Meet our Gold Coach Alexandre Roch


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.

Snacks for Runners


In our series #RUNNINGFOOD we give you practicle tips in terms of suitable snacks for you as a runner. It keeps turning up once in a while, this slight feeling of hunger. But, what to do? If you feel like you need little snacks in everyday life, you should prepare some to bring with you. Nothing is more «dangerous» than sitting at the work desk, getting hungry, and then walking to the company’s chocolate machine to go and get yourself a Snickers. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Sometimes this slight sensation of hunger comes out of nowhere, even if you have eaten a good lunch. So, bring something with you instead, or keep a pack of nuts or trail mix in the drawer of your desk. A little snack in between does not do any harm at all. On the contrary: those who train regulary burn more energy and they often feel delayed hunger (espacially after a long or intense session).

However, if you eat a lot of «fast carbohydrates», such as, for example, toast with honey for breakfast, pasta and pesto for lunch and something sweet in between, you should change something about your basic nutrition. This hunger in between stems from a strongly fluctuating blood sugar level.

Here are some healthy snacks for you, adjusted to the time of training.

Snack about 2-3 hours before training

Before a training, it is important that you choose foods you can stomach well. Here, you need to test and try out. Generally, these snacks should be rather rich in carbohydrates and poor in fats and proteins. The more intense the session, the more important it is to make the right choice.

How about this?

  • a ripe banana
  • a lye pretzel
  • a sports bar
  • a portion of porridge (cooked in water)



Ingredients (for 1 person):

100ml water

100ml milk (or just water)

about 30-40g oats

1 tea spoon of cinnamon

some honey


Heat up oats in the water (and milk, if you choose that version). Boil up quickly and let it swell. Season with cinnamon and honey. A ripe banana with it is delicious, too.

Snack a couple of hours after training

If you have eaten after training, but still get a slight feeling of hunger a couple of hours later, the ideal snack would contain proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

  • butter milk or Kefir, either natural or blended with banana/ berries/ cocoa
  • trail mix
  • salted nuts
  • yoghurt with fruit
  • a piece of fruit
  • vegetabe sticks with cottage cheese
  • protein drink
  • smoothie

Or one out of these recipes


Almond-coconut balls


100g ground almonds

100g coconut flakes

50g almond butter

50g cocoa butter (or double the amount of almond butter)

50g agave syrup

some cocoa


Mix almonds with coconut flakes. Have the cocoa butter melt gently in a water bath, blend with almond butter and add to the almond-coconut-mixture. Add agave syrup, if you like. Knead by hand. Cool down and then form small balls. Roll in cocoa.


Self-made chocolate pudding

Ingredients (2-3 portions):

500ml milk

40g cornstarch

2 table spoons cocoa powder

50g agave syrup?

½ tea spoon fresh vanilla


Boil up the milk in a pot. Mix cornstarch with cocoa and vanilla in a bowl. Blend with 3 table spoons of milk. Pour the mixture into the boiling milk with a whisk, sweeten with agave syrup.


Salty-sweet bars


100g peanut butter crunchy salted

1,5 table spoons honey

50g agave syrup

60 g yoghurt butter

50g flaxseeds

50g pumpkin seeds

50g sunflower seeds

50 g sesame

80 g puffed amaranth

50 pretzel sticks, cracked


Preheat oven to 180°C . Blend peanut butter, butter, honey and agave syrup at a medium temperature in a pot. Mix the other ingredients and add to the blend. Blend carefully and add some more honey or peanut butter, depending on the texture. Put the mixture into a baking dish (put a baking paper under) and cut into pieces. The bars normally stay fresh and crispy for a long time if you keep them in a biscuit tin.


Goji power balls (vegan)


50g Goji berries

150g dates stoned and dried

200 g almonds or hazelnuts finely ground

½ tea spoon fresh vanilla

3 table spoons coconut flakes


Mix Goji berries and dates together with some water in a food processor. Gradually add vanilla and almonds or hazlenuts. Once this has turned into a compact dough, knead once again with your hands before you form small balls with your hands. Roll in coconut flakes.

Snack on a rest day or at least 5-6 hours before training

If your training is not due until many hours later, so, for example, in the evening, but you get a little hungry in the morning, you can have one of the «after training» snacks. Those are well stomachable, so that they should not cause any troubles during training in the evening.

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