Facts about Eline:
Name: Eline Dalemans
Shoe size: 40
Favourite running shoes: For long runs the Fate 6, for fartlek I prefer the Gravity 9 and for the track I choose for the Distance 9. For races I take the Distance Elite.
Personal bests/records: 3000m steeplechase: 10’05’’ (2020) Belgian champion; 1500m: 4’26” 5k: 16’45; 10k: 34’19”
Favourite place: Salzburg
Favourite Superfood: Blueberries
Favourite Powerdrink: Innerme: Isotonic Energydrink ‘fruit’
This is a workout/training I love: Different track workouts like repeats of 500 meters.
This is a workout/training I hate: There aren't workouts that I really hate
This is what makes me happy: Listening music, going to the sea, visiting another country
This is what I don't like: To lie
This is my strength: Perseverance
Eline, you are a successful steeplechaser, cross country and road runner. Please tell us a bit about your career, how did you get into running?
When I was a child I was very active. I liked all sports. But when I won the cross country race at school over and over again without specific training, a coach told me to join an athletics club in the area. My performance has improved since then and running is still a passion, today.
What does running mean to you? As an example, for many recreational runners running is a good way to cope with stress, it's a form of relaxation and to calm the mind. Is this also the case for a runner like you, who is competing at an elite level?
Yeah, I need running in my daily life to feel good and have a clear mind. Running isn’t only a sport, but also a lifestyle. As an elite athlete you go to sleep with running on your mind and you wake up with it. For me it is almost like a healthy drug. A wonderful feeling: The contact with the ground under my feet, the wind in my face. I enjoy suffering during training.
What are your greatest sporting successes so far?
To join the Belgian team for the European championships. And the Belgian record for the2000m steeplechase I set in 2008.
The pandemic in 2020 has changed a lot. What has been the biggest challenge for you so far? How do you ensure to keep your level of training during this time?
It’s necessary to stay focused on my daily workouts because there will be a time when I need to be ready to to archive my goals. Fortunately, as a runner I don't need many training facilities as you can run almost anywhere. I did strength training and flexibility exercises at home.
What are your goals for 2021?
My goal is to break my personal best again on the 3000m steeplechase. I will also be trying to defend my title as the reigning Belgian champion in this event. Further, I do like to go to the European Team Championships in Poland in June. My biggest dream is to participate in the Tokyo Olympics, but in order to do this I need a very good race.
You have specialised in steeplechase. But you also run cross country and road races. How does this affect your training?
In order to perform well in cross country races a lot of strength and stamina is needed. These races usually cover distances between five to seven kilometers, often on a muddy and hilly course. During my preparation for the cross country season I do longer intervals. The same is the case when I prepare for a 10k on the road. This kind of training is very beneficial for my performance in steeplechase. The extra strength and aerobic power I gain from training and racing cross country and roads helps me to run fast on the track in the summer month.
How often do you perform technique training such as drills or core/strength training?
A few times a week, after warming-up I do some technique exercises. Of course I also do some hurdle drills and exercises for hip mobility. On a daily basis I do some stretching and flexibility exercises. A few times a week I do core and stability training, but I never train with weights. The only tools I use frequently for my strength training are a theraband and loops. I think there isn’t one most important exercise for me.
What is your tip for becoming a faster runner?
There are several things to keep in mind. The most important thing is being patient. You have to listen to your body. Adjusting to training, especially harder workouts, takes time. You should increase volume and intensity carefully, step by step. Variation in training is also key to success. Implementing different kinds of paces and running on varying surfaces helps to become stronger. It is also more fun.
Cross training is also a good way to stay injury free. Some runs can be easily replaced by a workout on the bike. I also consider drills, and gym sessions as an important part to improve performance. This being said, no training can be beneficial without enough rest. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to take a day or two off when you feel really tired or something hurts. Finally a healthy and balanced diet is important as well.
For many people, the turn of the year means new resolutions, certainly including taking up sport/running again. What are your recommendations for those who are starting again?
First and foremost it is important to make sure to have the right equipment. Certainly the right shoes! You always should increase volume and intensity slowly. It can also be very helpful to follow a training schedule, tailored to your ability. Many runners tend to run too fast in the beginning, which often leads to frustration and sometimes even injury. It is also important to have a balanced and healthy diet. When you are overweight it’s better you do start-to-run with alternating running/walking. Get pleasure from running, so find a partner to last longer. Run in different locations.
For all those who do not run yet: Why should they start running?
Running is a great sport for different reasons. It can be done anywhere without a lot of equipment needed. A good pair of running shoes is all you need. The health benefits are huge. It can help with many civilisation diseases, it boosts the immune system and can also be very beneficial for the mindset. A run can really brighten up the day. When you feel stressed a run can be a big relief for this. I would say it can be a kind of therapy.
Especially with the pandemic right now, running is an ideal spot for almost everyone.
Since this year Newton Running is your shoe partner. Why did you choose Newton Running as your partner for 2021?
For me it is a huge motivation to have a brand like Newton Running as my shoe partner. I really like their shoes as they are light and responsive but still providing the right amount of cushioning for me. The ride is really unique and allows me to run in a natural from which I think helps me to be more efficient during my runs but also helps me to stay injury free. In the end this means I can train better and run faster. That's exactly what I want as an elite athlete.
Since I am really happy with Newton I do also recommend their shoes to other athletes.
Now a little bit about the private Eline. Besides being an athlete, competing on international level and working a full time job, you are also a mother to a five year old son. How do you manage the different aspects in your life?
That’s not self-evident of course. Luckily I have good people around me who help me to stay with my son when I go to practise. Wherefor I’m thankful.
Do you have any time left for hobbies at all?
I do work in ambulant care about 30 hours a week. So if I’m honest, I don't really have time for specific hobbies. But of course I like doing things with friends or with my son. I do also try to combine things, like training together with friends or going to the swimming pool with my son.
If you had one wish, what would it be?
That I can go to the Olympics :-D
Eline, thank you very much for this interview! We are very happy to start a sporty 2021 with you!