“In Europe, maybe most youngsters think it is safer to go to university and then get a high paying job. After all, there are easier ways to earn a living than as an 800m runner!” – Andre Bucher

© 2017 Runner’s Tribe, all rights reserved.

Sources

  • IAAF Andre Bucher Interview 2001.
  • British Milers Club Andre Bucher Interview 2003.

Swiss media used to refer to Andre Bucher as “The Great White Hope”.  The title meant nothing to Bucher; colour or nationality aside, Bucher earnt his spot on top of the world 800m rankings through the combinations of raw talent, smart and consistent training from a young age, and bold front-running.

Runner’s Tribe took a look back over the career and training of this magnificent 2-lapper.

  • D.O.B: 19 October 1976
  • Country: Switzerland

Career Highlight

  • 800m World Champion, Edmonton, 2001.

 

Personal Bests

  • 400m: 46.23
  • 600m: 1:14.72
  • 800m: 1:42.55
  • 1000m: 2:15.63
  • 1500m: 3:38.44
  • 3000m: 8:16.90
  • 3000m Steeplechase: 9:09.73
  • 5000m:  14:06.77
  • 10,000m: 30:40.50

Don’t specialize too early

“As a junior, I thought that I will be a long distance runner in the future. But my coach always motivated me to try various distances… and finally I found the event that suited me best. I found a distance that combines endurance, speed, power; my training is never boring at all.” –  Andre Bucher

As a junior athlete, Bucher was a top Swiss runner over events ranging from cross-country, to 5000m-10,000m events, to the 3000m steeplechase. During these years Bucher laid down the aerobic foundations on which to launch his senior career from.

“Bucher was, for example, in Switzerland, the best junior in 10,000 meters, 5,000 meters, steeple and reigning in junior cross country, then becomes a specialist in 1500, then after 1500, the 800m”– Renato Canova

Furthermore, Bucher is an advocate of not specializing too early, and for trying a wide range of events at an early age.

“The best advice is not to set yourself any limits. Trying various events as a young runner makes you run better in your main event (to be a good 800m runner, you need to have a good speed over 400m, but also you need to have a good endurance over cross country, 5000m, and the 3000m steeplechase.  Never specialize too early and always try to have some fun in checking out new distances.”  –  Andre Bucher

Embed from Getty Images

The Front Runner

I have always tried to run my own race rather than to react on other athletes’ tactics.”  –  Andre Bucher

Bucher was well known for his front running tactics. Taking the first lap out hard in 50 seconds or faster wasn’t foreign to the smooth moving Swiss, who along the way collected a world champion gold medal.

“To run in front is often the easiest tactic if you are in good shape, because you are the one to set the pace and all the others have to follow you, whether they want to or not.” –  Andre Bucher

Front Running to Victory in Zurich, 2001 (49 second first lap)

Senior Training

“To be honest, I wouldn’t claim that altitude makes that much difference in my event. St Moritz is just a great place to train. The altitude factor is more important for long distance runners.” –  Andre Bucher

Some interesting facts about Bucher’s training as an adult are outlined below:

  • His training cycle started every year with good basic training in autumn. This included long runs, basic weight training and endurance training.
  • The indoor season was not a major emphasis and the specific training would only span over a few weeks.
  • In spring, Bucher would commence a long build up from mid-March until mid-June. This included high altitude training in St. Moritz to prepare for the first half of the season (European Cup, first Golden League races).
  • After the first half of the season was over, Bucher would then return to St. Moritz to prepare for the second half of his season (World Champs, Olympic Games etc.).

On what it takes to make it and why the Africans are dominating:

“As for the question of why Africans are currently better than Europeans, I think the Africans are just much more motivated – which means they are willing to accept the risks of becoming professional athletes and happy to train incredibly hard. In Europe, maybe most youngsters think it is safer to go to university and then get a high paying job. After all, there are easier ways to earn a living than as an 800m runner!” –  Andre Bucher

Sources

  • IAAF Andre Bucher Interview 2001.
  • British Milers Club Andre Bucher Interview 2003.
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