Interview with Morgan Le Guen
Only five years ago, Morgan Le Guen was inspired to run by Pierre Morath's film "Free to Run". Since then, there seems to be practically no limits for the Genevan. At the beginning of the year, he finished the Valence 10 km in 28:26, thus climbing to third place in the eternal Swiss record. Only Julien Wanders and Markus Ryffel ran this distance faster.
You started running relatively late. In your opinion, what are the three main elements that have contributed to your meteoric rise?
I don't see my late start in running as a handicap in the sense that I certainly have more psychological freshness than runners who have been immersed in competition since their childhood. In addition, as far as I can remember, I have always been physically active, and this has helped to develop good aerobic capacity. Finally, my mind is the keystone to my success, I can inflict large volumes of training on myself, and I have a very high pain threshold...
With Abraham Tadesse, Sullivan Brunet and Julien Wanders, Geneva has many top-level runners. Do you train together? And what does a typical training week look like for you?
With Tadesse, Sullivan and Zouhair (Oumoussa) we set up a small training group during lockdown with the aim of doing great sessions that could each help us progress, while complying with health regulations. The level was crazy, we did half-marathons every weekend in 66-64 minutes in weeks at more than 150 km. As for Julien, I trained for 3 weeks with him in Kenya and occasionally in Geneva.
Today my typical week corresponds to approximately 160-150 km of volume divided into 12 sessions with a day of almost rest on Sunday. This induces twice-daily training including daily endurance or a qualitative session (alternating every other day) and recovery jogging, as well as a long run on weekends. Besides that, I do about 150-100 km per week by bike, most of the time with ease, which allows me to have a very good foundation.
What are your top 3 training tips for recreational runners to make 2022 a success?
First, I would say always apply the slogan 'make it fun'. Running is a demanding and difficult sport when you decide to do it at a competitive level. You simply must find it pleasurable, otherwise there is no progress, and a negative routine can set in.
Second, mental preparation is essential before physical preparation. This is the base of the pyramid without which the rest cannot be accomplished. It aims to create a climate of trust around the athlete, which will condition their ability to perform.
Finally, my coach has a habit of saying "it's the plan that adapts to the athlete and not the other way around" and my (modest) experience has shown me that indeed, we are "ourselves" our best coach. You must know when to listen to yourself and take your foot off the pedal (or hit the accelerator) depending on how you feel. Of course, a coach is essential to set the guideline.
Can you describe both your favourite training and the training for which you have the greatest respect?
I really like track sessions with several people where everyone takes a repetition (for example a 400 m on a session of 25x400). The group effect is exhilarating and that way we can do sessions that we thought were impossible.
Because I have more of a marathon profile, I find 800m/1500m runner specific sessions impressive. It's an effort that I dread, and you must have been raised in lactic to appreciate it!
Is there a secret trick that you like to use and that you can tell us?
There's no real secret, it's mostly hard work and determination... But I try to make the most of each run even when I'm tired or less motivated, to have an immaculate lifestyle and to optimise recovery as much as possible despite working full time. That is to say a vegetarian diet, good hydration, good sleep, as well as a massage and cryotherapy session every week.
Finally, I advise every athlete to surround themselves with caring and competent people who will bring them positive vibes and lift you up! I wouldn't be where I am today without my family, my girlfriend, my coach, or my mental trainer.
We thank Morgan Le Guen for the interesting answers.
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