Interview with Tobias Baggenstos

23. June 2021


Tobias Baggenstos won the Swiss Trail Running Champion title on 5 June at the SWISS CANYON TRAIL. What was special about it: after a little more than 30 kilometres, the Gersau resident was misdirected and did not complete the entire route through no fault of his own. Due to the fact that all the runners in the first five places were in agreement, the order at the time of the misdirection was taken into account on the podium of the Swiss Championships.

How did you find «your» day in the Val de Travers? Can you give us an insight into your race and how you were feeling?

Since I am still quite inexperienced when it comes to such long distances, I wanted to start off as relaxed as possible. I was advised from all sides beforehand not to start too quickly. However, this intention soon flew out the window because several French athletes started running the first relatively flat kilometres quite swiftly. But I was fine with that due to the terrain so just ran with them and was then all the more surprised when I could distance myself together with Pascal Egli on the longest ascent of the day. 

After a good 31 kilometres we were then misdirected. We noticed how suddenly the markers disappeared but eventually got back on the route. I almost forgot about this incident until we arrived far too early at the finish again. We knew that something was wrong and were somewhat perplexed. I am very satisfied with my performance, but the misdirection was of course a great pity for the entire race. At this point, I would like to express many thanks to all the other athletes for their fair play.

You were on the go for around 4 hours. Can you give us an insight into your everyday training?

I really like every aspect of running and thus do rather versatile training. However, I am meanwhile predominantly doing running training and usually achieve 100 – 130 km a week, often with many metres difference in altitude.

Except for qualitative units on the road, I never really run on flat ground. My basic training routes usually go uphill and downhill at some point. I can only recommend incorporating as many different types of terrain into your training as possible and also playing around with different kinds of interval training. This mixture has worked well for me up to now and also helps against boredom during the high weekly volumes.

Last autumn you tested positive for Covid-19 and had to refrain from exercising for 5 ½ weeks. Can you tell us more about this? 

Where exactly I got infected, I don't know. Maybe it was at work. It started with normal cold symptoms and then spread to the lungs. I had a permanent feeling of pressure or stinging in the chest area. I didn't actually feel seriously ill but was very listless and weak. The time in quarantine was not always easy because my body is highly accustomed to movement. At the time, Vuelta and Giro were on TV and it was strange seeing athletes performing at their best when you yourself can hardly get up a flight of stairs without your lungs burning. 

It was clear to me from the start that the recovery would take time and I wanted to recuperate patiently. That's why I preferred to skip training for a couple of days too many than too few and it was absolutely worth it. The first runs were only extremely short, and my lungs were still burning. But gradually things got better and from Christmas onwards I felt normal again. What then followed was one of the best training blocks I've ever had.

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

Unfortunately, I don't have an insider tip. I perform best at sports when I have a certain relaxed attitude and am not too fixated. I switch off best when I do something with colleagues or go for a beer. Simply to ensure that not everything revolves around running.