Name: Christian Kreienbühl
Sport: Marathon Running
Years in the sport: 27 years (with a break from sport of 6 years)
How did you get started in your sport?
My father was bored to run alone, so he took his son (me!) with him.
Goals for the next year?
Finish the Dragon’s Back Race 2019 (mountain running – 315km with 15’500m of height gain in 5 days – with map and compass). And qualifying for the European Championships 2020 in Paris.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Retired from chasing marathon PBs, but running regularly during my free time. Potentially participating in some casual mountain / ultra trail competitions.
What has been your biggest challenge as an athlete and how did you overcome it?
Coming back after a chronic inflammation of my achilles tendon and a break of 8 months without running. By:
– Cross training: With xcski, I I found a new endurance discipline that was fine for my achilles tendon and where I could train even more hours then running.
– Treatment: physio therapy, flossing and autologous blood therapy.
– Believing & patience: I was one of the very few people left, who believed in my comeback.
Best advice that you have been given?
Rest when you’re hurt.
Xcski, cycling, reading, photography.
Currently a Swiss artist names James Gruntz.
What’s the best part of competing?
When you surprise yourself.
“Don’t Try.” Charles Bukowski
If you could train with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
My other grandfather, who died already before I was born.
If you could compete in another sport what would it be and why?
Xcski, because I love the complexity of its technique – and the elegance once you master it.
Favourite place to compete?
Berlin, because I have so many great memories:
– Ran multiple PBs in half marathon and marathon.
– Qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by 3 seconds (!) – in 2:13:57.
Do you have any special warm up routine?
I need to check at least 3x that my shoe laces are tied with a 2x knot. (27 years ago, in one of my first races, the laces opened themselves.)
What time is your alarm set for?
Ice cream or cake?
What do you do on your rest days?
Mowing lawn. Dispose trash. Laundry and ironing.
Last non food item you bought?
Ultra-light sleeping bag and mat, GPS device, camping plate/bowl and cutlery. For the Dragon’s Back Race in May 2019.
Do you have a lucky number?
6. I’m born 6.6.
Best thing you’ve done in the past 3 months?
Becoming a dad!
Strangest thing you’ve ever witnessed?
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Scariest thing you’ve ever done?
Signing up for the Dragon’s Back Race 2019.
*Editors note: Here are the results of the Dragon’s Back 2019 Race – https://www.berghausdragonsbackrace.com/results/2019-results/
If you were stranded on a desert island, what one person and thing would you like to have?
One thing: a teleporter.
What would be your perfect meal?
Carrot soup. Knuckle of veal, mashed potatoes, vegetables. Rice pudding.
What performance are you most proud of?
Participating in the marathon of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics – and the qualification for it (by 3 seconds).
Hardest sport moment you’ve had to push through?
Lucerne marathon in 2008 (my third marathon): I started waaay to fast and hit the wall heavily at 35km. I finished nevertheless and learned a lot from that experience.
What have you learned from sport that has helped you in other parts of your life?
How to set realistic goals. How to train/learn patiently to reach these goals. How to manage set backs. How to organize things. How to blow my nose without handkerchief.
Favourite place to eat?
My parent’s place.
If you had to travel either forward in time or backward in time, which would you choose?
Backwards – to learn. Knowing the future would make life boring.
What is the most unusual, challenging, or creative workout you’ve ever done?
“Track Challenge”: A competition on a 250m track. Consists of 10 runs: 4x 250m, 3x 500m, 2x 750m, 1x 1000m. 5min break between every run. Every participant gets ranking points for each run. When the pack starts the run, nobody knows the distance. Only the referee knows and will ring the bell 125m before the finish line. Lots of tactical fun!
Leopard and giant tortoise.
Dream job besides an athlete?
There’s nothing better than being a passionate athlete.
What motivates you to keep training?
Favourite time of year?
Always the current one. I like all of the seasons and how they differ.
Of all the people you have trained with over the years, from whom have you learned the most and why?
Rubén Oliver. He’s an excellent runner, coach, sports physician and friend.
How many hours do you train at a given week?
During the 14 weeks of marathon preparation: ca. 15 hours per week.
Best memory you have from a time when you were training?
Running in a flow state through the beautiful landscape in the Engadin valley (Switzerland) getting faster and faster without pushing – accompanied by my wife (on a mountain bike).
If you could trade places with anyone for a day who would it be?
With my wife. To find out all my quirks and to be an (even) better husband…
Difficult to pick one. I’ve never read any book more than once. In general, I like Swiss writers like Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Franz Hohler, Martin Suter, Petra Ivanov or Michael Theurillat.
What does a typical day of training look like?
You can check out ALL my trainings on Strava!
Find Christian Kreienbühl on STRAVA!
Anything people be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve played the accordion for 10 years – and sang in a choir for 3 years. And there were times when I was seriously thinking about a challenge to drink 100 beers (0.33l) in 3 days.
What is the funniest thing has happened to you/others while training?
In a public wardrobe with lockers that you have to lock with a padlock: My coach managed to lock the key of his padlock inside the locker. When we returned from the training, we tried to break the lock/locker, but his key was safely locked… The coach called the locksmith (which cost a fortune) – and the athletes called the pizza delivery service.
Best movie and tv series?
“2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Breaking Bad”.
Favourite food while training?
Espresso and a “Biberli” (Swiss speciality – something like a almond paste sandwich with ginger bread).
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the ordinary people around me – and by nature.
What do you enjoy most about your sport?
Training is time to sort my thoughts. But of course I also enjoy the “flow” moments: When I run fast without effort and I have the feeling I could run that way forever.
Advise that you have for someone starting out?
Being injured is the risk with the highest impact and the highest probability for every runner. Therefore, staying healthy should be your priority number one. (Most importantly, increase your training load only in tiny steps.)
What is the most crucial part of your training?
Basic endurance. Nearly all of my runs are extremely slow.
Anyone you would like to thank?
You – for the interesting questions.
You (you!) – for reading all my answers so far.
Everybody who contributed to my journey.
Find Christian Kreienbühl on the Internet!
Anything else you would like to share?
If you enjoyed our interview with Christian Kreienbühl, be sure to check out our interview with Josh Harris – Long Distance Runner from Australia