“I haven’t yet been able to show what I’m capable of.”
Our co-founder Sven Rudolph meets professional runner Christina Hering on a coffee talk through Berlin-Mitte. During the walk, the 800-meter star talks about crossroads, new beginnings and reveals where she feels really free.
About Christina Hering
28 years old, born in Munich // 17-time German champion // Currently lives in Berlin // PBs: 400m: 52,91 s (2015) 800m: 1:59,41 min (2019) // Instagram: @runningfischi // Nickname: Fischi
Sven: Did you already do sports today?
Fischi: I was on the bike! I like to do the easy sessions on the bike. For the base training you can also do it that way, I think! Meanwhile I also have a racing bike with a roller trainer, which is really cool.
You are a 17-time German champion and haven't missed an international athletics highlight in more than 10 years. Now you've left your familiar surroundings in Munich and moved to the capital. How come?
I still have a passion for the sport. But I realized I needed a change of location, a new environment. That's how it happened that I'm now in Berlin. New coach, new group. A completely new approach to training: much more strength, much more speed.
And also new goals…
I believe that there is definitely still some room for improvement for me in the 800 meters. I'd also be happy to run in the 4x400-meter relay. I've already run there in the junior division and at the European Team Championships. That would be really cool if it works out - in addition to the 800-meter event. I feel like I can attack my PBs in the 400m and 800m.
You've been doing competitive sports since 2012, but how did you get into running? Because your dad was a basketball player?!
I think I definitely have some of the athletic talent from him. I was just looking for a sport in the classic way and went along with my classmates. Then when we did the sports badge, I noticed that what was required in running came very easily to me. I also noticed early on that I like to compete - and that I really enjoy improving. Then in 2013 I had my first appearance in the national team, which was very special.
Now you train with Sven Buggel, together with 400-meter pros like Alica Schmidt. So the focus is now more on sprinting?
I'm really the only runner there! But so far it's working out quite well. Of course, I have to do some sessions or the warm-ups and cool-downs on my own - but it's fun. Having a training group that you spend a lot of time with made it easy for me to arrive in Berlin and connect right away.
European Championship finals in front of your home crowd: How did that feel?
That was really super cool, the focus was on me. The stadiums look even more impressive under floodlights. I remember two unforgettable moments: First, when I was introduced in the stadium. And then the starting gun. How loud it suddenly was!
What was the best moment of your career so far?
Looking back, I realized that this whole year took a lot of energy. I did a lot for the event, was involved as a local hero, and took part in many PR appointments. So I also had a bit of a feeling of being part of the event. It was very important to me that everything would work out, also for other athletes. It was a very intense week for me, but also very nice to have my Munich community around me.
"I haven't been able to show what I can really do."
How did it continue for you after Munich, apart from off-season and vacation?
I made a conscious decision to take some time off, to take a little longer to process it. At some point, though, I had to deal with how to move on. One option at that time was also to retire. Simply because it would have been nice to end with a highlight - and to be able to make the decision myself. This thought was quickly from the table, because I realized that I'm still hungry for more!
Then Berlin wasn't planned for long at all!
No, no! I wanted to decide by mid-October. Then I spoke with my coaches, and of course with some friends. My decision to go to Berlin surprised a lot of people, because I'm really connected to Munich. But I simply needed a different training facility.
You ran extremely consistently for ten years. Now after the European Championships in Munich, you're still hungry. How do you keep your motivation high?
My main motivation is that I haven't yet been able to show what I can do. As a competitive athlete, you somehow have the problem that you are never really satisfied. For the last ten years, it's been a bit like being on a hamster wheel. The yearly routine is always the same. What's helped me a lot is my great environment. Fun, a good atmosphere - that's all helped me. And it's very important to listen to your body. It just doesn't do any good to run with pain.
Cool, to wrap it up, I have three random questions for you: What would your profession be if you hadn't become a professional runner?
After sports, I would like to go into human resources development. I did sports in my bachelor's and management in my master's. Last year, I completed an advanced qualification in the field of training, change and coaching. That's where I see myself, I also see the parallels in sports. But before I became a competitive athlete, I wanted to become a doctor. Then I probably would have studied medicine.
How does an optimal vacation look like for you?
I've been sailing for a week each of the last few summers. I just love being on the water and in the water, especially the ocean. I've had a sailing license since I was a kid. For me, it's absolutely relaxing to be on a boat in the sea.
Do you already have a favourite restaurant in Berlin?
I'm trying out a lot right now. I really liked Umami, for example, which is Vietnamese. I also really liked Babel, which is in Kastanienallee. They have great plates and falafel there. But I'm also a big fan of pasta, which is very high on the list. But I usually make it myself, because it tastes best at home. I also enjoy cooking myself.
Thank you for the nice conversation!