European Champion Els Visser: ‘Consistency will have our back’

Less than two months ago, Els Visser became European Champion Long Distance at Challenge Almere-Amsterdam. It was yet another top performance by the Dutch professional athlete. A striking detail: Visser always trains by feeling – and thus never sticks to a schedule – and thinks that this is very important. On socials Visser explains why:

“I’ve shared our training philosophy a couple of times. We train on body feeling and don’t do sessions at specific speeds, heart rate or watts. With the lack of numbers we try to listen to our bodies and to not allow our minds to over command our body’s feelings. How do we measure success if we don’t do tests? How do we look and judge performance?

“It’s the consistency that will have our back. It is not days, weeks, or months that count, it is years. Repetition, repetition and repetition. Day in day out. Week in week out. Month in month out. Year in year out. Then repeat.

“After three years of not training in Australia, I came back a couple of weeks ago. Last weekend I ran a local park run event. The same event I ran three years ago, in which I ran 3.53 pace per kilometer. I remember that I was very pleased with that result. Last weekend I ran a 3.33 pace per kilometer, 20 seconds (!) faster on a kilometer, and it felt very controlled.

“It’s the years of consistent training that is starting to pay off, and which shows me that I am a different athlete than I was a couple of years ago.

“So if I can give you a little advice, it’s about the belief in the training program and yourself. Then repeat what is needed on all three disciplines, and give yourself time to make training adaptations.”