Welcome to The Runner Diaries, where we’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look into a week of training with runners of varying ages, paces and GPS coordinates. Get The Runner Diaries delivered to your inbox, here.
This week, we’re following 41-year-old Edith Zuschmann of Klagenfurt, Austria, a lifelong runner who has been lucky enough to turn her passion into her profession. The sports journalist and run coach is also the global CEO of 261 Fearless, an international women’s running network she co-founded with women’s running pioneer Kathrine Switzer. Zuschmann runs to find peace and freedom, and to provide herself with a healthy work-life balance.
I live in Klagenfurt, Austria but travel half the year for work. This week I am in Boston
Training For: My life! Running is my passion
Occupation: CEO 261 Fearless Inc. & Sports Journalist
Goal race? I want to do some Swim/Runs and Mountain Races in 2018
Following a training plan? No
Part of any running communities, clubs or training programs? 261 Fearless
How long you’ve been ‘a runner? Since I was a teenage
Goal weekly mileage: No specific number – right now, it’s just about staying fit!
Runner’s statement: “Do what you love – and love what you do!”
Thursday – Day One
6am: As a running coach, I tell my athletes to not only run, but also to concentrate on core work. So, to practice what I preach, the first thing I do today is a 30 minute CORE program. All I need is my yoga mat.
6:45am: After a quick shower, I enjoy a high protein breakfast — porridge with yoghurt, nuts and fresh fruits. I take my time because breakfast is my most important meal. I also drink some Italian coffee — that’s my luxury as I just live 40 minutes from the Italian border.
8:30am: My working day begins, which is full of writing, Skype meetings, and calls. Mostly it is about 261 Fearless (pronounced ‘TWO-SIX-ONE Fearless‘), a global social running network for women. Our main mission is to use running as a vehicle to empower and unite women globally through the creation of local running clubs, educational opportunities, a global communication platform and special events. By utilizing these networking opportunities, 261 Fearless breaks down the barriers of geography and creates a global community for women runners of all abilities to support each other and encourage a healthy lifestyle, a positive sense of self, and fearlessness. I established this non-profit organization in 2016 with women’s running pioneer Kathrine Switzer.
Today we have to work on setting up our 2018 Boston Marathon Charity Team and work on several inquiries about our international 261 Club network. I also need to prepare for my trips to Boston and New York City.
Noon: Lunch time! It’s fall – and pumpkins are everywhere. Homemade Pumpkin soup is easy to prepare and so healthy.
6pm: I meet up with my 261 Club ladies for our weekly, one hour social run. 261 Clubs are the core of 261 Fearless, as these local organizations provide weekly runs for women and support them through their journey of finding, and keeping, the joy of running. The main goal is to provide a non-performance driven, judgmental-free running community.
Today we warm up with an easy jog. After 1k, we stop to do some strength training: push ups, steps, dips, and balance exercises.
Our running route continues along the beach. We laugh and chat together, keeping a relaxed pace so we can all enjoy the run together.
7:30pm: I jog back home, snag a quick shower, down a glass of hot chocolate, and start packing my suitcase.
10pm: In bed sleeping.
Daily mileage: ~7 miles
Friday – Day Two
6am: I am traveling today, but I still want to get a few miles under my belt. I grab my headlamp and run the dark streets of Klagenfurt. It’s an easy 5 mile run.
7am: For breakfast I have some pancakes and fresh fruit while I finish packing. I don’t follow a specific diet and I try to make my life as uncomplicated as possible — especially because I travel so much. Generally, I eat local organic food as it is really fresh and it also supports the environment. I love running in our wonderful nature, so I try to show responsibility when it comes to nutrition.
9am: I leave home — I’ll be gone for three weeks, traveling for 261 Fearless! My life is mainly on the road. 261 Fearless brings me to many different places where I get the unique opportunity to meet and run with so many wonderful people. It’s inspiring, exciting, and gives me an open-minded outlook. For this upcoming journey, I am traveling to Boston and New York City.
