Meet our Gold Coach Alexandre Roch

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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.

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.

Meet our Gold Coach Gabriel Lombriser

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He’s definitely THE ALLROUNDER among our Gold coaches: Gabriel Lombriser. Orienteer, mountain runner, triathlete, duathlete and, most preferably, trail runner – successful in different disciplines. His longstanding experience as a training guide and coach is noticeable in the interview: you can find more background information about his passion for running, as well as a lot of tips here.

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

There’s probable no bigger popular sport in Switzerland than running. That’s not too surprising, considering that running probably is the most primitive of all sports. All you need is a pair of shoes, a shirt and pants. You can do it wherever you like, it is easy to learn and progress can be easily seen, even at a higher age. Switzerland is a country of runners and the run-ning scene is steadily growing. People run for reasons of health, because it’s just good for you to be outside and to move. The many popular running events also motivate people, as you can experience them in a huge crowd, which in turn encourages you to push your own limits and to perform at your very best. The current trend in Swiss running clearly goes towards more trail, less road, more adventure, experiences and emotions in nature. The aspect of time keeping and the cracking of certain time marks, like in mara-thon, are becoming secondary concerns.

Tell us your personal running story.

At the age of 18 I took up running, or athletics. Before that, I had been ac-tive as an ice hockey player and in the gymnastics club. While, at the beginning, I mostly did middle and long distance track running, I gradually started to run more on the road and in nature. My specialty still are runs requiring a lot of strength, such as mountain runs or cross-country runs. I even was an orienteer for years. Time after time, my love for multi-sports evolved and I

have been able to finish numerous Gigathlons or Ironmans up to now. At the moment, I am rather going a bit more «back to the roots», and back to simple running. It simply is the most natural sport still. It doesn’t require a lot of equipment and it is easy to be executed. And, above all, I can almost get anywhere by foot. I love the long trainings in the mountains – over hedge and ditch, up on hills, enjoying the views and the calm, and then going down again.

What has been your favourite running experience so far?

Difficult to say. I’ve had so many great moments in my career so far, both in trainings and in competitions. The most emotional one has probably been the run in at the Gigathlon 2012 in Olten, where I managed to cross the fi-nish line as the second runner after two days and almost 24 hours of com-petition. Other highlights were the finish at the Ironman Hawaii and the cra-cking oft he 24h world record on the treadmill together with 11 friends of mine.

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

Results have become a bit secondary for me. For 2017, I am rather looking for challenges such as a longer trail run in Switzerland. I haven’t decided on any specific one yet.

What is your favourite type of training?

I love training in a group and I even guide a training myself for the STB in Bern. It’s a pretty cool thing if up to 30 fast guys and girls smash an intense interval session together – Kenian style. My favourite training type for the group is the binary session: 1x4min, 2x2min, 8x30s, 16x15s, where the break should always be half the time of the interval.

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

That one I only share with my Gold athletes, of course! Very generally, and important for runners of all ages: if you want to be able to do a sport free from injury, to do it for as long as possible, and to always keep improving, I recommend you to do a strenghthening programme in any case. Even regular stretching or yoga help to keep your body smooth and agile!

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

Nothing special. A coffee one hour before the race, then a good warm-up and lining up only shortly before the start. That way, I can make sure the level of adrenaline is appropriate right from the start!

What is your personal tipp for competitions? 

Go to the start well prepared. Make yourself familiar with the route/ task beforehand in your thoughts. If you know your performance level, you should know what time you are capable of running and you should be able to pace yourself appropriately from the start. The running.COACH estimations for competitions and the GPS watch are helpful instruments, too.

Do you mind your nutrition?

I try to eat balanced. I usually start my days with a müesli with a lot of fruit, nuts and almond milk. In addition, I have an egg. This gives me power for the whole day.

What is your favourite running brand? 

I have been favouring the products by Salomon for years. For trail and adventure trainings and competitions there is no brand offering as many great products as Salomon. Now, Salomon even produces top road running shoes, which are not only fast, but even look good!

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

There have been countless awesome experiences and successes as a coach. As a coach, it’s always great if you know your athletes and their personal capacity so well that they are able to keep to the pace you’ve recommended right until the end. That way, people achieve personal bests and positive emotions are guaranteed. This always makes me happy anew!

Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?

I can pass all of the experiences that I’ve gained as an athlete and as a coach in all different running disciplines, distances and topologies on to you unfiltered! I see myself as a partner, with whom to achieve very personal goals at any level. Working towards a goal together makes more fun than alone, sharing successful experiences even more so. I support athletes with both their rough and their detailed planning, I support them in case of difficult decisions, I motivate them in tough times and I slow them down if their drive is on the verge of overboarding.

