Interview with Tadesse Abraham

8. March 2016

Tadesse Abraham has been running almost 2 years for Switzerland, where he has been living for more than 10 years. The gifted runner was born in Eritrea, is perfectly integrated, speaks English and French, and in the meantime feels like a Swiss national. His name graces the winner lists of many major road races such as the Zurich Marathon, Greifensee run, Grand Prix of Bern, and the Barcelona half marathon. And his hunger for success is still not satisfied. On the contrary!

Places at the top of the podium have become the norm for you. What does your daily training routine look like in order to steadily increase your level of performance?  

I love my job as a runner so I treat it with great respect. This means not only strictly adhering to my training program, but also giving it my full concentration. I also allow myself sufficient recovery time, because this is an important success factor. During marathon preparation I run about 200 km per week. My intensive training involves a faster long run of between 32 and 40 km, and marathon tempo runs with intervals that are somewhat faster than the marathon pace. These are supplemented with hill runs.

In which areas have you benefited from the Swiss conditions? And in what areas could we take a leaf out of the Eritrean book?  

I appreciate the high quality of life in Switzerland and the good framework conditions for the running sport, be it the training opportunities or wide range of competitions. The reliability and punctuality also impress me. I think the Eritreans are distinguished by their great willpower and fighting spirit.

Many young runners see you as a role model. How much should they invest in running and at what age? When did you start goal-oriented training and make major leaps in performance?  

I started running when I was 15. I ran to school and back every day. After about 4 years of this I had a very high performance level. In principle, at this age I recommend 2 to 3 training sessions per week. You can always increase this later on.

What are your three most important training tips that even hobby runners should take to heart?  

  1. It is important to have a balanced mix: e.g. endurance runs, shorter intensive training sessions, hill runs.
  2. Make sure you take enough time to recover.
  3. Work continuously, without major interruptions.