Interview with Roberto Delorenzi

10. June 2024

Foto: Yara Burkhalter

At the beginning of June, the 27-year-old from Ticino narrowly missed out on a medal in the uphill mountain race at the European championships, finishing fourth. Two days later, the reigning Swiss mountain race champion won the European up & down mountain race title.

Can you give us an insight into your experience and emotions following your successful races in Annecy?

It was a dream come true. I felt good from the start and after around the halfway point of the climb, nobody overtook me. I began to feel that the title could be possible. During the downhill stage, I really gave it my all and the last five minutes were thrilling. The German runner was ten seconds behind me and lots of people were cheering me on. I really gave it my all and I’m extremely proud of what I achieved. Years of hard work have led to this result and I’m overjoyed to have won in Switzerland's colours. It’s always an honour to compete in your country’s colours.

In general, what are the three key factors for success in your opinion?

  • Consistent training
  • A disciplined approach
  • A winning attitude

What is your training routine during both preparation and competitive periods?

I prepare in the winter, when I don’t compete at all, apart from a couple of road races. My winter preparation consists of covering lots of kilometres on the flat. I do very few runs at altitude and always do two qualitative training sessions per week. This winter, I ran an average of 150 km per week. During the competitive season, however, I cover fewer kilometres and do more runs at altitude, as well as less qualitative training, as I have quite a lot of races. In addition, I also do lots of cross-training on my bike.

What tips do you have for all those wanting to take part in a mountain run this year?

  • Don’t run downhill too fast during training
  • Do stability exercises
  • Strengthen your ankles
  • Don’t force yourself to run uphill. Sometimes it’s better to walk

How do you train for downhill races and what’s important when running downhill in a race?

I train for downhill races by run down lots of hills, but never fast. During my preparation, I never did any intense downhill training, for example. I also do a lot of balance and proprioception exercises. If somebody is in front of me during a race, I try to follow their steps so I don’t have to put too much energy into reading the terrain. But if I’m on my own, I always try to find the easiest route to make my run as relaxed as possible.

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

There are no secret tips. You have to be well prepared and leave nothing to chance. You need to prepare according to the nature of the competition you’re taking part in.

And if you have the opportunity to do this professionally, you can train twice a day and spend the rest of your time recovering. This is an advantage over somebody who works eight hours a day, of course.

And your kit also makes a difference: in easy terrain, it makes little difference, but in difficult conditions, it’s very important to wear the right shoes, with excellent grip.