Interview with Laila Orenos

22. August 2017

Laila Orenos dominates the bike marathons almost at will. This year alone the 34-year-old has already succeeded in winning the two bike marathons in Switzerland and would like to land her fourth successive victory in the Ötztaler Cycle Marathon at the end of August.

What do you generally believe are the most important factors for your success?

Determination stands above all and in my eyes, is the most important key to success. It allows me to push through with structured training and achieve my athletic goals. It has taken a lot of time and patience to get this far. 

Furthermore, in addition to the constant professionalisation and optimisation of my training, there is the fact that I was always healthy and could constantly train and build up my form.

Can you explain your training principles and give hobby cyclists some tips?

I strictly adhere to a training plan that gives me structure and enables me to plan well for the race on the one hand, and allows individual weeks of training on the other. The training is diverse, varied, built up in various phases and is specifically tailored to my goals. I thus cycle a lot of 4 to 8-minute intervals in the development range, for example, as well as 30-45 min intervals on a regular basis. The longer interval units are below the threshold. My training therefore only very rarely incorporates highly intensive intervals as perhaps done by the classic racing cyclist. 

I also pay great attention to recovery. When it comes to competitive goals, it pays to give yourself time and to take the time too. 




In the case of bike marathons, rationing your strength is of crucial importance. What are your respective tactics for the marathon?

I know in advance exactly how many watts I am allowed to cycle at what hour and in which pass. I am thus sure of the best possible result. This means I can cycle at my own rhythm with a small reserve for any eventuality and don’t need to change my rhythm. I only exceed the specified value for a short period of time (a few seconds) if I need to link up with a group, for example.

I eat and drink at regular intervals and generally consume 1 gel per hour. I keep a gel reserve with me for emergencies.

A hobby cyclist generally cycles for much shorter periods than when ultimately in a bike marathon. What are the decisive elements when preparing for a challenge of 200 kilometres and more than 4000 metres difference in altitude?

My training units are also usually shorter: during the week, my units have a short duration (1-2 h) and are peppered with intervals. At the weekend, I cycle for longer and generally at a lower intensity (4-5 h). I rarely or never train for the duration of the competition. I do this at most if I am cycling a very special route with an extraordinary goal. 

I specifically intersperse my cycling with training blocks if a long weekend is coming up, for example. I find this the optimal stimulus when it comes to bike marathons.

Generally, the following applies: Regular training peppered with intensive units is important for a successful race. The more structured and targeted the training, the better. 

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

I think that the bike does not need to be ultra-lightweight, but should primarily be well tuned and a good fit so you feel comfortable. You invest so much in the preparation. It is therefore all the more annoying when it ultimately doesn’t work out due to defective equipment that could have been avoided. That is why I get my bike serviced two to three times during the season.




Foto: ZVG