A Passion for Running: A Chat with Valentin Pfeil

Oct 24, by Clara in Interviews

Valentin Pfeil is an Austrian long distance runner. He competed in the men's marathon at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics.

How did you discover your passion for running?

When I was young, endurance sport was just another way for me to explore my surroundings. The routes that I’d used before on my bicycle eventually became my running routes. I was in a youth group and we had a lot of fun training. Little by little running became a bigger and bigger part of my everyday life, and my personality.

What was the greatest lesson that you learned while running long distance?

Nothing happens overnight! In order to develop to a good level in terms of endurance, and moreover to be at a level at which you’re competitive, a long training process is needed…not just one or two good training sessions.

Can I change it? If not, then you just have to deal with it as best you can!

How do you get ready for a race – physically as well as mentally?

For important races, I cut back on my training during the two weeks prior to the event, and as a result I feel more fresh than I normally do. On the one hand, it can be helpful to imagine how the race is going to go, but at the same time you have to stay flexible when you’re competing. You can’t get too disheartened if something unexpected happens. This is especially true for marathons – a lot of external factors are part of the race. The primary question that applies here is this: Can I change it? If not, then you just have to deal with it as best you can!

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Have there been times when you’ve been disappointed or felt discouraged? Why did you still stick with it?

There have been a few. A part of my sport is the fact that one has to spend a lot of time running shorter distances before actually becoming a marathon runner, and this preparation is not at the level one might have hope for when compared to actually running marathons. I always knew that I wanted to run marathons at some point, so I didn’t let this get me down.

How important are goals for you?

As an endurance athlete, goals are very important for me. They are a source of motivation every time I train. In the heat of competition, they’re most helpful when the going gets tough (and in truth the going always gets tough). It’s good to have a concrete goal to go after. Nonetheless one should be very careful with the goals one sets: aim for challenging goals and never overwhelming goals.

One should be very careful with the goals one sets: aim for challenging goals and never overwhelming goals.

What do you think of tools like apps or other motivation techniques that help people to stay consistent when working on goals?

Running is actually a very simple thing…it shouldn’t be overly complicated. Still, documenting training and maintaining an overview of what you’re doing have improved significantly thanks to tools like GPS watches and the apps that go along with them – it’s easier to keep an eye on my weekly goals. If I’m somewhere that’s new to me, I can just look at my running app and see where most people run…I can find the best running route right away. I take care of the motivation myself.

 

 

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