Interview with Eva Hürlimann

21. May 2019

Eva Hürlimann, the mother of three from the Emmental, is the reigning quintuple world record holder(!) Ironman distance: over five days she swam 3.86 km five times, cycled 180.2 km five times, and ran 42.195 km five times. Now she aims to break the world record for the decuple Ironman distance!

What many will never achieve in a lifetime, you will be doing ten times in a row. What does it take to accomplish such a performance? And in record time at that.

It takes a lot of different things. A passion for endurance sports, the joy of doing what you do, pleasure in tackling the challenges, a strong will, the ability to be focused and, last but not least, a good team to support you.

Can you explain and illustrate your training principles by means of an exemplary training week?

I don’t have an exemplary training week because I can only plan my training to a limited extent due to my children and each week looks different.

In my opinion, focused training is important: for example, regular strengthening exercises, high-quality training, and concentrating on the essentials. You should frequently ask yourself how much effort you want to spend for which result. It makes little sense for me, for example, to invest many hours in swimming. I would rather invest the effort needed to swim 2 minutes faster in running. This is definitely more efficient for me personally.


You're also work as a speaker and give motivational lectures. What are your three most important messages for amateur athletes and companies?

  • Enjoy what you do: where there is success, there is also joy.

  • Be focused: efficiency is the key to success.

  • Crisis management: an ultra-triathlon is ongoing crisis management. The better it can be dealt with, the more successful the athlete.

In a race such as the quintuple or decuple Ironman distance, nutrition not only plays an important role, but a downright crucial one. What does your nutrition plan look like?

What I find fascinating about nutrition is how the performance of athletes can be improved with a good diet. It is important to start with full reserves and to eat and to drink regularly, even if you are not hungry or thirsty. It also all boils down to your mentality. Either you eat/drink, or you can no longer achieve the performance.

During the quintuple, I ate a double portion after each Ironman before going to sleep in order to replenish my reserves.


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

Recovery plays a key role before, during, and after the race. Since my regeneration tends to get a raw deal as a mother, I need to be all the more careful and purposefully fit it in! You can find my secret tip that I use on a daily basis here, where I will be happy to explain it in more detail.

Foto: ZVG

Many thanks to Eva Hürlimann for the exciting answers.