11am: I have meetings with partners along the way to Vienna. No time for lunch – so I take a healthy bar, banana, and coffee (obviously).
5pm: I finally arrive in Vienna. I check in to my hotel, and take a walk. This helps me to recap the day and calm down after driving and dealing with business items.
9pm: I am tired – I fall into bed. Happy to have a quiet room.
Daily mileage: ~5 miles
Saturday – Day Three
6:30am: I wake up excited about running on my old trails again. I was born close to Vienna, where I started my running “career.” I head out for a run. It’s foggy out there – but I enjoy every step. The fog creates a completely different feeling – speed doesn’t exist – it’s like flying through the universe.
My workout is 70 minutes total – starting easy and getting faster every 15 minutes with a 10- min cool down. I don’t follow a specific training plan – I listen to my body and decide before I leave what kind of workout I am going to complete.
I know this run will help me to “survive” the 12-hour flight from Austria to the US.
8am: Very relaxed Viennese breakfast (bread, cheese, jam) with coffee.
Noon: Departure from Vienna via Munich to Boston.
I’m on the plane for more than 12 hours. I work and watch movies. I just want to stay awake and mitigate jet-lag. During the flight, I try to hydrate as much as I can. I almost drink 2 liters of water. This pushes me to get up and walking around even more often. 😉
6:30pm: Arrival in Boston. After a short drive to the hotel, I take a warm long shower and then I fall asleep instantly.
Daily mileage: ~9 miles
Sunday – Day Four
5:30am: I don’t need an alarm. I am up and awake — hey, it’s almost noon at home (the time difference between Austria and Boston is 6 hours). I drink a coffee and eat an energy bar.
6:15am: I lace up my running shoes. An 80-minute long run helps me to acclimate and shake off the jet lag. It’s a beautiful sunny fall morning with mild temperatures. I’m counting my blessings for the Indian Summer! I run along the Charles River.
8am: Breakfast. I choose a high protein meal: scrambled eggs with some cheese – my favorite in the US.
I take a tour around Harvard and see the amazing “Head of the Charles” regatta on Charles River.
4pm: After 4 hours walking around I need a big “Linner” (a combination of Lunch & Dinner). As I am in Boston l naturally need my dose of Clam Chowder and afterwards, a salad with fruit. The full stomach makes me tired…
7pm: I am already asleep.
Daily mileage: ~10 miles
Monday – Day Five
6am: It’s still dark – but I don’t care. I go for a run with my 261 colleague Melissa from Kansas City. We run easy. Instead of taking the same path back, we decide to run through the colorful Newton neighborhoods.
A morning run helps to make me fresh and ready for a long day in the meeting room. It brings up my blood pressure and wakes up all my senses.
8am: Breakfast from the hotel buffet. To keep the blood sugar level high I take eggs and cheese. And for sure: coffee!
9am: Team meeting!
In addition to providing running opportunities, 261 Fearless also provide education for potential leaders. If a woman wants to set up a local club, she attends our 261 ‘Train the Trainer‘ course — a 3-day education program that educates new coaches on the 261 running curriculum. These courses are led by our 261 Master Coaches.
This upcoming week we’ll be hosting a new Master Coach education class. After that, we’ll run a 261 ‘Train the Trainer’ course to educate new 261 Coaches for local Clubs.
Today I prepare for the upcoming education week with the 261 Master Coaches team. Schedules need to be finalized, materials checked, and roles defined. It’s fun work and the team is amazing.
Every 60 minutes we get up and do 3 core exercises. As soon as we are back at the table we feel refreshed, and suddenly we get new ideas and solutions!
Noon: We interrupt our discussions for 30 minutes to get some healthy food, salads and veggie wraps.
Time flies by and suddenly it’s 5pm.
