skip to Main Content

Curious about Viktoria Johnsson


We went to Kalmar to meet our colleague Viktoria Johnsson. The conversation began with common topics, but it soon turned to working out, and her passion for triathlon. It didn’t take long before we realised that Viktoria lives her life in a completely different way than most of us.

Hi Viktoria, first of all can you tell us what you do at Jacobi?

I work as an accountant in the finance department. There are four of us working in teams, five with Johanna who is the office manager, she also is part of the finance team.

How long have you worked with us?

I started in May 2018, so it will be two and a half years. The time has passed very quickly.

What did you do before?

I worked as a bank clerk for eight years, then I handled finance for a family business before I started here. I have not worked for that many different employers.

Name: Viktoria Johnsson

Occupation: Accountant

Family: Daughter, 22, and son, 21

Sport: Triathlon

Hours of training / week: 10–20

Ironman Events: 28

Number of marathons: 109

So Jacobi can expect to keep you for many years to come…

Ha-ha, yes one can hope so.

What attracted you to begin working at Jacobi?

I thought it seemed like an exciting company when I was here for an interview. Above all it was the people that I met, I immediately felt that I wanted to be here. It really is like that, it’s a great atmosphere between everyone and that makes you feel at home. It’s a really good bunch.

The head office is located in Kalmar, what functions are situated in Kalmar? How many of you work there?

If I have counted correctly, there are 22 of us in the office. All company functions are here, except for manufacturing, which is located abroad. Finance, HR, indoor sales staff for the Swedish market and some who are mostly outside, logistics, supply chain and customer service.

What is Kalmar like as a city to live in?

Currently I don’t live in Kalmar but in Mönsterås, which is located 45 km north. But I grew up in Kalmar. Kalmar is a very nice city, a little smaller, with proximity to the water and with a lot of sporting activities.

So you commute 45 km to and from work every day?

Exactly, when in season, there are many bike rides…

The goal for all triathletes is the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

You ride your bike to work, 45 km?

I sometimes take the bike in the car one day, take the bus the next day and then ride my bike home the following day. There is no shower here at the office, otherwise I would have cycled to work as well.

So it’s not the distance that prevents you from cycling 90 km back and forth, it’s just that there is no shower available?

Yeah, that’s it really.

This is where we realise Viktoria’s dedication to fitness means she does not really live like other people.

We know you have an interest that some may find a bit extreme, you enter Ironman events. Are you a little crazy? You participated in 25 Ironman events, is that so?

No, it’s actually 28.

So 28 times you have swam 3.8 km, cycled 180 km, and run a marathon of 42 km. Is that really all? Do you not train for anything else?

Ironman is what I mainly do, but I have run 109 marathons as well, ha-ha. And countless Vättern rounds (cycling 300 km around the Swedish lake Vättern) and Vasaloppet (skiing 90 km).

Tired but happy. The medal is mine and now I have run 100 marathons.

It sounds like you don’t have any major leisure time problems. When and how did your fascination with Ironman begin?

It really started when the first competition at Ironman distances was arranged here in Kalmar in 1994. At that time I had only ridden a short triathlon distance, but I followed that race and said that “next year I will try”. So in 1995 I was on the starting line as the only female in the competition among about 80 starters.

So that was your first Ironman, have you done competitions in other different places?

Yes I have, I have not done all Kalmar races, I held up for a few years when I had my children, but I have done many in Kalmar. Then I joined the Kalmar Triathlon club and we have travelled abroad to compete.

Where have you been and competed?

The goal for all triathletes is to qualify for Hawaii, which is the World Cup for Ironman, and that has been my goal as well. So in 2010 we were a group that was in Frankfurt and competed, and it was 40 degrees hot, swimming without a wetsuit. I thought the swimming went well, so when I finished swimming I was almost alone in the ladies dressing tent, and once I got to the finish line it turned out that I had finished second in my age group and there were four places that year to Hawaii, so then I realised I had qualified for Hawaii.

“I love to swim in the ocean but in the wintertime I have to go inside.”

And of course you went there?

Yes, I went there in 2010. And 20... I don’t remember, I have been to Hawaii four times and competed. And qualified a few times but declined.

How is that competition compared to others, a completely different thing or?

