A triathlete since the age of 10, Nicola has conquered the world of triathlon. Two time Olympic medallist. European Champion. Swiss Sportswoman of the Year. Her career speaks for itself, and her legend continues to be added to with each new year in the sport.
How did you start running? I guess I started running as a kid: I was six years old when my family planned a 3months holiday trip to the United States. We drove around in a motorhome. However, they all took a bike, my parents and my siblings – only there was no bike for me! Because of this, I had to run all the time we were there! From then, back in Switzerland at around 10 years old I did my first running race and thought it was such fun. I did the same race every year from then on - you could actually qualify for a final race held at the end of the year. In the first few years I qualified but performed average in the final. In my last year, however, I actually won it and was very proud. From there, in 1999 and 2000 I won the silver medal at the junior cross country European Championships. I always have,, and still do, love to run cross country races and track races over 3000m or 5000m to get myself ready for triathlons. My personal best over 3000m is 9:07min.
Why do you run now? I really like running. Mainly because it is so simple and efficient. You can run everywhere you want, just put your shoes on and start. I especially love it in the forest and in nature in general! If you are fit, running gives you the greatest feeling!
What has been the most important race you’ve run to date? This is a difficult question. I ran the marathon at the 2014 Athletic European Championships in Zürich. This was a pretty exciting race for me. Also, the three junior cross country European Championships were all great experiences with two silver medals won. I won several Swiss Champion titles over 3km, 5km and 10km and I think track races were always important in my lead up to my important triathlons.
What is your pre-race ritual? I like to know the course in detail, and I always more or less have the same time table before the race: a little run in the morning, breakfast, bike warm up, set up transition area, swim warm up, then - I’m ready. In important races I wear a little golden horse in my ear for good luck – at the Olympics I had them in both ears.
What do you think about while running? This completely depends on the mood and the session. In a lot of sessions, I have to concentrate as I do intervals and have to focus on speed and times. In others I just enjoy nature and in some, I am thinking thoughts completely away from running and try to solve problems or have new ideas. In a lot of cases I listen to music to motivate me to run even a bit faster.
What is your go to training meal? It depends on the time of the day and the training. In the morning I just like to have a banana and then do my run session. Later in the day I am often eating some chocolate before the run session – it gives you energy and is easy to digest.
What song is your go to for the run? I have different songs and adapt my songs to the training – fast ones for intense sessions, slower ones for easy sessions.
What is your passion next to endurance sports? My family, other sports, nature.
Who would you be if you weren’t a professional athlete? Probably a lawyer. I finished my law studies in 2010.
What does no one tell you about being a professional athlete? You need to focus. I am very good in preparing for and focussing on a certain, big, main event like the Olympic Games. I think there are only very few athletes who know to prepare and focus and perform under such pressure like this and I think it is crucial for reaching your goal.
What was the best piece of running advice you ever received?
That I can only do my best.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps? Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and work hard for what you want to achieve, even in difficult times. It will be worth it.
Why On? A Swiss brand which is extremely innovative, supports me with specially made shoes for me, has a very good philosophy and a great young team.