Interview with Peter Gerber
Emmental resident Peter Gerber won the gigathlon for the first time. This is all the more astonishing given that he played hockey until just 3 years ago and only then started doing endurance sports.
How did you find the two and a half days? Can you give us an insight into your race and how you were feeling?
The whole weekend was a huge experience that ended with an unexpected victory for me. Unexpected because my mind didn’t feel 100% fit after an unsuccessful Ironman race in Lanzarote at the end of May. Accordingly, I started the race without any expectations. But after the prologue on Friday evening, when I lost very little time, I was in good spirits. And from Saturday evening onwards - as the frontrunner in the intermediate ranking - I was naturally highly motivated. On the Sunday I was then able to learn that if you have the right mind-set your body also cooperates. So, despite the heat and challenging route, it was an unforgettable experience and a unique feeling!
What was your strategy to stay mentally focused and banish any negative thoughts?
The key was to not put myself under any pressure beforehand. Instead, I concentrated on taking it step by step and on one discipline after the other. My confidence slowly but surely returned and suddenly I could «flip» the switch. From then on, everything ran more or less by itself.
On a very fundamental level, I can draw a lot of energy from what is going on around me. For instance, from a beautiful landscape, atmosphere or people cheering me on. This means that, unlike others, I am open to what is going on around me and use it to motivate and push myself.
What does it take to accomplish such a performance at this high level and recover so quickly between the two days?
Many things actually have to fit together. You need to be physically prepared, which is not possible without the appropriate training. Add to this your mind-set and - absolutely crucial - well-being, which is influenced by your family, general stress level, recovery, and much more. If anything is wrong with this, the result at the end won’t be right.
From Saturday to Sunday, I made sure I had an optimal energy and fluid supply, cooled my legs in a stream, and tried to sleep for as long as possible. As with all the others, I spent the night on site at a camping site which made this very difficult due to the hot temperatures. I concentrated all the more on switching off through mental exercises and recovering.
You have only been competing for 3 years. In your eyes, what are the reasons for your success?
I feel the main reason is the fact that I do multi-sports. I can do everything well, but nothing very well. This naturally works to my advantage at a gigathlon with 5 disciplines. I also quite simply really enjoy doing sports and have the necessary relaxed attitude. When I don’t feel so motivated, I am also very good at just letting it be.
Furthermore, I believe that I turn an alleged disadvantage to my advantage: I have a family, work «normal» hours and thus only have a limited time to train. For this reason, I always try to train as efficiently as possible and get the most out of each unit.
And last but not least, I would just like to highlight my family once more. Without the support of my wife in particular, all this would not be possible. I really appreciate it.
Do you have a secret tip you would be willing to share with us?
Always take pleasure in your training and also revel in everything that goes on around you during a competition. This gives you additional energy and the necessary relaxed attitude. If at times you feel the pleasure is waning, don’t force yourself to do something. Wait instead until the pleasure and desire return again.
Many thanks to Peter Gerber for the interesting answers and tips.
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