Inspirational Athlete Spotlight: Germany’s Thea Heim

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german long distance runner, thea heim, germany, runner Inspirational Athlete Spotlight: Germany’s Thea Heim

Imagine being one of the best woman’s mid to long distance runners in Germany. You would have to be one quick chick. Speed, power, discipline and a little bit of cleverness would help to make you a world class athlete and Germany’s Thea Heim is the epitome of all these traits. Let’s meet with this professional runner and learn more about her daily routines and her trials and tribulations that ultimately lead to her successes.

Read also about best running shoes for half marathon.

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself: who you are, where you’re from, what you do? 
I am from one of the most beautiful regions in Germany, called Bavaria. I was born in Starnberg (near Munich), grew up in Sachsenkam (near the Bavarian Alps) and now I work and live in Munich. At the moment, I work 40 hours a week as an IT Trainee at Allianz Deutschland and do high performance, competitive running.
When did your passion for running begin and how has it transformed over time?

I did a lot of sports when I was a child. Besides track and field, I also did cross country skiing, Judo, soccer along with other sports. When I was 16, my coach convinced me to focus on running. The feeling I got from competition became a top priority for me. During the last ten years, running has become my real passion. It is not only the success in competitions, but it is also the daily work I put into running. Running has become a daily desire nowadays. Today, for me, the journey of getting to the goal is more important than achieving the actual goal. Running it shows the perfect contrast of the work put in and the work that comes out, plus the exciting feeling in a competition thrills me.
© Talentteam ENF
You are starting to make a name for yourself in middle and long distance running! Congratulations! What are your preferred distances to compete in? Feel free to share your personal bests with us.

My personal preference has changed over the years. But my coach had told me from the beginning that my best talent would be in long distance running. We decided to develop my performance for distance running over the years. We started with 400 meters and 800 meters (until 2013), then 1500 meters (until 2016), 10.000 meters and half marathon (2017). Since 2017, I have concentrated more on long-distance running and is now what I love the most.
My personal bests include:
800m: 2.03,12 min
1500m: 4.12,94 min
3000m: 9.20,37 min
5000m: 16.08,34 min
10.000m: 33.48,73 min
10km Sraße: 34.09 min
Half Marathon: 1.15,13 h
Can you describe a typical training day for us? What about an off-season training day?

A typical day would look for example like that:
5.30 a.m: Wake up
6.00 a.m: First session 10mi/16k
7.30 a.m: Breakfast
8.15 a.m: Start work
5.00 p.m: Finish work
6.00 p.m: Second session 6mi/10k
8.00 p.m: Dinner
10.30 p.m: Bed
In the offseason I do fewer kilometers and also different sports. Three days of the week, I will do no sports at all.
What does a typical diet look like for you?

I have no special diet, but here is what I eat on a typical day:
Breakfast: Tea, fruits, bread with honey or some cake
Lunch: Meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables. We have a very good canteen at my work.
Dinner: Eggs, salad, meat, cheese, etc
In general, I look for a good amount of fat and proteins as well as enough good carbohydrates. However, my meals all depend on the content of my training sessions. But in general, I don’t avoid anything special.
Where have been some of your favorite places to compete?

In general, I love to compete in foreign countries. Last year, I was in Sweden (Jönköping) and Italy (Trentino, Lago di Garda). I love to go to foreign places and see a different atmosphere and people. I also had a great experience running in Zürich at Diamonds League meeting at Letzigrund. In the future, I plan to have more competitions abroad.
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You are sponsored by some big brands like Gore Wear and HokaOneOne. What are some of the others and how do these brands support your aspirations to become a world-class athlete? 
My main partners are GOREWEAR for clothing and HOKA ONE ONE for shoes. Equipment is so important when you are running up to 170k a week during peak training. Therefore, I research the perfect products for me when trying to create collaboration. I am not wearing running gear as a way to promote a product as this does not appeal to me.
For me personally, I feel the advantages of compression materials. So, I have worked together with the Bavarian brand “UNDERPRESSURE SOX”. Together we have developed an ultralight pair within the last two years specifically for me.
It is very important for me and my coach, to get accurate training results from a GPS watch. I work together with the Finnish brand SUUNTO, which is, in my opinion, she has the most precise watch on the market.
My latest partner is JULBO EYEWEAR gives me fantastic photo-chromatic glasses which adapt with the light and at the same time look awesome.
Since 2013 my running club, LG TELIS FINANZ REGENSBURG, provides the best support system. They play a very important and vital role for me to finance and organize training camps, etc.
To work together with amazing partners provides a great source of motivation for me.
© Talentteam ENF
What are some of your upcoming goals? 

My goal is to always find a balance between high performance running and working in real life. When these two activities work together, my main goal will be to run personal bests. For this year the 10k, half marathon and my first full marathon are my main goals. My marathon project “THEIM2020” will commence!
What advice would you give to someone who would like to improve their speed to compete at a higher level?

This is difficult to answer with only a few short words. In general, my experience is that speed sessions do not make you faster. What I have found to be more important is the endurance training and speed endurance training. A very good aerobic base is more important than short, fast speed sessions. So for myself, I rather prefer a Fartlek in the woods than a 10 x 400m session on the track with high speed which only something my coach has me do once a year.
If you would like to learn more about Thea Heim you can follow her webpage, Thea Heim or her Instagram @theaheim.