Andrea Huser is a Swiss ultra-athlete, cyclist, and skier. She recently came in second place among women at the 2017 Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, and just completed the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra, where she also placed second. You can follow Andrea on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Finishers Club: You’ve just returned from the Salomon Ben Nevis Ultra in Scotland, after an incredible 2nd place finish at UTMB. The races were only about 10 days apart. What sort of recovery strategy did you follow to maximize your performance?
Andrea Huser: The week after UTMB, I went hiking once and did some basic mountain biking. I was able to recover pretty well, and after a week I was able to do a 50 km trail run here in Switzerland.
Finishers Club: You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you felt kind of tired toward the beginning of the UTMB. How did you push past the exhaustion of not sleeping?
Andrea Huser: It wasn’t the first time that I haven’t slept before a race. I’m actually used to it, and just try to forget about the tiredness during the race. But since it initially wasn’t so easy, I worried that I was too tired to perform my best. But as I know from experience now, I cannot give up hope early, since it does eventually get better — and that was the case here, too 😉 ! Although I fought against sleepiness, I think I was still able to perform well, physically.
Finishers Club: What does an average day of training look like for you (kilometers, nutrition, etc)? Is there an average day?
Andrea Huser: It varies. If I have a race on the weekend, I’ll be sure to do two rest days with some body weight exercises, beforehand. I’ll also train on a mountain bike once or twice, for about 2-3 hours at a time, and run for 1-3 hours, in fast intervals. My diet is pretty normal. I love to have breakfast with muesli, biscuits, and coffee, and I’ll reward myself after training with sweets.
Finishers Club: When you are running a long race, what are you thinking about? Are you focusing on the trail? On your competition? On something else?
Andrea Huser: There are a bunch of things going through my head: I’m trying to focus both on the trail and to pay attention to how I’m using my body: for example, I’ll try to conserve energy, but still walk briskly, stay down focused on the trail, and be attentive to if I need energy or a drink, etc. I don’t really think about anything in particular, and ideas just sort of come naturally all by themselves about everyday things, or depending on how well things are going, I think about the training I’ve done.
Finishers Club: Are you a coffee drinker? If so, any kind of coffee in particular?
Andrea Huser: Oh yes! I love milchkaffee, I drink it quite often.
Finishers Club: What are a few pieces of gear or nutrition that you couldn’t live without?
Andrea Huser: There’s no point in traveling without sunglasses! And it’s hard to live without milk or yoghurt – fortunately, they have these just about anywhere I travel!