One of the world's fastest sprinters, Alexandra Burghardt is an Olympian and two-time German champion. Injuries stalled her progress after a highly successful junior career, during which she won two European Championships gold medals and silver at the World Championships. But since moving to Zurich, she's recovered and rediscovered her winning ways. In 2021, she made her Olympic debut and claimed two national titles. Watch this space because, for Alexandra, this is just the start.
Why running and how did you get started? I was a lively kid – maybe even a little too wild judging from the bruises on my legs – always running in the street in front of my parents' house with the older children. I started playing tennis at the age of five, but then at six, I started school and discovered my love for running, jumping and throwing. School sports festivals and the Federal Youth Games (Bundesjugendspiele) were always the best time of the year for me.
I loved the competition and always wanted to be faster than the boys. Up to a certain age, I succeeded.
On days where you might not feel like training, what inspires you to get out there? When things aren't so easy for me, I remind myself of my goals and think about the path I've taken so far. This motivates me and gives me the confidence to take on the tasks ahead. Plus, the feeling after a tough session is priceless.
Can you tell us about a race that a) taught you a few lessons in this sport? Or b) you would want to relive? It would have to be both the 100m and 200m at the 2021 German Championships races in Braunschweig (I won gold in both).
I learned so much during that weekend – about hard work and perseverance being worth it; about the capabilities of my body and mind; and about the power of emotions.
Do you have a special pre-race ritual? In the morning, I set out to find the best coffee in town. After that, I try to move as little as possible.
I'm not even kidding; to save the legs, we sprinters lie around in the hotel room on race day until it's time to go to the stadium.
Once I get there, I listen to music and get myself in the zone. I also like to be the last to get into the starting blocks.
Is nutrition a big focus for you? And, what would you say is your go-to meal after a tough run? It's important that my body gets everything it needs for training and especially for recovery. My diet is mainly vegetarian, and I pay close attention to the quality of the food that I eat. But, at the same time, I'm not too strict – avocado and egg on bread is always good and I love chocolate too.
What are your top tips for a speedy recovery after training? Sleep, sleep, sleep. Unfortunately, I'm definitely not a napper or somebody who can sleep during the day at all. This means I have to place even more value on my sleep at night.
Luckily, I've become a bit of a sleep pro over the years.
Who is your "team"? My team is almost a whole village. Of course, that means my family, friends, coaches, training group and sponsors, but I have a great medical team in the background too. Only when everything fits together, when every piece of the puzzle is perfectly in place, can you deliver your best performance.
As a sprinter, you're an individual athlete on your own track, but the result is a team effort.
What was the best piece of running advice you ever received? Use your glutes to run fast and always bet on yourself.
Apart from running, what are your passions? When I'm not out in nature with my dog Elli, I like to photography and baking. I'm also very happy to have a small vegetable patch in the garden.
What's your favorite On shoe and why? The new Cloudstratus is the perfect all-rounder for me. It’s super comfortable and super light. I wear it for training but also for everyday wear. And, of course, I'm also a big fan of THE ROGER Advantage – you can never have enough white sneakers.
What's your favorite item of On apparel and why? Definitely the Waterproof Anorak. You slip into it and feel comfortable no matter what weather conditions are waiting outside your door. It also looks incredibly stylish and cool for such a practical piece.
Finally, why On? I really love the clean look and the high quality of On products. I train a lot in Switzerland and On is everywhere here. It makes me proud to be part of this family and movement. Plus, On sees me as the person behind the athlete. The company is young, innovative and constantly going in new directions.I feel like I've also gone my own way in my sport recently, and I'd like to continue this together with On going forwards. I enjoyed some success this year, but this is just the beginning. The future will be even more exciting!