Interview with Severin Lang

25. October 2021

It worked on the second attempt: at the beginning of September, Severin Lang became the 100 km Swiss Champion at the Biel Running Days.

How did you find «your» day (or rather: your night)? Can you give us an insight into your race and how you were feeling?

On the day of the race, I became more and more nervous and tried to distract myself somehow. Many thoughts went through my head, such as «what could I have done better/differently during the preparation» or «have I chosen the right shoes». When I arrived in Biel, it all blew over and I was glad when it finally started at 22:00.

I was able to join the leading group right from the start and my legs felt good with the set pace. Four of us thus finished the first of five laps (20 km) relatively quickly. In the second lap, however, I had to slow down at around the 25-kilometre mark because I found the pace somewhat too high and didn't want to use all of my energy up at the start of the race. A few negative thoughts popped up, but I knew there was still a long way to go and needed to concentrate on my race.

Towards the end of the second lap, I was able to close the resulting gap again and start the third lap with the leading group. I then found my pace and ran ahead alone from the 43-km mark. My legs felt good up until the 55-km mark but then my thighs started to burn slightly – much earlier than expected. Fortunately, this didn’t get any worse.


The start of the fourth lap saw me commence on my most mentally challenging lap. I reckoned that this would be the case before the race. After already coming such a long way, you still practically have a marathon to run. What’s more, I started to experience relatively sudden and unexpected stomach problems just before the 70-km mark. But I was then able to eat again and keep the pace. At the beginning of the last lap, I felt good again and looked forward to the last 20 km, because the motto for the last lap was «enjoy».

I chose a motto for each lap in order to divide the race into segments and thus achieve intermediate goals. I was well able to keep up the set pace and, after realising about 2 km before the finish that I could really win the race, literally flew towards the finish. I experienced extremely beautiful emotions on the final loop and at the finishing line where I was cheered along by familiar faces, and I savoured it to the full.

However, after reaching the finishing line, I was glad it was the last lap ??.

You ran the 100 km in the «Night of Nights» at an average of 4:25 min/km. What does your training look like?

I usually train 5-6 times a week. When preparing for an ultramarathon, however, this can also be more, so I incorporate two units a day to increase the load. During the week I do 12-20 km runs, and on the weekend, I plan out a 40-60 km run. For the individual units I choose different types of routes (flat, hilly) or vary the set pace to stave off boredom.

I also add units on the racing bike for loosening up and variety. Since I am more of a feeling-based runner and don’t strictly train according to a training plan, I also see the potential here to make my training more efficient.

Many runners toy with the idea of participating in an ultra run at least once in their lives. What are your most important tips to ensure this endeavour succeeds?

The joy of running, in my view, is extremely important. In the training units, you need to be willing to go as far as and sometimes beyond your limits to get your body used to the load in the race.

In order to achieve the aspired goal, you must be prepared to subordinate other things to this endeavour so as not to lose focus. The training intensity and scope should be increased gradually over a long period of time. If you feel that your body needs a break, then do one unit less to reduce the risk of injury. Quality comes before quantity.


When preparing for the race, I get to grips with the route. Where does it have ascents, where does it have technically difficult passages, where can I recover, etc. I divide the entire run into segments to achieve sub-goals during the race and thus repeatedly achieve partial victories.

The better the preparation, the more you can enjoy the race. And the joy at the finishing line is all the greater due to the achieved results.

In your opinion, what are the fundamental key factors that lead to success?

  • The joy of running and the willingness to accomplish the undertaking
  • Good preparation (training and mental)
  • The balance between family, work, and sports

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

I don’t have an insider tip as such.

  • I drink a regeneration drink immediately after each training unit to help my body recover.
  • Test the tolerability of gels (product and quantity) in your training units and not in the race.
  • Divide the race into segments to achieve partial victories and thus strengthen your positive mindset.