Florian Neuschwander has been a runner for over 20 years. He has run, to date, well over 100,000 km or 2 times around the world. He started out with classic track athletics and has now ventured into running ultra races for the past 2-3 years.
What made you start running? A friend of mine is a forester. My mother wanted to watch our friend running in the forest (organized by the Department of Forestry). Because there weren’t too many participants at the start, our friend asked me just before the start gun if I wanted to run along. So, I ran my first 6.5 km forest run in jeans and skater shoes, and afterwards I wanted more...
Why do you run today? Because I still have lots of fun running, I get to see a lot of the world, and meet a lot of people. Plus, you can run wherever you want. In the forest and on the trails you have your peace and quiet, and in the city you can run together with friends and meet people. Through my running I discover many nooks and crannies, paths and marvels of nature that many other people never see.
Which was the most important competition you took part in so far? For me personally, one of my most important competitions took place this year. I participated in my first 100 mile race, the Western States Endurance Run held in California. As far as time and placement were concerned, it wasn't exactly what I had imagined by a long shot, but I ran and finished the thing and gained a lot of experience for it. I can build on that experience and in my next 100 miles, I will be much better prepared and hopefully top fit at the starting line!
What's your ritual before competitions? There is no ritual. I try to keep calm, always looking forward to just running and doing my best!
What do you think about when you run? I can't say for sure. I just switch off and run. Sure, I have stuff going through my head here and there, but most of the time I just run and don't think about much. Especially on the trails I try to switch off and just enjoy the views in nature. If I do faster sessions, for instance on the road, then I'm usually constantly calculating times and thinking about my training plans or the races I'm interested in taking part in.
What is your tried and tested training meal? I eat about 2-3 hours before the run, usually peanut butter sandwich or toast and perhaps a banana, a coffee and that's enough for me.
How do you recover after a tough run? I like to take a hot bath. Other than that, I don't really do a serious recovery program.
What's your favorite song to listen to while running? I usually run without music. Music somehow throws me out of my rhythm when I run. Sometimes, when the weather is bad or I don't feel like running at all, music can motivate me. I start my playlist and off I go. On Spotify, I have a "Run with the Flow" playlist.
Who's part of your "team"? What team? The team is my girlfriend, my little daughter and our dog Oskar.
Apart from endurance sports - what else are you into? I’m into wellness in a big way when there’s time for it. Jacuzzi, sauna etc. Otherwise, eat well, drink coffee, and simply relaxing. Travelling and especially the mountains fascinate me.
What would be your line of work if you weren't a professional athlete? If I had the freedom to choose and could play the guitar, I'd probably be in a punk/rock band.
What is the most important thing that nobody tells you about your career as a professional athlete? That it's actually a lot more work than you think. A professional athlete doesn't just train all day long. You answer emails, social media (if you want to do it well), which also costs a lot of time and effort. Added to that, I also have a small online shop which takes up time. Fans write to you, and I'm happy to answer their questions, but it's all a lot of work and time consuming. Then, of course, there are also dates with the sponsors that need to be upheld. And of course the family shouldn't be neglected either. It’s sometimes not that easy to do everything.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received about running? "I would never have thought it possible for you to run extreme distances like 50 km, 70 km or even 100 km. If you run this far every day, it won't end well. The human body just can't take it."
(Statement from my first and only real trainer, whom I encountered again after about 12 years)
RESULT: Needless to say, I keep on running and my body keeps up!
What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps? In any case, it can't be done overnight. I have been running for over 20 years and have developed a high level of basic endurance over that time. Therefore, I advise everyone to train properly, not to exaggerate, build up the entire structure, and not rush into anything. First you have to take part in 5 - 10 km competitions, then maybe a half marathon and once you have mastered these distances, then perhaps a marathon. I would only take part in Ultras when a marathon is no longer a problem.
Why On? Because the shoes are light, flexible, dynamic and fit me like a glove. Heavy shoes are not for me and I like shoes that convey direct ground contact and want to move forward!
What is your favorite shoe from On and why? Currently, the Cloudrush. Light, fast, dynamic and flexible. They take off, and that's all I need!