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Meet our Gold Coach Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck

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Do you need some motivation at the beginning of the year? You will surely find that in our interview with Gold coach Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck. The certified sports scientist and nutritionist is a mother now. However, being a former high performance athlete (German champion in marathon 2010), she is still constantly on the move.

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

Running is very popular in Germany and city runs are getting more and more popular, too. Running is a national sport – that’s great!

Tell us your personal running story.

Running has always be a part of my life. As a child, I played handball and football, I was a member of a tennis squad and I would always go for runs with my neighbor. When I was as fast as the ”big ones” already as a ”little one”, I was approached by a club. At the age of 14 I took up running guided by a coach. Well, and with success came specialisation. I decided to focus more specifically on running, I became German champion several times and I participated in international cross-country running competitions. After an injury in 2013, I quit my career as a professional runner, but enjoy running even more intensely now being a coach.

What has been your favourite running experience so far?

Oh, there are so many. Actually, every run. An especially memorable experience, however, was the Wings for Life run, which I won in 2015. Out of the blue, I had decided to take part and I originally only wanted to run 30km, but then I got all euphoric and I suddenly ended up in the leading group. The interesting thing with this competiton is that the finish is not fixed but decided by the moment when the so called «catcher car» catches the runners. So, I was being chased the whole way and I did not know for how long I would be running. In the end it was about 50km and I was totally surprised. Awesome feeling.

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

At the moment, I just run according to intuition, as my son Frederik is only nine months old. But this is nice for a change. My goal is to feel good having a break from running.

What is your favourite type of training?

I’ve come to love short, intense sessions, such as for example the «running Tabata-training », comprising 10 min warm-up, then 4×4 min Tabata (20s fast running, 10s easy jogging, repeated 8 times) with 2 min easy jogging in between. Then cool-down. Great!

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

Qualitiy over quantity. Have the courage to push yourself a little sometimes and don’t simply take it easy all the time.

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

Not anymore. What is always important though: your meals should be standardised. I would not experiment there!

What is your personal tipp for competitions? 

Relaxed in your head, relaxed (à fast) in your legs. Easier said than done. Try to always remind yourself of why you are doing this. For yourself!

Do you mind your nutrition?

Of course. Without nutrition training is only half as efficient and good, balanced food is essential for your health. I surely nibble, but I love eating healthy, it’s just good for me.

What is your favourite running brand? 

Odlo. Easy one! Odlo has an excellent quality. The products last forever, they fit perfectly and they feel great. Furthermore, Odlo is very conscious of sustainability and they for example produce a collection with shares of yarn residues. They are also a member of the « Fair Wear Foundation », so, the working conditions are monitored. I find that extremely important.

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

When my runner Andreas achieved his marathon goal brilliantly!

Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?

A coach who is always there for you as a runner, who gives you feedback and sometimes also gently drives you is just «worth a mint». This way, you can achieve your running goals more easily, you get to know more about nutrition, recovery, alternative training etc. – just an ideal and complete running training package!

Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck has got her own category on our blog – new entries will follow.

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Meet our Gold Coach Ole Srocke

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This Interview is with our Gold-Coach Ole Srocke, runner and triathlete. Read about his running background and get his advise.

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Tell us your personal running story.

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I was 19 years old when one day, as I was doing an easy jog in Lüttich, I incidentally met Alemitu Bekele, who was a Belgian marathon champion at that time. So we ran a view kilometers together. When I arrived at home, completely exhausted but happy, I entered for the Hamburg marathon 2010. Alemitu had said to me: «This will not be your last marathon…» ! How right she was. After Hambur 2010, 11 marathons, numerous fun runs over 5, 10 or 21,1km and a few triathlons followed.

What has been your favourite running experience so far?

Sun, 4th place and a lot of fun at the Freiburg marathon 2014 in the home of my choice.

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

The Freiburg marathon 2017 and the Challenge Roth 2017 (long distance triathlon). Preparation for that? The best way ist to just enjoy training and to look forward to it!!! Hence, in winter: a lot of base training in the water and long runs, as well as a few tours on the mountain bike in order not to lose the feeling for cycling. As from January/February, the real marathon preparations start, thus: running, running, running. As from April then, more cycling is on the plan. I do tours in Black Forest, in the Vosges mountains and in the Rhine plain, as well as superb runs and a couple of short distance triathlon competitions.

What is your favourite type of training?

