So, dear readers, this is the final installment of this interview :) The first part can be found here. Thanks to the wonderful Lana, who has the original and who has kindly agreed to translate the remaining part, we all can enjoy the rest of the interview. I have to say that some answers made me laugh out loud! Lahm certainly has a good sense of humor. And I love these types of interviews. In other words, I like when people actually ask him something interesting. The more diverse the questions, the better. (Not that I mind the usual kind, of course.)
***Philipp Lahm In An Exclusive Interview*** (continued)
By Alex Steudel, the Editor in Chief
Do you remember your most extreme, borderline experience?
One was definitely in the semi-final against Italy at the World Cup in 2006. The match has already been going for over 120 min, and just 4 days before that, in the quarterfinals against Argentina, we played for 120 min plus the penalty shootout. Then you lose this game shortly before the end of the overtime – and immediately comes this unbelievable fatigue. The dream is crushed, you are broken, everything is over.
And all of the drudgery for nothing! In fact, during a training session, is running fun for you?
I would like to neatly switch to the topic of a marathon.
(laughs) I have to say that running a marathon is already a nightmare for me.
Then the long runs in the summer and winter training should be a nightmare for you.
No, we don’t have them anymore. Earlier, during the preparation, we always had long runs; sometimes we just had to run for an hour. Today, though, we don’t do those during the preparation.
Yes, even during a match, we don’t run the whole 90 min at the same pace. Why should we practice that during our training sessions? While training, it makes more sense to raise your pulse, then to lower it, and raise it again. Just like one does during a match. For that reason, today’s training has become more specific, football-specific. For example, we do more small movements and games. 5 times for 3 min, 2 times for 6 min, and so on. We also run, but those are rather sprints that are followed by a 3 min run. 45 min with a constant tempo just doesn’t exist anymore; also during the preparation for the European Championship, that kind of runs doesn’t take place.
Sounds interesting. What was your longest endurance run since last summer?
A continuous one?
20, 25 min maximum. While training, we run but, perhaps, 5 min at a high speed, and other exercises come in between. After that, again 5 min at a high speed, and so on.
So, as I understand, in the last 12 months you haven’t run continuously for longer than 25 min?
Precisely. We practice the exact same way we play football.
Are there any exercises that you really don’t like? [The ones] during which you think, “Oh God, not again!”
Of course. For example, warm-ups without the ball. I know that they are needed in order to warm up, but when there is no ball, it’s annoying; one must say that. Yes, I do the exercises, giving my 100%, but just because they are needed. For me, it is way more fun to play 4 on 4, or 5 on 5. Practicing shooting goals. Crosses. I like everything that has to do with the ball because it makes sense to me.
Has the way you train changed a lot since you became a professional?
A lot. For example, the warm-ups. Today we do warm-ups for 5-10 min before each training. Back then it was different.
Back then, in the Stone Age?
No, it was like that at Bayern when I came back from playing at Stuttgart (2005; Anm. d. Red). One never did any warm-ups at the time. One would just run onto the pitch and play 5 against 2.
Back then Felix Magath was the coach. And earlier in the Bundesliga, there were still jackknife exercises. Today everything seems modern and scientific. What triggered the change, what was the turning point?
I cannot speak for other Bundesliga clubs. In the National Team, the modern training was definitely brought by (the head coach) Jürgen Klinsmann. Definitely. With more discipline and everything.
In the meantime, the data that is measured belongs to the scientific side of the sport. Do you know yours?
Yes. For example, I know my resting heart rate and my maximum heart rate because our training is based on this data.
With regard to the resting heart rate, one should know the following: ours is measured during the day and not after waking up. It (mine) is somewhere around 70. That is relatively high! To measure the maximum heart rate we do the following things: we do a sprint of 20 meters at full speed! Then we trot back, then again sprinting at full speed, then trotting back. A total of 11 times. As a result, my pulse is about 185. Next, we run for three minutes non-stop, make a two-minute pause, and start all over again. After the third round, the pulse goes over 200. My maximum heart rate is somewhere between 206 and 210. That’s football-specific training.
