Interview with Michi Rüegg

27. April 2021

The start of April saw Fabienne Schlumpf beat the Olympic marathon qualifying time and break the Swiss record at the same time. Reason enough to interview Michi Rüegg, her coach and life partner.

Fabienne had immediate success in her first marathon. What were the three keys to success for you?

The key to success was certainly consistency in training. After a two-week break in October 2020, Fabienne had 153 days of preparation until the big day with the marathon. She completed at least one running training unit on 149 of these days. For 3 days only we skipped what I had planned and merely did one alternative training unit during that time.

Even though it was her first marathon, it didn't come out of the blue. We have been building up to it for several years. She first spent a long time training so as to then be able to complete the targeted marathon training. And only because of that was this preparation even possible.

What general advice do you have for an amateur athlete wanting to optimise their training?

  1. I think variation in training is extremely important. However, that doesn't mean doing as many different things as possible. It actually involves doing the same thing time and again but differently. For example, instead of running the same lap three times a week at the same pace, opt to run somewhat faster or make the lap slightly longer, etc.
  2. I also think it is crucial to have a clear goal. Only then will you know what the right training should be.
  3. Success must be built over the long term. The next step is always based on what you have already done and can do.

How would you describe your training philosophy?

  • Keep it simple. Running is one of the simplest sports there is. So why make it complicated.
  • I ask myself what I need to improve to achieve a certain goal. I then decide what to do in order to improve it. I leave out everything else.
  • My training is based on a lot of foundation work and aerobic endurance. A good mix of fun, hard work, and both a relaxed and earnest attitude is extremely important to me.

Do you have an insider tip you would be willing to share with us?

I have no secrets. And there are no short cuts in endurance sports. With a clear goal, a good plan, and a lot of hard work, you can achieve a great deal.

Foto: zvg