I actually like all kinds of running. I love long runs because you can do them easily without pushing too hard. My favourite session on track is 20x400m with 200m easy jogging.

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

This sure is no secret but in order for training to work you need to really be into it! Look forward to your training, enjoy training WHILE training, and be happy about having trained AFTER training. And in those cases where I am not keen on training, I simply look forward to AFTER training!

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

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Every competition is different, which is why I always listen to my head and body before a competition and try to figure out what I need that specific day. And then I do it.

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

Don’t make yourself go crazy. Any doubts about your shape or training before competitions? All in your head. Three days before the competition your foot starts hurting? Just in your head. Stay calm. And go out and show what you can in the competition!

Do you mind your nutrition?

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Yes. During base training low carb works very well form me (carbohydrates only via fruit and vegetables). Favourite meal: Fresh fruit with linseed, grated vanilla and a bit of stevia.

What is your favourite running brand? 

ON Running.

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

When the first runner I ever coached beat his marathon target time by 20 minutes.

Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?

Simply because I enjoy training and supporting you to reach your goals. Book here Ole as your Gold coach.

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Meet our Gold Coach Ueli Bieler

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This Interview is with our Gold-Coach Ueli Bieler, runner and triathlete. Read about his running background and get his advise.

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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?

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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?

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Ueli at Glacier 3000 Run in Switzerland

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?

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Ueli’s Kitchen!

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.

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Meet our Gold Coach Lina Strand

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Our Gold Coach Lina Strand from Sweden just won a bronze medal at the World Orienteering Championships in the sprint relay: huge congratulations. Meet Lina in our interview and get some personal running advise from her. Until the 10th September 2016 you still can profit and we will give you 10% off the gold subscription. You buy it now and start the coaching sessions whenever you want. Find the code and more details below.

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Lina’s explanations below the interview*

 

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

Running is at the moment big here in Sweden. All the running competitions are growing and running has become a big part of peoples try to live a healthy life. Though this is mostly among adults and I wish that younger teens also would embrace this “boom” of running which is going on at the moment.

Tell us your personal running story.

Running has been a part of my entire life and many of my early memories are myself running! My sport has always been orienteering, where running is a big part. The only difference is the surface – we run mostly in forest on uneven ground instead of the flat run on asphalt. But, I’ve been doing that as well and already as a young child we were playing “olympics” and then it was mostly the running events we practiced, from 60m up to 2k, which felt quite long for 8-10 year olds. I have also always preferred running before walking, especially when going home from friends during late nights. I was afraid of the dark and felt always more comfortable running home than walking.

It was my parents who introduced me for the running sports and at the moment I am among top 10 of the world’s best orienteers. This means that I have been training a lot of running as we compete between 15 to 90 minutes of running (orienteering). The last couple of years I have not participated in so many running competitions as the orienteering season contains of so much competitions. Though I this year beat my personal record on the, in Gothenburg (which is my home town), well-known “grus8an”, one round on a gravel track of almost 8 km to 28.16. Though this time still have some potential for improvement.

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Lina icebug runnig Photo: Icebug

 

What has been your favourite running experience so far?

My best running experience is for sure the world championships in orienteering on home ground this August 2016. I ran the first leg of the sprint relay in Strömstad town and did a solid race and reached the finish first of all. There were thousands of people (mostly Swedish) there cheering and it was magical! My team, Sweden, ended up as 3rd and we got a long-awaited bronze medal.

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sprint relay finish Photo: Mattias Karlsson

 

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

My next goal is next year’s world championships in orienteering in Estonia and on my way towards that and hopefully more medals I need to improve my running skill. I especially need to be faster, so I will try to work on that.

What is your favourite type of training? 

I love to do 8 times 1k on this gravel track (grus-8an) here in Gothenburg. I also like training in stairs, which I quite recent started with. I believe this is a very good and quite easy way to improve explosive skills which is important to become a better and faster runner.

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

Have patience! Develop running skills takes time. First your improvement can go quite fast, for example to lower your 5k time from 30-35 minutes to 20-25, but then the hard work starts and you need patience. Of course it matters of what your goals is and also how your background looks like, but the hardest part is always to continue and stick with training to get the real improvement later on which may take some years. My advice is to have the courage to plan in long-term, to dream, and then make a plan towards it. Which are the boundaries between my current position and the position I dream on? What can I do to get there and what kind of help do I need?

