Eat, run, eat, study, sleep, run, eat, study, sleep… that’s a typical day for Camille Chenaux. That’s what it takes to be a professional middle distance athlete. The Sporty Blonde talks about her passion, her lifestyle and her plans.
Where are you from and what do you do?
I am Swiss but I have lived in Italy since childhood after moving around Switzerland, Belgium and France for a few years. I am a political science PhD student and a professional middle distance athlete since 2019.
I am a very active person and I’ve been playing sports since I was 5. I played soccer because that was my father’s passion. I was part of the AS Roma football club. I remember while other kids were suffering during PE I was enjoying myself and honing my skills. That made me think about running and I started running as an amateur when I was 18.
For the first few years I only did local competitions and I didn’t train properly as I had to focus on university. The switch started when I was intrigued by a triathlon. I trained very hard for a year and competed in triathlon sprint distances with better results. After that I had the chance to join Athletica Vaticana and the possibility to train with top athletes and staff. It’s been a year now and my running times are drastically improving.
What do your days look like?
I wake up early and have breakfast as my main meal. Then training, some research work for my PhD, lunch, a nap, a second training session, dinner, some more university work and then I go to sleep. That’s my average day. During competition season things get more complex as I have to travel internationally to join events.
Sometimes it is hard to stay motivated because the training is very difficult. You have to give your best twice a day and in between you need to fuel your training with a balanced diet. Needless to say, forget about nightlife! Staying stable and focused is the key to being able to deal with the ups and downs and unexpected obstacles. Handling all that comes with professional sports has improved my self-awareness big time.
What do you love so much about running?
Running is my passion and when you can spend most of your time on what you enjoy it is a great feeling. There are no compromises or recommendations or social status when you run. The strongest person is the one who wins! The best part is reaching your goal knowing you put in the effort.
Lots of people follow your journey on social media, is that inspiring?
I love sharing my passion with others, especially with young athletes who are starting out. It is a great school of life.
Also I promote a healthy lifestyle and good quality food.
Running (especially middle distance athletes who run for at least 100 km every week) has a huge impact on your body so nutrition is crucial. The right diet with added vitamins and supplements assures faster recovery, helps to avoid injuries and fuels your training. I work with a nutrition expert to make sure my body stays balanced with the work load and to keep my health on track.
Running is one of the most popular and practiced sports in the world. Do you think the sport is still growing these days?
At the amateur level it is definitely becoming more and more popular. I see personal trainers organizing outdoor sessions. Another trend I see due to Covid-19 is running apps and new businesses arising online.
So what would you suggest to someone who wants to start running or maybe even apply for a marathon (hopefully Covid-19 makes it possible to organize big events like that again soon)?
I would suggest concentrating on an achievable target and then trying to improve on it step by step.
What are your plans for the future?
My next competition is the national final championship in Italy and the next step will be to improve further in anticipation of the European Championship.
I started competition prep training recently so I believe I can improve a lot and stay competitive for at least 5 more years. At the international level you can find women in their 40s or older so who knows how long I could go on running.
I try to balance my work life with my personal life and that’s not easy. I continue with my university studies because running at a high level will end at a certain point.