Yes, the conditions are really extreme, both with the heat and humidity and it’s an extremely hilly bike path and very windy. If you compare, the competition in Kalmar is child’s play. But all the big stars are there, so it’s a real folk festival.

Over the years, what mental challenges have you gone through when it comes to what you do?

I had a period before I qualified for Hawaii for the first time which was a bit daunting, had some injuries and thought about quitting, but when I qualified, I became motivated again. It has gone a bit in waves. At the same time, it’s a lifestyle, I enjoy this, all this training.

Do you have a low season sometimes when you lie on the couch and take it easy?

Of course, I plan the year after the competition season, so now it’s a bit low season and half as much training as otherwise.

How much is that?

Now it will be about 10–12 hours a week…

Not more..?  

No, but during the competition season it will be well up to 20 hours per week.

“Kalmar Castle, best possible view for a run.”

And you have three disciplines to train and improve all the time.

Yes, there are things to improve all the time, but I’m probably pretty even in all disciplines. I have periods where I cycle or swim more, now that it’s colder and I have gone into the pool, there will be a little more swimming.

Where do you swim when you exercise, both in the sea and in the pool?

Yes, I live right by the sea, so it’s 100 metres down to the training area. I have a small jetty where I walk in and then I swim to the ferry terminal along the beach. One lap is two km and before the competition there will be two laps, so it will be a reasonable round of four km. Preferably early in the morning when there is not much boat traffic. I am not very visible when I am in the water in a wetsuit, swimming.

How do you stay away from injuries when you have been doing this for as long as you have? And not getting any younger either.

You now notice how much more important it becomes with stretching and strength training where you build yourself up. And recovery above all, that you do not neglect it if you feel worn out. Over the years, I have learned and can sense things early and have to adapt. But if I get injured, there is always something that I can do to continue training. If I have a running injury, I can always swim, so it’s possible to keep going quite a bit and come back faster.

The winter in Sweden can be quite cold and tough to train outdoors, how do you handle it?

I don’t like the workouts where I have to train indoors, run on a treadmill and ride a training bike, I want to go outside.

“Me and my Argon.”

Do you go to the gym and cycle or do you cycle at home in the winter?

I cycle at home, using a training program called Zwift. It’s an app that lets me connect and cycle on a track and compete against others.

It must require a certain type of willpower, you sit and cycle at home, for how long then?

I have probably gone for four hours at the least, but it’s not something I recommend, it will be very long. Otherwise, there will only be a 1–1½ hour session on the bike. On the weekend, if I can get out, it will be 2–4 hours on a regular session.

You train a lot, but you’re used to it. It would probably affect your job if you were just sitting at home.

I know that I am more alert if I have been in the swimming pool before I come to work. It can be hard when the alarm rings, but it’s just a matter of being decisive and getting up. I usually have a workout before work, swimming, or a calmer workout, it’s difficult to do quality running in the morning.

So when do you get up in the morning?

About 04:30 to 05:00. And then I swim or run for an hour, then I’m showered and changed at 08:00, when we start in the office here.


Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consisting of a 3.86 km (2.4-mile) swim, a 180.25 km (112-mile) bicycle ride and a marathon 42.20 km(26.22-mile) run, raced in that order. It is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.


And so you run after work too?

Yes, usually there will be one then as well. And on the weekends when there is more time, there will be a long-distance run and one by bike.

How long then?

Well, now when it’s cold it will be 2–4 hours. In the summer longer, often 5–6 hours in any case.

What about your diet, is it possible to live like this without being aware of what you eat?

Before competitions, I am very careful with the diet, I am always careful about what I put inside me. It’s very important to eat quickly after a workout to refuel. It takes quite a bit of food, I can say, ha-ha.

What do you do when you are not working at Jacobi? In addition to exercising 20 hours a week.

I have two children, four cats, read a lot and spend a lot of time in nature.

You sit still sometimes and read, so you are able to do that?

I think it’s very nice sometimes, to just take it easy and read. And it’s probably all the time spent training outdoors that has turned me into a lover of nature. I love to be outdoors otherwise, even when I am not training.

Thanks to Viktoria for joining us for this interview, hopefully it gives some of our readers inspiration to get out there and get active.

Back To Top