread it on the bread, add cucumber and tomato on top.

This blog entry was written by Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck, running.COACH Gold prescription coach, sports scientist and German champion (2010) in half marathon.