6pm: Traveling means that you are always in a restaurant for meals. At the beginning, it is fun. Today we choose a location with a lot of salad and veggie options. My choice: a bowl with rice, crunchy vegetables, grilled avocado and sesame, and warm water.
10pm: I am already asleep.
Daily mileage: ~5 miles
Tuesday – Day Six
5am: The alarm goes off. Before my business day starts, I want to get out and get some speedy miles under my belt.
5:30am: When it is windy, wet, and dark it really helps to have one of my teammates by my side. We push each other through these miles. As it is fairly warm, it wakes up all of my senses and an hour run goes by quickly.
6:35am: I quickly shower, grab a cup of coffee and an energy bar.
7am: Today begins the 261 Master Coach course: I welcome the three new 261 Master Coach candidates — women who are training to become 261 Master coaches. This is their first training session.
261 Fearless offers women new job opportunities. They first start as volunteer 261 Coaches and guide local runs. If a woman wants to get more involved, she has the ability to teach and can apply for the Master Coach Program. Then, they assist other Master Coaches during the 261 ‘Train the Trainer’ courses and support 261 Coaches around the year.
While I’m the CEO of this organization, I am also responsible for the global 261 Club network. The Master Coaches are the key to reaching out to more countries and communities. I love to see these coaches and communities growing. It’s a wonderful journey to watch these women become more empowered and discover their hidden talents.
We start our first session with the theory behind core training.
9am: Breakfast break: we have earned a bowl of fruits and warm porridge. A big cup of coffee is a must!
10am: The training goes on: it’s intense, but fulfilling. This morning, we are focusing on leadership and psychosocial aspects.
12am: Next session: running technique!
2pm: It’s time for a break to fuel our tanks again. I grab some fruits, yoghurt, and nuts.
2:30pm: The show goes on: This afternoon’s topic? How to support our 261 Club Directors and 261 Coaches.
5pm: It’s been a long day already. And there is still a long ‘To Do’ list. Calls and a ton of emails are waiting.
7pm: Time for dinner and socializing. Rice, beans, veggies, guacamole are on my plate. In this relaxed atmosphere, it’s time to switch off the business brain and get into private chat mode.
Daily mileage: ~7 miles
Wednesday – Day Seven
5am: Another early morning. Running shoes are ready.
5:30am: Another rainy 1-hour run.
6:40am: Another warm shower. My first coffee and a fruit bar. Ready to take off.
7am: Another intensive Master Coach course day starts. Again, we incorporate Core training.
9am: We continue working, discussing, running…
5pm: We are done with the first block of the 261 Master Coach course – for now. Everybody is happy and fully motivated. And the next education program is waiting: the 261 ‘Train the Trainer’ course begins on Friday. It will be a new adventure for 8 women from the US and Ecuador. We will spend 3 days together, dive into the 261 Fearless world and help them become 261 Coaches in their local 261 Clubs.
5:15pm: Still some daily work needs to be done: emails, calls, plans.
7pm: Dinner time! Today I decide to order American… a plate of potato fries!
9pm: I crash hard!
Daily mileage: ~7 miles
Total Weekly Mileage: ~50 miles
Wrap Up — A Look Back On The Week
It’s been another travel week. But I was able to run every day which helped me to get over jet lag and digest the workload. I enjoyed the different running routes – I ran at home, on my old trails, and in a completely different neighborhood in the US. I enjoyed the camaraderie during my runs.
To keep the energy level high, I tried hard to eat healthy – and as a chocolate addicted person I just took 1 bite per day 😉 I am satisfied with what I have achieved. My running helped me to balance the work load and I was able to keep my fitness level. Sure – I would plan my work outs differently at home – but my “home” right now is everywhere – and no week looks the same.
About Edith Zuschmann
Edith Zuschmann is a sports journalist, running coach and the CEO of 261 Fearless who is based in Klagenfurt, Austria. You can follow her running adventures with 261 Fearless on Facebook (@running.zuschi) and Instagram (@runningzuschi).