Eugeni Gil, unul dintre recruții relativ noi din Team Salomon Spain, are doar 23 de ani, dar știe foarte bine ce vrea – să devină alergător profesionist de curse montane. Anul trecut a făcut o schimbare majoră de stil de viață si s-a mutat în creierii Pirineilor ca să se poată antrena ca la carte, cu cât mai mult volum.
Eugeni este, de câțiva ani, factorul surpriză în peisajul alergărilor montane din Spania, după ce a câștigat competiții celebre, cum ar fi Maraton Cap de Creus, terminând cursa înaintea unor sportivi renumiți.
Am stat de vorbă cu el și am descoperit un tânăr modest, dar hotărât, care își alimentează efortul cu dragostea pentru munte.
Citește interviul de mai jos dacă vrei să afli cum se antrenează un sportiv de top internațional, care sunt sfaturile lui pentru cei aflați la început și cum se vede peisajul tot mai colorat al alergării montane din fața panglicii pe care scrie Elite.
*Am lăsat interviul în engleză ca să transmit cât mai clar micile subtilități, dar dacă îmi spuneți că e nevoie de o traducere, o pot face.
Eugeni: I’ve been practicing sport all my life. I started running when I was five years old. Of course, not trail races but mainly short track distances (800m or 1500m). I always liked running and that helped me during my collegiate years in the United States where I went thanks to a track scholarship. After that, I didn´t feel the same passion for the sport I was tired of the same repetitive races and practices.
The mountains next to my house where the perfect playground to keep training but also to make something different. Last year, I decided to dedicate all my efforts to become professional in trail running. That means, saying goodbye to a normal life in the city, with a formal job and a typical lifestyle and moving to a small village in the Pyrenees. Here, I have the perfect terrain for long hours of training in the mountains and I can focus in what my coach (Pau Bartoló) tells me to do.
Carmen: You run very well both in flat and in mountain races. Which are your favorites and why? Can you name a few races that you’re especially fond of?
I prefer mountain races. No doubt I can run pretty fast some flat races, but I really enjoy being in the mountains. Especially the uphill, where you really have to work hard ;). I like so many different races, but to mention just a couple, they would be Buff Epic Trail 42k here in the fantastic Pyrenees or Matterhorn Ultraks in Switzerland. Those races, in my opinion, represent the ideal of Skyrunning (distance, elevation gain, and landscapes) and they made me the athlete who I am today.
If you could isolate one element, what would be the most important thing that has helped you make the most progress in running in your experience so far? What really made a difference?
Kilometers. I used to have very specific running programs with a lot of different exercises, but none of them included, what I consider key in running, a good base of accumulated distance. I think it is very simple. If you want to run a marathon you have to practice a marathon. I am not saying to run everyday 40k, but to stay a lot of hours running per week. After that base, you can start building up other elements such as strength or speed training. Look at Salazar and the Olympians that he trains… kilometers, kilometers and kilometers. (omit banned substances form the example 😉
What is the most important thing to you on a long term when it comes to running?
I would like to make a living out of this sport but most importantly to keep enjoying running as I am doing now.
How does a regular day of training look for you?
I wake up at 8. I have some breakfast and I try to be on the mountains no later than 9:30. Depending on the day I run from 1h:30 to 4h:30. After that I try to do some stretching (not always the case ;). I have lunch at 1:30. At 5 I go for the second session of the day. It is usually 1 hour of running or some mountain biking.
After, I go to gym where I do some strength training especially core exercises. Basically, my running day ends at 7. The rest of the time I study, stay with friends, or go for a walk in the mountains.
They say that running is a sport that challenges the mental at least as much as the physique. From the mental point of view, what do you think separates a great runner from an average one?
I think a great runner always has fun with the sport he or she is doing. That’s the key that gives them the ability to suffer more than others, to push harder than others. It all depends on how much passion you put in one single thing.
Trail running is a phenomena that gathers more and more adepts and all over the world it seems that the number of runners just exploded in the last 5-10 years. How do you see the increasing popularity of trail running?
On one side, it is a good thing, the more people practicing a sport, the higher will be the level in competitions, higher the involvement of brands and companies and the more money it will move. Giving much more opportunities for people to practice it professionally. On the other side, it increase the quantity of people in the mountains, puts in danger landscapes and changes the soul of what was a solitary sport.
You’ve probably met many runners who are just at the start of their trail running life. What do you think are the biggest mistakes that a beginner in trail running makes?
Not going step by step, most people try to imitate big references such as Kilian Jornet, they try to run an ultra when they never run a marathon before. As I said, they don’t have the base to do what they are trying to do. I think the most important thing is to focus on yourself and let the others be.
What’s your advice for trail runners who want to improve their performances and enjoy longevity in this sport?
Practice your running bases, enjoy what you do, and work hard. When it comes to longevity… we all get old and this will not last forever, so enjoy now.
Last but not least, what is the next challenge you’re preparing for?
Livigno SkyMaraton in Italy! It will be my first World Series race this year, and I am really excited to see how strong is everybody!