On athlete Florian Neuschwander, or Flo, is no stranger to long runs. Just 11 months ago he was breaking the record for the fastest 50km treadmill run. But he wasn’t done chasing that record-breaking high.
Chasing a record-breaking high
“The feeling is great, especially because 100km is such a long distance. This time I was 13 minutes faster than the previous world record so I'm really happy. When I did the 50km, I was ‘just’ around 1:30 minutes faster than the old world record and I knew that other athletes would break my record very soon,” Florian tells us.
A year ago, other athletes jumped at the chance of taking his title, knocking him from the top spot only a few weeks later. This time however, Florian’s 100km time was 13 minutes faster than the previous unofficial record.
“Hopefully my new 100km time will spend a little longer at the top of the leaderboard, but records are there to be broken. I will lose this one sooner or later as well, but nobody can beat the good memories.”
Training to take the lead
“For my preparation I did eight 30km runs, two marathons, four 50km and two 60km long runs. All of these long runs were well under 3:50 min/km. This training meant I knew what would happen until the 60km mark. After 60km it was a new territory for me.”
Running on a treadmill offers a completely different experience – one you need to prepare for. Outdoors, you might have elements like wind or rain to compete with, but you have the visual distraction of the world around you to keep your brain busy. As any runner knows, whether they’re still finding their feet or an ultrarunner like Florian, it takes more than just physical strength to get going. Mentally, you have to be in the zone.
Mentally it wasn't tough for me at all because I used Zwift to run. A lot of runners and cyclists joined me along the way.
Zwift is an online hub of runners and cyclists who use the multiplayer platform to train, compete and support others. It allows you to take those moments of solo activity and build them into a community-powered event. Because Florian has used Zwift for training and long runs for some time, it meant his friends were able to join him for large stretches and keep him company.
Creating these community moments was crucial for Florian to keep pushing through those new unchartered miles. “I had a big screen in front of me. Between 70 and 85km, I received thousands of messages live that pushed me to keep going! It was amazing. Just alone on a treadmill without that support, I couldn’t have achieved what I did.”
Some moments did sneak up on him though, “I always look back on hard training sessions I've done before. I say to myself that I trained exactly for this moment and now it's time to do it! When it gets really tough I think of my family and then push through, and I think of all the people following my run so I can’t stop. I don’t do it just for me. I do it for them.”
Dressed for success
Getting the right gear is a non-negotiable for athletes. Long runs mean you could face many challenges from blisters to bad balance. On this epic run Florian took the Cloudflow for a spin. “Everything went perfectly. It’s the best shoe for me for very long distances because it's light and flexible but you still get good cushioning. Even after 100km I didn’t have any foot problems or blisters. It was definitely the right choice. Run with the Flow!”
With 18 adaptive cloud elements and Helion™ superfoam, the Cloudflow offers a smooth and comfortable run every time. Our re-engineered Speedboard® turns impact into acceleration which is perfect for getting through long runs.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
It’s easy to see why so many people would be inspired to get running when watching such an incredible moment. Some might be looking to challenge the title and others to go for a first sprint around the block. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask Florian what advice he would pass along to other runners.
“Don’t start too fast. Run relaxed. Stay cool. Run at easy pace so that you're able to speak with a friend or that you don’t lose your breath. Start with shorter distances and don’t go up to a marathon straight away! It can take a long time till your body gets used to longer distances. It’s a long process.”
Even with this new monumental success fresh in his mind, he still has big plans for what his next challenge could be. “I have a lot of new challenges in the works. Always. One might be my first 24-hour run this year. But not as a race. Just for myself. I want to know how it feels to run for a whole day!”