German Ultrarunner Florian Neuschwander breaks the 100K treadmill World Record

Andrew Dawson
·4-min read
Photo credit: COURTESY OF ON RUNNING/NICLAS BOCK
Photo credit: COURTESY OF ON RUNNING/NICLAS BOCK

From Runner's World

German ultrarunner Florian Neuschwander has proven once again that he is a master of the treadmill, capturing the 100K treadmill world record on January 30.

The 39-year-old completed the distance in 6:26:08—an average of 6:13 per mile!—beating the previous record by six minutes.

Neuschwander, 39, is no stranger to treadmill records. He captured the 50K treadmill world record in March 2020, running 2:57:25. But that mark was bested a few more times before the end of the year by runners like Matthias Kyburz and Tyler Andrews.

In October, Neuschwander considered again going after the 50K record—Andrews’s 2:42:51—but instead, he thought he might be more successful going after the 100K record of 6:39:25, set by Mexican-American runner Mario Mendoza in June 2020.

'I planned this run because where I live, we have good snow and it’s icy, and I don’t like to run every day in the cold temperatures or slip,' Neuschwander told Runner’s World. 'I always train on the treadmill in the winter and we decided to do it with about 10 to 12 weeks to prepare.'

Neuschwander kept his mileage relatively low for training, logging between 60 to 80 miles a week. He supplemented that with Zwift cycling and backcountry skiing. His biggest runs came on long treadmill efforts: two marathons, four 50Ks, and two 60Ks. The run that gave him the most confidence for his record attempt was a 50K test run he did, which he finished six minutes faster than his world record time.

With the help of one of his sponsors, Garmin, and treadmill company, H/P/Cosmos, Neuschwander set up in a small gym near his home in Germany. With plenty of fresh air flowing in and three screens in front of him to look at for entertainment and motivation, Neuschwander put some Squirrel Nut Butter on his feet to prevent blisters, donned his On Cloudflow shoes, and started up his treadmill and Zwift for the six-plus hours of running ahead.

'The first half was flying by. It was really fast,' he said. 'On the screens, I had comments, texts, and videos that helped me a lot from people who were watching the live stream. That helped me get through to the 60K, which I knew should be easy because I had done it before. After that, it was uncharted territory.'

Neuschwander’s treadmill speed was around 15.6 km/hr throughout the entire run, but his toughest stretch between came between 75 and 85K, when he got some cramps in his quads and he dropped his speed down to 15.1 km/hr (9.38 mph), his slowest of the day. He continued to take his Maurten mixed drink every hour for fuel, supplemented by water, which helped the cramps subside.

For the final 10K, Neuschwander added two Red Bulls mixed with water to his routine and cranked up the speed to 17 km/hr (10.5 mph). This turned out to be too fast after six hours of running, but that didn’t stop him from trying to go faster.

'I went again to 15.5, and then I’d move it up and down, up and down, up and down because I wanted to go faster faster faster,' he said. 'But at the same time, I was afraid I’d cramp so I slowed down again. But that last 10K was 36:05, which meant I speeded up after six hours of running.'

Neuschwander got the record comfortably, finishing six minutes ahead of the previous record with a time of 6:26:08. That’s an average of 6:13 per mile. The new record-holder admitted that he was worried he would have wobbly legs or that he’d fall down when he got off, but he didn’t experience that.

'For me, treadmill running isn’t really hard,' he said. 'The main thing is to have fresh air. This is hard, but if you have a lot of fresh air, your heart rate goes down. In the gym, we had a big door open and it was nearly like outdoor running but in one place.'

With most things still shut down, celebrations were limited after his record run. Neuschwander said he celebrated with his wife and kid and he ate two big pizzas and had two beers.

With his race schedule uncertain at the moment because of the pandemic, Neuschwander plans to continue training for the 100K German Championships in the fall. There or in time, he hopes to capture the German 100K record—6:24:29. After seeing Jim Walmsley miss the 100K record by 11 seconds on January 23, he said his goal that he’d be happy with is a sub 6:20.

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