Interview with Fabienne Schlumpf

1. November 2016

Fabienne Schlumpf stormed into the finales at the Olympic Games in Rio with the new Swiss record for the 3000m steeplechase. The 15-time Swiss champion, who also came in fifth at the European Championships in Amsterdam, delivers a convincing performance on the track, road, and in cross-country races.

You have continuously improved your level of performance over the years. In your eyes, what are the three most important factors that have contributed to this?

Up until now I have been spared any major injuries and have never had to take a prolonged training break, apart from the summer of 2015, where I suffered overload symptoms.

My friend and trainer, Michi Rüegg, has now known me for a very long time and ever since 2007, when I decided to get serious about running, has carefully built me up and slowly increased my training workload from year to year.

My family, friends, sponsors and my club have always supported and believed in me. Thanks to them, I was able to turn my hobby into a profession and can now do what I love doing best every day.

You are still working as a business woman and therefore need to juggle your career with training. How do you organise yourself so that neither your training nor recovery comes off badly?

Thanks to my employer, Wetzikon city administration, I can not only organise my working time flexibly but also benefit from the additional holidays. This makes it possible for me to spend many weeks at training camps and participate in competitions each year. My short commute to work means I can organise my daily routine very efficiently and have enough time for me and for just putting my feet up now and again.

We see you on the track, road, and also in cross country races. Can you give us an overview of how much time you spend running, alternative training, weight lifting, and recovering each week and in which phase of the year?

I like running on different routes. So far, the annual high point was always a major international event in the summer. In winter, cross country running gives me the strength and toughness for the long track season and in between I always like to incorporate road runs as competitive training or as a change to my everyday training.

The number of weekly kilometres depends entirely on the training phase. In winter I run considerably more kilometres each week than in summer, even if short track runs are scheduled now and again. I always plan alternative training at the beginning of my basic training phase. I like to replace an endurance run with a bike tour or a few lengths in the indoor swimming pool. Strength training is definitely not one of my favourite units. I prefer to be out and about in the nature. But what must be must be and for that reason I normally do strength training once a week, where we work a lot with my own body weight and medicine balls.

We are currently right in the middle of the autumn running season. What are the three most important training tips you can give hobby runners for a successful competition?

It is very important to plan your competitions well. It’s best if you select a target competition in which you would like to give your best performance and plan the competitions before it as part of your preparation.
A good foundation is important so when you start your preparation, the focus should be on improving your basic endurance.

Your plan should contain one fast unit each week. The closer the target competition, the shorter and more intensive the runs should be. Have fun!