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

Yes, I have my warm-up ritual which mostly contains of 15 min easy running and some stretching. Then I always do 2 min-interval in competition speed to wake up the body. I then to some shorter speed-ups and then I feel fully prepared. I believe it is important to find a warm-up ritual that you trust and that makes your body well-prepared. This can change between persons why it is good to try some different so you know which is best for you. Before important competitions it is easy to tart think too much of what may be the best to do and then do too much stuff which makes you tired and unsure before the race. That is why rituals can be important to stick feeling fully confident.

Do you mind your nutrition?

Nutrition is important, but the most important thing for me training mostly 12 times a week is to get enough. Training with lack of energy is nothing I ever would recommend. But of course it is also important what I eat which help me avoid illness. I try to always eat a lot of green salad (ruccola/spinach for example) to my lunch and dinner meals (together with protein and carbs sources).

What is your favourite running brand? 

2XU is my favourite running clothes. The long tights and the shorts gives me a perfect running feeling. Compression tights helps your muscles stay in the right place to avoid the small vibrations when you hit the ground in each step. I am feeling fast! Shoes I prefer the local brand Icebug when I run in the forest as they have the perfect grip on wet and uneven surfaces!

2xu och icebug brand
2xu and icebug brand Photo: Jonas Birgersson

 

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

I am quite new as a gold coach here at running coach but I have memories from other coaching commissions. My best memories is always to see my adepts fulfilling their goals and perhaps also reaching beyond them after long and hard work. That is always great moments!

Why should a customer book you as a Gold coach?

I am eager to help people reach their goals as I know exactly how great the feeling is when you do it. I have a lot of own experiences, but also an on-going education which gives me broad knowledge. My strength is to see things from a lot of different perspectives which may help to find the right way for my customer even if he or she feels like their development has stopped. I also know that training can be complex with all the things you read in media, some is scientific, but most is not. It is very hard to know, just by reading on internet or magazines what’s good for you and that is why it can be nice to have a gold coach to discuss all this things with.

Would you like to book Lina Strand 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

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*Lina’s WARM-UP Explanations

Coffee or tea? – Tea. I’ve never learnt to like the taste of coffea, but the beans smells good!

Summer or winter?- Summer. I like training camps in nice wheather and especially when you can finish it with a swim in the ocean.

Running training in the morning or in the evening? I do most of my fast trainings during the evening, but I am also used going up training in the morning as I mostly do 2 trainings a day. But if I have to choose, I say evening.

Running training alone or in a group? Group! Both hard intervals where I get pacing from others, but also the easy long runs when you can chat and run for hours!

Running in the terrain or on asphalt? As an orienteer I must say the terrain. Its benefits a lot, both to avoid injuries as it is more careful, but also that it helps strengthen some of your small stabilizing muscles in your legs.

Running with or without a GPS watch? With! I love analyzing my heart rate and speed after a well executed session.

Running statistics: yes or no? Yes of course! I believe that it helps you improve your running skills. Though statistics is not everything and I also believe that you need the sense of your own feeling as well.

Pre-competition meal: pasta or rice? Doesn’t matter – it depends on the sauce you add. 😉 No pasta or rice without sauce!

Competition nutrition: gel or bar? Gel! It is very easy to “eat” during hard running.

Alternative training: swimming or biking/cycling? Biking, as I am not a swimmer and I like to explore areas which you do much better by bike. I also like alternative training methods as wetvest running, crosstrainer and roller skies.

Running during pregnancy

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How can you run safe throughout your pregnancy?

That Monday morning in January 2015, I just wanted to go for my usual run. However, my positive pregnancy test in mind, I wondered: “am I even supposed to run anymore?” This thought turned that “usual run” into a special one and one which I still remember. At the start, I ran as if I was jogging on eggshells. It somehow felt strange and unusual, even if it was probably mostly in my head rather than my body. I soon got rid of that feeling and lots of runs were to follow. I am hereby broaching the issue of running training during pregnancy and I am going to try and give advice about how still to run with your belly growing bigger.

Many expectant mothers have been very active before pregnancy and they want to remain active even during and after. Exercise and pregnancy are not mutually exclusive. However, hardly anyone is as easy to unsettle as a pregnant woman. This should not have to be like that! Recently, several positive effects of exercise on both the mother and the baby have been demonstrated: a positive influence on the mood of the expectant mother, decreasing risk of gestational diabetes, avoidance of excessive weight gain, less physical complaints and higher physical and psychological resilience of the mother.

