Interview with Maude Mathys
After her title at the Swiss championships at the end of May, this Vaud native celebrated a fantastic victory at the European Mountain Championships at Kamnik (SLO).
Ten months after the birth of your second child you have come back at international level. In your opinion, what are the main points that explain your progress and success?
During my pregnancy, I was lucky enough to be able to carry on training. Naturally, I reduced the intensity, but I did take the opportunity to increase my training volume (while the eldest was at school). Over the months, I gained weight and my body got stronger with the extra weight. 2 weeks after giving birth, I went back to my original weight and so when I started training again, I felt so light! But these results are also thanks to daily training and regularly checking in with myself to improve. For example, as soon as I feel things get too routine, or if I have the feeling that training sessions are too similar, I try to find other ideas, other methods by talking to knowledgeable people or by taking courses.
How do you manage to juggle elite sports and two children? What are your tips for mums who also have kids at home and would like to race?
First of all, I stopped working as a nurse and that helped a lot to combine the two, and especially to be present at home. Then, in order to train with kids, you have to be organised according to their rhythm, be flexible (for example changing your training in relation to the situation and the day's programme) and sometimes being a bit imaginative (cross-country skiing while pulling the kid along on a sled). Luckily, I didn't have two very little kids at the same time. By the time the second was born, the first one was already in school, which means that I mainly train with 1 child. And when I have both, I train at home (on the treadmill or stationary bike) while the little one has a nap and the eldest (who is 6) plays.
I am also very lucky to have a husband and a family (parents and in-laws) who support me and can mind the children when needed. But you do sometimes have to get up at the crack of dawn! It's not unusual for me to go running between 5 and 6am while the family is still asleep and to come back in time for breakfast.
Can you tell us how a typical training week looks?
Training weeks change regularly and it depends on the period and if I am competing at the weekend, but here is a fairly typical week during the preparation phase (no weekend competition)
Monday: 1:15 endurance with the buggy/ Tuesday: 1:10 stationary bike (sometimes followed by 10-15' core)/ Wednesday: 1:10 on the treadmill with 3x9' intervals on a slight incline/ Thursday: rest or 60' uphill walking (carrying the child on my back)/ Friday: 80' hilly running/ Saturday: 1:30 running with 20' at 3'30/km then 20' fast uphill/ Sunday: 2 hours of cycling
It's important to split each race into several sections to have a chance to win. How do you do it? What are your tips for runners?
I always try to motivate myself with something positive, for example "when you reach the top, you'll have done half" or "only 5 more minutes of suffering, what's that in a day?" or "think about your family waiting for you at the finish". My advice is to always think positive, even when things aren't going your way! There's always a good side (for example if a race is not going well and that you have to (or decide) to give up, the good side is that you will need less time to recover and that you'll be in better form for the next race!). During the race, try and set goals, like forcing yourself to run until the next sign, catch up to the lady in front,...
Is there a secret that you could reveal to us? Is there key training or advice on nutrition or technical issues?
There isn't really a secret, but I think that my strength is my discipline and my lifestyle. My life rhythm is pretty regular (in bed by 9:30 pm, up at 6 am, with few exception), regular meals, not a special diet per se but I cook light food and make a lot of things from scratch. However, I do like food and so I treat myself on a daily basis. 50g of chocolate a day is a minimum!
As for my discipline, I have it in training, and it's rare that I don't do what is planned or what I've decided to do. So when I head off for 60 minutes endurance running and when I get home I see that I've only done 58', then I'll go back out and do a circuit to bring me to 60'.
Many thanks to Maude Mathys for the interesting answers.
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