Running coaching | Sanitas health insurance
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Sanitas running coaching

Running is one of the most popular sports in Switzerland. And it’s no small wonder: it’s good for your heart and circulation, you can do it anywhere, in any weather, and you don’t need to spend a fortune on sports clothing.  

The Sanitas running coaching programme gave two novice runners the chance to train for the Zürcher Silvesterlauf in 2018. They were coached by Viktor Röthlin, who won gold at the European Championships, and Sandra Johnson, Sanitas health coach. Find out how the candidates fared here. You’ll also find tips on equipment, training, nutrition and much more. Maybe you’ll be bitten by the running bug, too!

The candidates

Nicole Abgottspon, 34, project manager

“I want to do more sport again and get in better shape. It’d be a real bonus if I could lose some weight as well.”

Nicole’s goal

“Of course, my goal is to run the 8.55 km at the Silvesterlauf. But the training as a whole is just as important. I want keeping fit to become part of my daily routine again. An added bonus would be if I could lose a few kilos along the way.”

Christoph Banik, 37, economist

“I want to find out how professional running and nutrition coaching will really affect my condition and health.”

Christoph’s goal

“I’m not just aiming to compete the Silvesterlauf, although I am of course interested to see where I’ll end up in the rankings. I want to improve my running technique and performance and my general fitness over the next few weeks.”

The coaches

Viktor Röthlin, European marathon champion and fitness expert

“My goal is to ensure that Nicole and Christoph make it over the finish line of the Zürcher Silvesterlauf. But I also want the coaching to encourage them to get more exercise in their daily routine.”

Viktor Röthlin on goals

“It’s vital for novices to have a clear training goal. Nicole and Christoph’s goal is to complete the 8.55 km run in the 2018 Zürcher Silvesterlauf. In the meantime, I’ll set them lots of interim goals to keep them motivated.”

Sandra Johnson, Sanitas health coach, nutritional psychologist

“I’m making sure that our candidates improve their running performance by making them more conscious of what they’re eating and generally improving their health.”

Sandra Johnson on food and training

“The candidates don’t have to eat more just because they’re training on a regular basis. What’s important is eating balanced meals with sufficient breaks between meals. Those looking to lose weight shouldn’t spend a lot of time standing on the bathroom scales, especially not after doing sport. All you’re doing is measuring any lost fluids.”

Running topics in an nutshell

Training tips

Here are a few tips on adopting the right running technique and optimising your training.

Equipment and aids

From the Sanitas Active app and the weekly planner to running shoes: you’ll run better if you have the right equipment.

Diet and nutrition

What, when and how much: Find out more about healthy eating and drinking habits here.


The perfect preparation for your race – here you’ll find tips, checklists, race dates and videos of our running coaching participants.

  • Milestone: Nicole and Christoph run in the Switzerland Marathon light
  • Find the perfect race for you from the list of marathons
  • Marathon tips: before, during and after the race
  • Viktor Röthlin’s top tips for running a marathon
  • Nicole, Christoph and Viktor assess their progress so far
  • Mission accomplished: Nicole and Christoph cross the finish line at the Silvesterlauf.

First running coaching session

Strength exercises

Mental strength