Our Gold coach Alexandre has a lot of experience in middle distance and as well in long distance runnig. In the following interview, you will learn more about Alexandre’s passion for running and you will get a lot of tips from him.
What reputation and importance does running have in the country that you live in?
In the French-speaking part of Switzerland, Geneva especially, running is getting more and more popular. Big events like the Geneva marathon or the «Course de l’Escalade » are motivations for both elite runners and amateurs. All over the world people run for reasons of health, but also in order to achieve a certain goal, to take on a challange or to get their heads free from stress at work. Through running many people find freedom, joy, passion or power of will, which all have positive effects on an intact personal balance.
Tell us your personal running story.
After a good result at the Course d’Escalade, I took up running at the age of 16. I made progress quickly, probably thanks to good preconditions for this sport. My favourite disciplines were all between 1500m and 5000m. In these, I got Swiss champion in both the juniors and the U23 category. However, my best memories are from cross country running: running on uneven ground under aggravated conditions, running by instinct and fighting all the way until the end. I have won five Swiss Championship titles in cross country running, as well as participated four times in European Championships and once in World University Championships. In recent years I have changed to longer distances. I won silver at Swiss Champs in 10’000m in 2013 and I have run a couple of half marathons and marathons. I need the challenge in competitions and I like to beat my own records on 10km and in half marathon. Nevertheless, first of all, running should be fun. The feeling of freedom is incredibly important to me.
What has been your favourite running experience so far?
There are quite a few, but I can say for sure that the Swiss Championships in cross country running in Tenero in 2008 are one oft hem. I won the short distance in the seniors’ class, followed by another victory in the long distance in the U23 class the following day. The short distance was like a dream. I found myself at the front of the field without knowing how. I just made it all the way and even today I am still amazed at my ease and my confidence that day – the perfect race. I also have very good memories from the European Championships.
What is your next goal? How do you prepare for that?
After three rather difficult years, I am aiming to get back to a top level. My goals for this autumn are to improve both my 10km and my half marathon times. In order to achieve that, I need to find the right balance in my training, as well as, mainly, a lot of joy, which is the key to success. The rest is subsidiary and just happens, given the right presuppositions: planning, way of life, rhythm, etc.
What is your favourite type of training?
My favourite session is a ascending endurance run according to feeling, which I call «endurance Kenyan style». Nothing is pre-defined and you only run according to your feeling. This often makes you discover and unleash unknown resources. I like this gradual increase in pace, pushing all the way to the end, and the exertion, preventing you from thinking about anything else.
Which is your personal piece of training advice that you can share with us?
When you start running, it is important to set up different sub-goals and to build up your training step by step. Aiming to high might create too much pressure, leading to a shrinking confidence. Sub-goals help to focus on the moment and not to overthink too much.
Do you have any ritual which you do before a competition?
I don’t have any specific ritual. Thinking about it though, I think I check my shoestrings shortly before start, so that they don’t open during the race.
What is your personal tipp for competitions?
If you feel stressed or a bit tired before a race or if you don’t feel confident, you should not think about it too much. This is only a waste of energy. Sometimes, I even end up having one of my best races when I feel bad before start. The important thing is to keep up the confidence and to go hard as soon as the race has started.
Do you mind your nutrition?
A lot! It should not turn into an obsession though and I don’t have feelings of guilt when I happen to eat less healthy for a while. I eat very little meat, I generally prefer organic products and I try to eat good fats (olive and rape oil). Furthermore, I eat less pasta than in tha past and I increasingly substitute it with lentils, quinoa or bulgur. In the morning I normally eat more fats, such as bread with butter, eggs or cheese with avocado and almonds. Fats are better utilised during the day than during the night.
What is your favourite running brand?
In previous years I have worn a lot of clothes and shoes by ASICS, as I like their philosophy «Anima Sana In Corpore Sano»! Now, I often vary my shoes and I orient towards my own needs, as, basically, no brand is better than the other. I like the Nike Free model a lot for endurance and Nike clothes for their design. For competitions, I have recieved the Nike Zoom Streak LT3 Light Speed. It is very, very light, which I like.
What was a special moment for you as a running coach/ Gold coach?
When someone tells me that he or she has made progress thanks to my coaching and my advice and that this has led to a better feeling in daily running training.
Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?
Beginners, as well as experienced runners can profit from my experience and my testing of different methods and approaches. However, the most important thing with coaching is listening to the athlete and to understand the context, the person’s needs and his or her individual ways. I try to take the athletes’ perspective in order to understand their mental and physical level. Interaction and communication is important, including the exchange of both doubts and joy.
If you wish to book Alexandre as your Gold coach – you can get further information here.