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Fabiane Meyer über Rückschläge und geniale Tricks für die letzten Kilometer

Fabiane Meyer on setbacks and brilliant tricks for the last kilometers

Middle-distance professional Fabiane Meyer has been back in full training for a week. At the panel talk in Berlin, she looks back on her season, during which she also had to deal with disappointments. She also reveals how to trick your mind into continuing to run when things get really tough.

Words: Agata Strausa
Photos: Marvin Reim

In conversation with OAC athlete Fabiane Meyer

Isla Coffee, Berlin-Neukölln. Fabiane Meyer left her home in Germany behind to train as a professional runner at the “On Athletics Club (OAC)” in Sankt Moritz, Switzerland and Höhe in South Africa. With the unique team of professional runners, the 20-year-old travels all over the world for competitions and is doing everything she can to compete in the 1,500 meters at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028.

más: You just took a break from the season. But let's look back again: How was your 2023 running season?

Fabiane: It actually started quite well. In Regensburg I ran the 800 meters in a new PB of 2:06 minutes. I ran a mile at the “On Paris Track Night” and it didn’t go as I thought it would, even though the event was super cool. I think it was all too stressful. I really wanted to win in the German U23, but then I came second.

A big highlight came then...

… exactly, the U23 European Championships in Espoo, Finland. Unfortunately I was forced out of the preliminary race because I fell in the last 200 meters. So I didn't reach the final - I had really high hopes of a top three finish. A highlight followed with the Universiade in Chengdu, China. That was really really great. China was a highlight simply because you met so many different people from all over the world. I've never run against runners from China or Australia before. It felt a bit like the Olympics. I wanted to run a few more competitions after China, but then unfortunately I got Corona. Then the season was over for me.

Sounds like a lot of ups and downs! Other runners can definitely relate to this too. You train and train, you're in the shape of your life and then something comes up.

The U23 European Championships were also a highlight for me, even though I fell there. That's where I learned the most: that low points are part of sport. You can really have everything one moment - and the next moment everything can fall apart. You can also draw a lot of motivation from it.

“You can draw a lot of motivation from low points.”

How did you deal with that?

I can still remember it clearly. After the preliminary run I came off the track and was really in a state of shock. It didn't go at all the way I thought it would. Then a trainer came up to me. He said: “You can now use this as motivation and learn from it so that this doesn’t happen to you again. Or you let what happened bring you down completely.” So I thought, okay, I'll just take this with me and learn from it and not make the mistake again.

What is it like to be part of a professional running team? What support do you receive from your group at the OAC?

We are now twelve athletes from all over Europe, all of whom have the same goal: the Olympic Games, either in 2024 or 2028. We are all sponsored by On and all have the same trainer, all the same physio, all the same mental coach. We train in Saint Moritz in Switzerland and in Dullstroom in South Africa. We're actually together most of the time. The team includes athletes between the ages of 18 and 26, some with more experience, some with less. We are still treated equally. Everyone has goals and dreams. On just gives us this chance to achieve these goals.

Sounds a bit like running in a running crew, only at a much higher level of course. You share a passion, you can always push each other and exchange experiences...

Yes, exactly! Living together in our team is very cool. We eat together, we go to sleep at the same time. We mainly train together - we spend the whole day together and also do a lot outside of sport. It's like a family: each of us is more or less far from home and everyone trains hard. Everyone has the same problems. You always try to improve yourself because you want to achieve your dreams. Since joining the OAC, my training has also become much more structured and generally more professional.

You may be familiar with it: even in a family there are rows. Do you sometimes have stress among yourselves?

The dynamics in our team are very good. Our coach Thomas Dreißigacker also makes sure that the people he brings into the team harmonize with us. He thinks about it a lot, I think. It works really well that way, we get along very well. If there are problems, it's more about whose turn it is to cook or who should clean up something. But these are just small things. There have never been any major conflicts and I don't think there will be any in the future. We can talk to each other about anything as a team and are there for each other.

Sponsors, trainers, training colleagues: the pressure on you must be enormous. How do you deal with it?

The expectations you have of yourself are the highest. Somehow you are never really satisfied with the time you run. You always hope for more and want to make the people around you proud. The pressure is already high. Luckily, we also have a mental coach at our side that we can trust. He gives us really helpful tips and advice on how we can deal with it. But pressure can't always be something negative, it's part of sport.

“Pressure is not a negative thing. It’s part of sport.”

What advice do you have for runners, whether they're running the mile or the marathon? What could you say to yourself at kilometer 39 in the marathon?

So close to the finish you can't actually think that much anymore anyway. Everything hurts. It always helps me when I count, like one, two, one, two, one, two...

Or when I somehow have a song in my head and I just distract myself and don't even think about the fact that this or that hurts me. It can also help to think about what happens after the finish line when the race is over. How will it feel when I make it?

So distract yourself and think about something nice - that's great advice! Thank you for the talk.

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