Hans on running near Vienna, Austria

Running nearly every day at the age of 57 is quite intense. But that is not all, Hans also participates in about 20-30 races a year. In this interview he talks about his late blooming passion for running and reveals his recipe on how to stay fit and deal with little injuries.

What does your training routine look like?

I go for a run on three mornings every week. This includes one interval training, sprints, and one slow long-distance run. On the weekends I often participate in competitions. Plus, I nearly run every evening for about 45 min at a slow-paced speed with my dog.

What is your favourite running route/ place?

My favourite route is the “Wegerl im Helenental” alongside the river Schwechat.

How did you get into sport and your specific routine?

It all started with my 40th birthday, when I got a heart rate watch as a present. I decided to start participating in races and was immediately hooked. I’ve recently gotten myself a professional training schedule to train even more efficiently. Most of the time I run on my own, but one of my goals is be to participate in the “Transalpine” race with a team. On the weekends I sometimes meet up with my friends for a trail run.

It all started with my 40th birthday, when I got a heart rate watch as a present.

For how long have you been doing sports and how regularly?

To be honest, I’ve always been an active person. I did Judo, table tennis, soccer, hiking etc., but I’ve never done it consistently. Then I started running 17 years ago and I have been running consistently for 12 years now. At the beginning it was only two times a week, now it is almost daily.

What does your training schedule look like?

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a mix of classical elements like intervals, sprints and slow long-distance runs. I normally include 3-4 running sessions a week, which might either consist of training elements or are race days. Plus, I run daily with my dog, which means that I sometimes run twice a day. This might sound exhausting, but I always adjust the runs with my dog to my training schedule. So that on intensive running days I just go jogging for 5 K with my dog at a slow pace, because my dog is always curious and wants to sniff and explore. This actually would be a day of recreation for me.

All the races I participate in are mostly considered as training elements. This year’s goal is to finish a half marathon in a competitive time. I mostly benefit from the intervals, for example running 10 times 200 m. Now I know how fast I can run short distances, which helps me a lot when it comes to the final sprint towards the finish line. In comparison to previous years interval training made me even faster. And I can proudly say that I achieved my personal best time this year.

Another important element to my schedule is stretching. I stretch at least twice a day, mostly in the mornings and evenings – even on days when I don’t run.

Why are you doing sports? How does sport influence your daily life?

Running enriches my life and is great fun. It helps me to clear my mind and solve problems. In addition, I get a lot of energy and strength through sport. Running helps me to relax and keeps me calm and confident for my daily life. Moreover, I got to know a lot of amazing people and places while running.

How do you stay motivated to keep going with your training and not give up?

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I hardly ever suffer from a lack of motivation. And in case I’m not motivated, I know that after running outdoors for 5 to 10 minutes I’ll feel a lot better and get new energy, even if I wasn’t feeling it previously. A varied training program also helps a lot, because having to adjust from faster segments to slower intervals keep things interesting. My partner in crime so to say – my dog – is also enriching my routine. By following his nose, we both discover new routes.

Is getting older affecting your daily training?

Getting older is not a problem for me (yet). As I’ve started relatively late with my running routine, I don’t have any best times from my younger years I feel the need to live up to. I’ve always tried to increase my training in a responsible way, which led me to reach my best time this year at the age of 57! This is very motivating of course. I always pay a lot attention to what my body needs, because I’m planning to run for a long time. Therefore, I try to stay out of the anaerobic pulse in trainings and races, or just run a short time at this frequency. That is why I sometimes hold back in races and don’t give a 100%, or I even cut back on my trainings when it doesn’t feel right. In case I feel pain, I go to the doctor straight away without hesitation. This is the recipe that keeps me going.

Thoughts before, during and after training?

I love to „feel“ nature, appreciate the sun, the fresh air and little aspects like the smell of wood for example. During interval training I concentrate on my speed, my steps and movement, my breath and the feeling of running fast and at the same time running „lightly“. After each training session, I go over the run in my head and try to detect what I could improve.

Would you say you are competitive: when it comes to sport? In general?

In general I’m not competitive. At a race however, I like to match myself with friends or opponents.

How often are you racing and which races did you take part in?

I run 20-30 races a year. These are mostly smaller street, hill or cross races up to 10 K. I also add a few half marathons, some speed trails up to 30K and 2 marathons – each more than 50K – to the mix, mostly in Austria. Some of the smaller races I consider as training – and don’t really take 100% serious.

Is there anything positive or negative you would like to share?

Sport strengthens not only the body, but your spirit and health as well, if done in a responsible way.

Did you ever have any injuries?

At the age of 50 I suddenly felt a pain in my knees from running downhill. Consequently, I changed my style of running downhill and took a supplement for 6 month, which helped the regeneration of the cartilage in my knee. Moreover I started to massage my knees after every intensive run, which I still do. After a year the pain completely disappeared and didn’t come back ever since – knock on wood. Apart from that, I only ever had small injuries – like bruises and pulled muscles.

What was your most memorable moment?

I’ve had so many amazing moments and experiences! Here are just a few examples:

  • I remember running on a small path whilst the morning sun rose through the fog at the Schneeberg-Trail
  • Running with my dog beside the river one summer night and going for a swim afterwards
  • Sprinting together with other runners towards the finish line and winning in a tie.
  • Running with the flow, without any strain at the Helenenthal-Halfmarathon – it felt like flying.
  • Despite snow and rain, running at the Kürnberg-Speedtrail at 0°C while magically experiencing the nature

And many more …

If you weren’t into sports what would you be doing instead?

I’m interested in photography and music; plus, love travelling and motorcycling.

In five key words: What are the best things about your training you want to share with the readers?

  1. Fun
  2. Patience
  3. Endurance
  4. Strain and relaxation

What is your favourite motivational quote?

Live to explore.

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