Interview with Marc Widmer
Long-time Swiss duathlon national team member Marc Widmer has been participating in duathlons for 16 years. The lawyer has a great love for the Powerman Zofingen, in which he celebrated his greatest successes in the age category to date (1x World Champion, 3x runner-up World Champion) and later in the elite class (8x top 10 finisher, one of which he finished in the top 5). This year he is once again striving for a top 5 ranking with a new coach.
A duathlon is more than just running, cycling, and running again. It is far more a question of combining the two sports disciplines into a whole. What are your most important tips to combine the three individual parts into a whole?
- For the first run, it is crucial that you have the running qualities of a pure runner. I therefore recommend doing interval training like the athletes do.
- As for cycling, it is important to practice performing under duress because there is a difference between getting on your bike with fresh legs and cycling when you already have a lot of lactate in your muscles. It is there recommended to practice this transition. Transition training, which focuses on the intensity of both sports disciplines, could look like this, for example: Run 1000 m at the anaerobic threshold and directly after, cycle 10 min at the threshold. Repeat this 3 to 4 times.
- Coupled runs with quality. Directly after your long cycling units, complete a running unit of maximum 30 minutes. 10 min should be at a racing pace, 20 min relaxed. The closer the competition comes, the longer the racing pace time.
As a long-distance duathlete, you’ve chosen a time-consuming discipline. How do you juggle your job as a lawyer with your training?
I became self-employed this year as a partner in the business law firm Roesle Frick & Partner, and thus have the possibility to take four two-week periods off during the important phases to train at a training camp. I was already able to attend this training camp before because I always selected employers that supported my sporting activities. Otherwise, my day has a rigid structure: I train every morning and evening and these two units are “holy” for me. I optimise my recovery with 8 hours of sleep, a weekly massage, and a balanced diet, which I supplement with recuperative sports foods such as protein shakes and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Your main goal every year is the Powerman in Zofingen. What do you find appealing about this race? What do you feel are the three most important factors in order to be successful there?
The Powerman Zofingen is deemed to be the toughest and most important duathlon in the world. It has been a legend since the 1990s and is considered to be a classic in the multisport scene, just like the Ironman Hawaii or Challenge Roth. The Powerman Zofingen is the venue for the International Powerman Association (IPA) World Championships. Since 2011, it has also been the uninterrupted venue for the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Long-distance Duathlon World Championships. It’s a huge motivation for me to compete every year on this beautiful and demanding route in a perfectly organized race with a home advantage. Those who are successful tend to have experience, an individual nutritional concept, which helps them to keep up their performance right to the end, and top cyclist qualities.
Eating and drinking is important, if not crucial during a long-distance race. What does your eating and drinking plan look like during a 6 to 7-hour race?
I don’t eat or drink anything during the first run. When cycling, I eat 1.5 g of carbohydrates per kg body weight every hour. To ensure my digestive system works, I consume something solid: I eat a small potato or bar every hour. In the second run I rely on carbohydrate gels. When cycling and during the second run, I also rely on liquid magnesium, which I add to my water bottle, and I also take Omega 3 and 6 fatty acid capsules spontaneously if I feel I’m getting muscle pains.
Many thanks to Marc Widmer for the interesting answers.
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