Interview with Nicole Egger

4. June 2019

Nicole Egger can be described as a late bloomer when it comes to running: she only began to train ambitiously at the age of 29. Over the past five years she has constantly improved and in this still young season has already won two Swiss Champion titles and achieved 2nd place in the international Grand Prix of Bern!

Whereas others at the age of 34 have shifted their focus from pursuing personal best times to the experience itself, you are racing from competition to competition, victory to victory. What drives you and what do you believe are the three most important factors that lead to success?

The joy of running and movement in general is what drives me, as well as the athletic goals that I want to achieve. The continuous progress that I have been able to make so far is also motivating.

I consider the following three points as important to success:

  • Determination and the willingness to give it your all while simultaneously maintaining a relaxed attitude if something is not working or not as quickly as you would like.
  • A good balance between exertion and relaxation, including a good body feeling. If your muscles are tired or even hurt, a unit can be replaced with alternative training or even omitted.
  • Regularly working on your running technique by doing ABC running drills and coordination runs. This increases your running efficiency and prevents injuries.

In contrast to other runners who strictly follow a training plan and are thereby successful, you let yourself be guided by your mood. What does a typical training week look like? How many units and how many kilometres do you run? What else is on your program?

I don’t exactly train according to my mood, but I spontaneously adapt my training to the professional requirements as well as my physical condition. As a result, there is no typical training week. I decide from day to day as to what is on the program. I train between 6 and 10 times and run an average of 60 km per week. My training is also very diverse: running technique, strength training, stepper, bike racing, and also in-line skating, swimming, rowing, or skiing in winter once in a while.

It is not uncommon for you to compete in two races at weekends. What are your short and long-term athletic goals?

In the coming season, I would like to further improve my personal best times on all distances and, if possible, win another Swiss Champion title. In the long-term, I would like to take part in the European Championships, be it in the half marathon, cross-country or 10,000 m distance. In the longer run, I would like to increase my training kilometres and dare to take on the marathon route.

Your late start on the competition scene could motivate many others to also give it a try. Looking back, which training principles have helped you the most? 

For me, the principle of variety is key to success. Even if you start late, it makes sense not to increase the running kilometres too quickly, otherwise you are likely to suffer injuries and will quickly lose motivation. Variety in training, especially at the beginning of a «running career» can also be pursued by late starters. On the one hand, variety in the running training itself, which means incorporating slow long runs through to interval training or tempo runs into your program. On the other hand, variety in your overall training, which means in addition to running training, also investing in strength, flexibility, running technique and alternative training. The better you train the individual «strength, flexibility and technique» building blocks, the more you can increase the running kilometres.

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

You should try something new from time to time and interrupt your habitual routine, so that the body needs to make new adjustments and can continue to develop. As a long-distance runner, for example, I also do a middle-distance training unit or race or take part in a triathlon competition for the sake of variety. When doing strength training, I make sure that I don’t always do the same exercises. You can also vary your running pace and choice of route. A little creativity also makes it instantly much more fun.

Foto: ZVG