Interview with Felix Köhler

21. March 2017

Felix Köhler started participating in cycle races at an early age. After some time, the native Bad Säckinger athlete discovered running and joined the elite duathletes three years ago, where he won the cablex Produathlon Point Races in 2015 and 2016.  

You became one of the world’s top duathletes within a period of two years. In your eyes, what are the key factors that have brought you so far and led to your success?  

While I believe the statement "one of the world’s top duathletes within a period of two years" certainly sounds very good, it does, however, neglect the fact that I have already been doing endurance sports for 17 years and, apart from a few individual years, have always had a very high level of performance. The fact that I could train continuously over the years and was also fortunate enough to be spared any major injuries meant it was ultimately possible to catch up quite quickly and get to the top in the duathlon.

Continuity is certainly an important factor that contributed to my success. For me personally, however, it is much more important to enjoy what I do and not have to force it. This tends to have no place in endurance sports.

You definitely need to have patience. If you can do this and also not let one or the other set back hold you back, your personal success will come in time.

You were a cyclist to begin with, and later a runner. What are your most important tips to make the running and cycling sports disciplines become a whole?  

Training for a duathlon/triathlon is more specific. Long runs and long cycling tours are still an important part of my training. In order to merge both types of sports into a whole, the famous coupling training is required, of which there are many different variants. It also makes sense to spread out the training of both sports disciplines over the day. This can, for example, be a running unit with intervals. The cycling unit is then somewhat on the regenerative side. I consider "the more, the better" variant to be inappropriate for working people. Here, quality instead of quantity is much more important. The danger here is that you end up doing one or two hours more just for the sake of training, thus impacting your regeneration, which is almost more important than training and should by no means be neglected.




Can you give us an overview of how much time you spend running/cycling, alternative training, weight lifting, and recovering each week and in which phase of the year?  

Over the past three years, I’ve been constantly experimenting to get the best possible training set up. Since I work full time, training always needs to be incorporated into my everyday life. At the beginning of my training year (usually early October), the focus is more on short, high-intensive units. Most of the cycling units are therefore done on the roller. As soon as the days start getting longer and the first longer competitions start looming on the horizon, I incorporate targeted longer units into my training again. On a yearly average (as at mid-March 2017), I cycle 380 km a week and run 84 km. This will go up a little bit during the year. Apart from trunk stability exercises, I don’t do any other alternative training.

Eating and drinking is important, if not crucial during a duathlon, depending on the duration of the race. What does your eating and drinking plan look like during a 6 to 7-hour race, such as in a Produathlon Point Race?  

I still have not found my perfect nutrition plan for the duathlon long distance. So far, however, I have cycled well on 0.5 - 0.7l of fluids per hour, to which I add a carbohydrate-rich powder. I also take gels and always like to eat one or two Snickers at the start of the cycling part. To date, I have managed the second run with just water/Coke/Red Bull, but still need to tweak it a little to figure out the right amount of energy. During a short distance, such as the Swiss Duathlon Series race, I usually only have a water bottle on the bike and a gel with me. I have never yet needed it but recommend it for emergencies. Since the race duration of usually just under an hour is relatively short, my energy reserves are always sufficient. Around 30-45 minutes before the race I eat another bar or some chocolate.




Foto: ZVG