Swiss 800m record holder Selina Buchel shares her best pieces of training, competition and lifestyle advice.

Championship tip

Have fun at the major championships and enjoy the sport, because we have to remember it is like a game. I love it! It is very important when you are in a big competition you are happy to be there. 

I probably first learned this when the 2014 European Championships were in my home nation of Switzerland in the city of Zurich. Before the championship, I didn’t know whether I was able to compete on my best level because of all the emotions of the event. But I prepared my mind before the competition and said to myself ‘enjoy it and be yourself’.

Tactical tip

The most important thing [in the 800m] is to run only 800m! Stay as close as possible to the inside lane.

In my first big championship [the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships] in Sopot my only real chance was to run on the inside lane because I was one of the slowest athletes in the field. Using these tactics, I made the final! Now because I am in better shape I have more tactical options [Selina finished fourth in the 800m final in Sopot].

Psychological tip

I see my athletics career as a progression. Every experience is useful for the future. If you have a bad competition, it is important to focus on the next one. The main goal is to improve and get better.

Top coaching tip

I think the most important thing for a coach is not only to physically prepare an athlete, but to prepare the mind as well. I need this boost to know my coach is filling me with self-confidence before a big competition.

Tip for surviving the athletics circuit 

I’m very lucky to live in Switzerland because we have so many good meets here. I would say the top tip is to make sure you always have a snack with you. As runners we eat a lot, but there are so many waiting times at airports or waiting for a bus, it is always important to have food at hand.

Selina Buchel wins the 2017 European Indoor Championships (Getty Images)

Cooking tip

I really love cooking and I like to cook with seasonal and fresh products – everything in my fridge from vegetables, tofu, chicken or beef. At the moment, I like to add coconut milk. I really like this taste in curries.

Top parental tip

They are very positive people and this is something they have passed on to me from childhood. They express everything in a very positive way. If I say ‘I can’t do this’, they say ‘yes, you can’. This is embedded deeply in my mind. I always try to see the positive side.

Fashion tip 

It is nice to wear comfortable shoes because as a runner we need to use our feet. They have to do a lot of work for us.

Driving tip

It is important to focus on the street and not on the smart phone. In Switzerland, it is also good if you don’t drive too fast because the speeding tickets are very expensive.

Vacation tip

I really love to go to the Ticino in the southern part of Switzerland. It is an Italian speaking part to the country and my family have a small house there. I really like to go swimming in the lake or hiking in the mountains or just relax. I have many good memories of this place.

Social media tip

Don’t post something that you are not. Remember to be yourself.

Dating tip

In every relationship, it is important to have time together.