All About Fredrik

Lund, Sweden

Loves to Run: 21k

How did you start running? 

I started a few years back, but I always found myself dropping out of it.

I would have to say that I started for real in February of this year, when I registered myself to Gรถteborgsvarvet. This is one of the worldโ€™s biggest half-marathons, held in May here in Sweden. I was really hyped about that, and it forced me to pick up running again.

With some changes to my strategy, I eventually got sucked into a world where love and joy goes hand in hand with running. Or should I say foot by foot? ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Do you run with a club?

Sort of, but it is more of a community I would say.

It is called Coach K Runners, and they are an active running community in Lund (Southern Sweden).  They regularly put up free training sessions and it is kind of a basic concept, but it also makes it really easy for new people to get started.

Eventually, when I had attended enough sessions it felt like I was part of a running community with like-minded people.  This was one of my goals as well, to surround myself with great runners that can inspire.

How does running make you feel?

The short answer would be free, alive and focused.  

However, there is some complexity to the answer.  Running is always nice if I feel stressed by work or other things. It clears my mind and removes all background noise.  There is a sort of running that gives even more, which is to just head out by foot, get close to nature and sometimes even explore new trails and areas.  Trail running is really what gives me the most, sort of the whole package.

Do you have a special running story?

When I was a kid my main activity was swimming and I quit that when I was about 15 years old. During my active time, I was a decent runner and did really well compared to classmates in school.  When I started to run at a later age, I naturally thought that I had a decent technique and that it was just to keep on going.

I could not have been more wrong.  In the beginning, it worked out okay.  When I started to push beyond 10 kilometers, I ran into problems with me knees.  They got swollen and I had problems to run for days.  

I started to look into running techniques and exercises that would help me to land more properly on my feet.  A common thing when trying to improve a motion is to overdo it and this was something I was familiar with from my swim training. I went out and basically jogged 7 km on my toes to force me to change my running step. On every training session for a month or two, I used this technique to improve my stride.

This helped me a lot, and made it possible to move beyond 20 km.  I am still having issues with my knees when I push 30 km, but there is also a lot left to improve that will help me reach further.  This was a hard, but important lesson for me - Running that at a first glance would seem like a primitive skill, still has so much details, finesse and technique to it.

What races have you run?

It pretty much feels like my journey has just begun, so there are not many. Prior to this year, I had attended one 10 kilometer race.  This year, I have attended the half-marathon and two 10 kilometer races that are both pretty local with just a few thousand runners.

What is your most memorable running moment?

It has to be the half-marathon in Gothenburg with about 50,000 participants. It was just an amazing experience to be part of something so big while a new runner.  At that moment, I was really high on emotions.

What races would you like to run in the future?

I think I need to make a calendar for next year, because there are so many races I want to do.  I am already signed up for the race in Gothenburg, and I am most likely also heading to Prague to run the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon.

While the half-marathon is an amazing distance that I think is very well balanced, I want to head further.  I am looking at different marathons and hope to attend one next year.  Also, I hope that my body is ready for it.  What I am looking forward to the most is the ultra-races and other long distances in trail.  Sweden has many beautiful places, so does Europe and the rest of the world. Exactly what to pick and go for, is something I will make up on my way! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Where are your favorite places to run?

Trail running in areas where the landscape changes and provides different views along the way is just magical to me. I am glad I have a few of those close to me, but combining trail running with new places is probably what I love the most.

Do you have a motto or favorite phrase?

Everyone should aim to be the best of who they are, and what they do.  Life can take rapid turns and the regret of not living and giving it all is hard to carry.

Do you have advice for other runners?

For new runners that still think it is hard and tough to run, I would like to tell them to keep fighting and keep pushing forward.  Eventually, you will push through and a new world will be revealed.  A world that is hard to understand or believe in when you are just starting out.

For the rest, have fun and do not forget to rest! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Do you bring anything with you while running?

Only for longer runs.

I have two different bags from Camelbak depending on what I want to bring with me.  The smaller one has a reservoir that holds 1.5 l / 50 oz liquid and some extra space for smaller things like my phone, a few gels and some minor medical supplies. It is usually enough for most of my longer runs, but the closer I get to marathon and ultra-distances, I tend to use the other bag for more nutrition, with extra clothing and stuff I might need depending on terrain and weather.

What type of sneakers do you wear?

This must be something you get more of the longer you have run and the more experienced you get. A lot of my training sessions are on asphalt and other flat surfaces, so for that I use Asics Nimbus. I usually get new ones every year, and for me they are really great so I have not felt like changing them.

As I have moved more and more into trail-running and tougher terrain has become more common, I also own a pair of Salomon Speedcross. I have not used them enough to say much about them but they do provide an amazing grip.

What is your favorite food?

I love most food so I would not be able to pick just one thing, but then again I am Swedish and Smorgasbord exists for a reason. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

If I knew I had a tough training session or race ahead I would definitely turn to some sort of pasta dish.

Do you have a pre-race ritual?

No, I cannot say that I have. However, I am a control freak that needs to know everything and I re-check my gear several times. I usually tie the shoelaces several times because they never really feel perfectly tied. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

What activities do you like outside of running?

Running has really become the main activity for me, when it comes to sport or fitness. I do not mind going to the gym from time to time, but it is not as close to the heart as running.

Swimming by itself is not something I would really love, especially not alone. Swim-run or maybe even triathlon could possibly be something that I move towards eventually. I really see the charm in it.

For whatever time that is left I do not mind spending some time with family and friends or watching a good TV-series or movie. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

What are your goals for the future?

It feels like there is so much more running can give me, when it comes to experiences.  My plan is to attend more races during 2017 and continue to push my timings. I have goals to run a half-marathon on sub 90 minutes and 10 kilometers on sub 40 minutes. I consider them to be almost identical hard goals and for me they would really mark that I have made a giant leap from where I once started.

I have many other goals and dreams as well. Being able to run a marathon and an ultra-race without pain in my knees is also part of what I want next year. This is something I sort of hope will work itself out as long as I keep training. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

At the moment running is my main activity, and I try to mix in gym training.  There is something called a Swedish Classic Circuit that I would like to do. It would involve more than just running. It is basically four different races in Sweden that need to be done in a row, but you are free to start with any race you want. It exists of 90 km cross country skiing, 300 km cycling, 3 km open water swimming and 30 km cross-country running. 

Photography, courtesy of Fredrik Eriksson.

Follow Fredrik on social media:

Instagram: @fredrik.eri

That Pretty Runner