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During my pregnancy, the following points have been my guidance:

  1. Every pregnancy is different. Therefore, you should always talk about your plans with a medical expert in advance.
  2. No experiments in your training during pregnancy: expectant mothers should only train the way they have been doing before pregnancy. If you haven’t been running before your pregnancy, you should not start with that as long as you are expecting. What you could do in that case is to start with Aquajogging, Nordic Walking or to use a cross trainer.
  3. Listen to your body! Our body is able to give us rather reliable signals for what works and what does not. Active people usually have particularly good body awareness. Listen to the signals from your body (heart rate, temperature, well-being, etc.) and act accordingly. In case of bleedings or contractions of the uterus, stop the current sporting activity immediately!

Running training during pregnancy

Experienced runners may continue with their training as before, provided they consider the following points.

Intensity

High intense training in the anaerobic zone is not recommended, as this firstly prevents the baby from getting enough oxygen, and secondly, the concussions on your body might be too heavy.

Amount of training

As long as your running feeling and recovery are good, there is no reason for you to reduce the amount of training hours from before pregnancy. However, pregnancy itself is already a physical stress for your body and can be compared to light endurance training. Generally, I have reduced my training load a little and in the beginning of my pregnancy I did not have the energy to do long runs. I did not start doing them later either, because with my weight increasing, running was becoming more exhausting than swimming or cycling.

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Running in the first trimester

In the first trimester it is all about gaining trust and feeling what is still possible. If everything else feels good, you can continue with your usual running training, as long as you adjust the intensity. I was tired a lot and I often had troubles getting myself to put on my shoes and to go out running. But still, after training I always felt better.

Running in the second trimester

In the second trimester many women are very vivid and this should be taken advantage of. Towards the end of the second trimester, running training has to potentially be reduced due to the growing belly. Shorter runs or single trainings should then be replaced with Nordic Walking, Aquajogging or a cross trainer. As opposed to the other two sports I usually do (swimming and cycling), I could really feel my increased weight when running. I reduced the length of my base runs to 40-45 minutes towards the end of the second trimester.

Running in the third trimester

The baby belly is growing and now, at the latest, people start staring at you when they see you running past: a woman, pregnant, running?! It is still possible to run even in the third trimester, as long as it feels comfortable. Some are able to run right until the end of their pregnancy. I was still running for about 40 minutes two to three times a week by the 35th week of pregnancy. I especially focused on a smooth running style, so that the extra weight would not lead to incorrect loading or other injuries. In addition to that, I did a running training in the water (Aquajogging), which was a bit longer than my ordinary running sessions.

Quitting running

One day, the moment might come when you realise that it doesn’t work anymore. This can be in the first, second or even third semester and it is really individual. Sometimes it might help to alternate running and walking or you might just try another day. I stopped my running training when I started to repeatedly feel my lower belly going hard when running. I changed to the cross trainer, which, in addition to Aquajogging, turned out to be a good alternative.

Strength training is a must!

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Strength training in relation with running training gets ever more important in the course of a pregnancy. The additional weight is extra demanding for your body and the stress on the pelvic floor is enormous. Further, the hormone relaxin loosens tendons and ligaments and it can lead to instability.

My ten pieces of personal running advise for expecting mothers

  • Trust your body feeling, but use a heart rate belt at times after all.
  • Do only take part in competitions if you are able to control yourself and run according to heart rate. This is why competitions were a taboo for me.
  • Generally, and especially with an ongoing pregnancy, running works better in the morning than in the evening. The bladder is empty and not yet strained from everyday life.
  • Allow for possible toiled breaks in your sessions. The concussions emerging when running often made me feel like I had to pee.
  • I hardly felt my baby moving while jogging. She probably used to fall asleep then, she was always very active after. .
  • Be careful with your gear: Your sports bra should fit well (your breasts might change during pregnancy) and your running shoes should not be worn out already.
  • I don’t have any experience in this myself, but others have told me that it helps to wear an abdominal belt and that this makes running more comfortable.
  • Don’t run on an empty stomach and bring a small snack – almonds did the job for me.
  • Drink enough after training and, if necessary, already during training.
  • Healthy and balanced nutrition is important during pregnancy in general and for active women especially

I wish you all many nice running moments, even when pregnant. Keep on moving…

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Our Gold Coach Stefanie Meyer is a passionate runner and Ironwoman. She lives her passion for sports through her profession as a sports scientist, sports teacher and running coach. She left Switzerland in summer 2014 and has been living in London since then. Being a mum herself, Stefanie runs a blog www.sportymum.net about sports during and after pregnancy. Since the birth of her daughter she has been regularly taking part in competitions again.

Meet our Gold Coach Pat Nispel

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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.

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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.

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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

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