Interview with Armin Flückiger
During the Three Country Marathon at Lake Constance, Armin Flückiger justified his role as the favourite and became Swiss Marathon Champion for the first time. The retail trade specialist achieved a new personal best of 2:22:44 and is now focussing on breaking the European Championship time of 2:19:00.
You convincingly won the title just over two weeks ago. How did you find the race? Can you give us an insight into your race and how you were feeling?
After a night with little sleep, the day got off to a somewhat lethargic start, but I began to get nervous after breakfast and while I was making the final preparations for the race. During my warm-up run, I didn’t feel very well, which is often the case before a marathon, and had the feeling that my legs were not yet ready while my heart rate was already in the competition zone. I was all the more relieved when the starting shot rang out and we could finally get started.
I started the race focused but faster than planned and after the first 8 km of the race, found myself in the lead with the two favourite North Africans. I subsequently let them go and was on my own from then on. I reached the half-marathon mark about 1 minute behind the leading duo at 70:13 minutes. Despite the intermediate lag of around 1.40 minutes, I didn’t let the increasing heat and headwind deter me and was able to make up time on the last third of the route and close in on the Africans, who were now no longer running together. At the 31.5-kilometre mark I overtook last year's winner, Ahmed El-Jaddar, who was running in second place, and at the 39-kilometre mark, the leading Isaac Kosgei. With a 1.16-minute lead, I was surprised and delighted to reach the finish as the overall winner! I have great memories of the many interviews and photos as well as beautiful awards ceremony with my colleague Chrigi Gmür, who achieved 3rd place at his Swiss Championships marathon debut, and the second gold medal, which I won together with my training colleagues from TV Oerlikon.
You have continuously improved over the last few years. What are your three keys to success?
- For me, health is an important factor in making making training progress over a longer period of time and not suffering any setbacks.
- The motivation to train and take part in competitions. I have an inner drive that makes me to want to improve myself and train for a target competition. It gives me motivation and thus makes running fun.
- The environment, which supports me and enables me to do the sport: starting with my girlfriend, my employer, the club, and the sponsors right through to my training colleagues.
You work full-time and constantly need to juggle training and recovery. How do you organise your training and working life so that neither one nor the other comes off badly? And what are your most important tips for all working amateur runners, so they can fit everything in?
My employer is quite flexible when it comes to my working hours and allows me to train twice a week in the morning and thus arrive later at work. I otherwise do my training in the evening after work. I find this a good counterbalance to my everyday work and can thus “switch off” really well. I regularly go for a massage to ensure I get enough recovery time. Using the Blackroll, stretching, saunas, and getting enough sleep also help me to recover faster.
I would advise working amateur athletes to get organised and set fixed training dates in their schedule. Another useful aid is a fixed training plan.
Dividing the competition up well is the key to success. How do you divide your races? What tips do you have for those runners tackling a marathon this autumn?
It is important to set yourself a realistic goal, know your racing pace, and also run at this pace when training and doing intervals. To determine this, I complete a performance test with lactate measurement at Medbase Winterthur. The results are evaluated by experienced specialists such as my coach, Oliver Rubén, and then discussed with me and incorporated into my everyday training.
I divide my races differently, depending on the topography, competition distance, competitors, and my form on the day.
For those running a marathon this autumn, I recommend, firstly, varying your training; secondly, doing long runs; thirdly, if possible, running in a test competition; and lastly, heavily reducing your training during the tapering phase (last 2 weeks before the marathon).
Do you have a secret tip you would be willing to share with us?
I don’t have a secret tip. But perhaps the Winfore products will help you in your everyday training or during the marathon as much as they help me.
Many thanks to Armin Flückiger for the exciting answers.
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