Dossier: Running coaching

Relaxing with the blackroll

When Nicole Abgottspon and Christoph Banik went shopping for sportswear with Viktor Röthlin, they didn’t stop at running shoes and functional clothing — they bought a blackroll, too.

Muscles need to be relaxed after a run. Although many runners stretch after a run, Viktor says stretching isn’t an absolute must: “There are many ways to relax your muscles after a run. A session in the sauna, contrast shower, a warm bath or rolling with a blackroll will do the job just as well.”

The European marathon champion told his two charges to regenerate their muscles with the blackroll. Rolling helps soften hardened and overstretched tissues and muscles and helps you feel limber again. And rolling with a blackroll significantly reduces the chance of muscle soreness. Viktor Röthlin swears by the “Davos” method: Use the blackroll where it hurts the most. Roll it forwards and backwards gently until the pain eases then move on to the next sore area.

Never stretch before you run

Stretching before your run is a big no-no. “We don’t want our muscles to be relaxed before training. They need to be warmed up and ready to go,” says Viktor Röthlin. And another tip for those who like to do stretches: When the temperature drops outside, it’s better to have a shower first then do some stretches indoors. Anyone drenched in sweat and doing stretches in a drafty corner is likely to catch a cold.

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.”