Sounds modern, but not a lot of fun. You are probably in no danger when you want to go for a private run in the forest.
No. I love football, but I hate to run. I am eager to find out if, after the end of my career, I will voluntary run. Or, I will play tennis, I always have fun when playing.
And there you also have a goal.
What else do you like to do?
I like to ski. I would say that I am a very regular free time skier. That’s how I keep fit during the winter. What I find interesting is this: once I was with a friend, who had previously been on the National Team, he skied the whole downhill run in one piece; I was behind him, and then my thighs began to really burn. One should think that we, as football players, are used to putting stress on our thighs, but skiing is a totally different workload. It’s the exact same story when I ride the bike.
I’ve read that you also do Yoga.
Yes, with my wife.
Is that fun?
She, too, has asked me that once, and I answered, “An hour of playing tennis would’ve been more fun for me.” Nevertheless, I do it anyway, I’ve even taken classes. I do it because I know that it’s good for the body. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m the one who rather needs a little bit of action.
Is there at least a Yoga exercise that you like?
“The sleeping child” is divine because one just has to lay there. (laughs) And a good method to warm yourself up is the salutation to the sun. When you know how it works, then it’s very effective: stretching, and energy, strength come with that. Sweating.
How fun is the preparation for the European Championship? People always talk about moments when they don’t know what to do with themselves [with their free time]. What do you do the whole time outside of training?
Read, watch TV shows, play cards. At the DFB, everything is there, you have many choices. And you always sit with others players. Often, at the 4 physiotherapists’ [place] who have their own room. That’s where some of the players are treated, and others just sit around and about; and, of course, people always chat. Nowadays, the physiotherapists’ room is actually a big meeting point in the National Team.
And what do you read? Romance novels, nonfiction?
A thriller. Or, something short. Recently, I’ve read “Mord in Garmisch” (“Murder in Garmisch”). You really need everything. Thick volumes, small nonfiction books.
Which authors do you prefer?
Nothing specific. I’ve read a lot of works by Baldacci. It is often my wife who helps me to browse, or simply just finds something for me.
And which TV shows?
I’ve already seen many of them: from “Two and a Half Man” to the shows about the mafia, like “Sopranos”. [I] have seen all of the episodes of “24”. Now, for the European Championship, I need to find myself something new. Perhaps “Breaking Bad”. I really watch the complete shows.
So, no “locker room fever” (restlessness)? [The note: moments when you have nothing to do, and it drives you crazy]
No, it has really changed at the DFB. During the EURO 2004 in Portugal, for example, it was different. At that time, there was nothing. Nothing. There is a lot more to do now. Even when it comes to eating, it is always considered that one doesn’t eat only [solely] warm food. There is usually a snack somewhere in between.
Is nutrition an important topic for you? Do you like to cook?
Nah. I like to eat, I like to go out to eat. I know that one shouldn’t eat a roasted pork with some fat sauce each week and, in addition to that, a dumpling. But you know what? When I have an appetite for it, then I order a roasted pork, or my wife makes one.
Last question: Have you already thought of what you might do after the end of your career?
I haven’t thought about it yet. I just know that in some way I will remain loyal to football. That being said, I believe not as a coach because then one has to be away from home every weekend, and I prefer to stay at home. On the other hand, who knows… In any case, it is already insightful that I don’t know any coach who would say that being a coach is a better job than being a footballer. (laughs)
(translation ©Lana. It is strictly forbidden to use this translation without the consent of its author.)
I, personally, laughed so hard when he talked about yoga exercises. I already knew he was practicing it, but his answer was very witty. Loved it. And the food, of course :)
As to his future plans, I remember him talking about being interested in tactics, etc., and even in this interview, he still does not rule out the possibility of being a coach. So, there is hope… for me :) On the other hand, he definitely emphasized one more time how much his home means to him. Philipp, maybe the Minister of Sport?