Interview with Claudia Bernasconi

28. August 2018

Claudia Bernasconi is still relatively unknown in German-speaking Switzerland, even though the osteopath has already stood on the Marathon Swiss Championship podium twice and won the 100-km title in June. Just five months after the birth of her daughter no less!

How did you find «your» day in Biel? Can you give us insight into your race and your emotions?

I must admit that I was anxious before the start and felt the need to go home. I was suddenly struck by a fear of the unknown, a fear of distance. Until then, the longest distance I’d covered was a marathon!

When the starting shot rang out, the adventure started with all its ups and downs. I tried to remember what my friend Nicole said to send me on my way – to listen to the sounds of nature, appreciate the smells, and enjoy the tranquillity of the night. 

I met my husband at the 24 km mark which gave me a real motivational kick. This was also necessary as I had already experienced a low. He motivated and looked after me. He knows exactly what to say in order to motivate and push me. And he also knows when it’s better to keep quiet :-) I naturally thought a lot about my daughter, who spent the night without her parents for the first time. A big thank you to the grandparents :-)

My husband got a call from my parents about 10 kilometres before the finish. Their voices gave me tremendous encouragement in what was a difficult phase of the race for me. At the 94 km mark I got into real difficulties: a cramp in the abductors! I was engulfed by panic and doubt but fortunately my husband took things in hand and got me back on track.

I thus managed to make it to the finishing line. It's indescribable what you can feel after such an arduous night. An unforgettable elation that I could share with my husband.

So far you have competed in all distances up to the marathon. And now even further than the 42.2 km. What does your training routine look like in general and with your daughter in particular?

After her birth, I put my training in the hands of Bruno Heubi, the multiple French master in the team. He concocted a plan for me that is tailored to my free days and doesn’t have any constraints when training in the stadium. He knew exactly how to restore my confidence and support me.

I usually go to work very early in the morning and don’t take a break, so I can train during the afternoon. During my days off – I work 80% – I tend to go running in the morning. And I have purchased a treadmill to make my training more flexible. My training therefore amounts to 6 units a week and one day of rest.

My husband sometimes accompanies me with the pram, or he looks after the little one at home while I train.

As an osteopath and runner, you are in a position to wear different "hats” in some situations. As an osteopath, what three tips would you pass on to runners? And which three to running trainers?

My tips for the runners:

  1. Buy running shoes that are tailored to your feet and your running style in a specialised running sports shop (I personally go to New Concept Sport).
  2. Adjust your step in such a way that you land on the midfoot area and run at a cadence of 180 steps per minute.
  3. Focus on good muscle development in your feet and do strength gymnastic exercises for your deep muscles on a regular basis.

My tips for the trainers:

  1. Adjust yourself to each athlete with a personalised training program.
  2. Make sure you increase the load during training, work with structured blocks, and incorporate a rest week every 3-4 weeks.
  3. Listen to the athlete, take the feelings seriously and adjust the training accordingly. Let them do alternative sports if you are suffering pain.

In your eyes, what are the most important factors that lead to success? 

  1. The passion and enjoyment
  2. The daily balance between family, work, and sports
  3. Perseverance

Do you have a secret tip you would be willing to share with us?

You should respect the «open window» during the first 30 minutes after the exertion. It is advisable to drink a regeneration drink during this time. I personally rely on the drinks from Sponser. An adequate fluid intake is also essential, and I recommend taking mineral salts.

Here is a simple recipe that I really like: frozen fruits mixed with Greek yoghurt and protein powder. This makes homemade ice cream :-)

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