RUN RUN RUN …1000 meters towards Heaven

Gaining 1000 meters vertically in one single mountain run, that was one of my highlights in January. Hard physical training paid off earlier than expected. 🙂

Trailrunning with all its facets is a good training for the Red Bull X-alps. Long distances over wild terrain, sometimes on good paths, sometimes on small and rocky trails, up and down mountains and everything as fast as possible. Having such skills is a solid basis for Hike’n’Fly competitions also.

What/who was my inspiration?

  • Podcast “Vitamin Berge”: vitaminberge.de
  • numerous photos of aufi_aufn_berg, who’s posting regularly photos of her runs around her area.
  • each of the trailrunners who I have seen running up mount Rigi.

What is trailrunning? And which forms of trailrunning exist?

Trailrunning is not defined exactly but often seen as (long) distance running on wild paths. That means running into the woods, on small trails, over rocks and mountains…. Although it’s not an Olympic discipline yet, there are numerous trailrunning competitions, in these three categories mainly:

  1. SPEED TRAIL
    relatively short competitions. Character: speed, you go as fast as you can. Typical distance: 10-30 km
  2. SKYRUNNING
    Equal to speed trail, but instead of just making distance as fast as you can, the idea here is to gain altitude as fast as possible. Charakter: speed, on steep terrain (up to 50%) and at least more than 1000 meters uphill. Special Variation: Ultrasky.
  3. ULTRATRAIL
    Trailrunning competition for long distances. Character: > 50 km (often between 100 km – 200 km, there’s no upper limit)

When should you begin trailrunning?
Now! Or later! But at least today! Because there’s no reason not to go “off-road” on your next run. Or make some altitude. A few meters are enough for really getting out of breath the first time.

What do you need for trailrunning?
Actually you don’t need much, some GTX shoes maybe, or even lightweight hiking shoes (I prefer these on mud). If it’s dry you can also use normal running shoes. Special trailrunning shoes fit the requirements the best of course, e.g. with few mm extra heel to toe. The rest of the equipment should be as light as possible.

How can I improve?
For me trail running is not my main sport, it should just help to meet my Hike’n’Fly targets. So I simply adjusted some ideas from my flying strategies:

  1. Having fun
    I don’t HAVE TO run. For my purpose walking/hiking would be enough.
  2. Start from scratch and increase only step by step
    – At the beginning I started with a hill of 100 meter altitude gain. Right next to our house there’s a small hill with the castle of Lenzburg on it. It was often part of my running course.
    – Then 200 meter. A hill with a watch tower on it. It’s also near my home and was soon part of my running course.

    – Then 400 meter. At this point my ambition for trail running startet. Since Jan 1st I’m been running up the “Gisliflue” regularly.

    – Then 2 x 400 meter. As I don’t have better options around here I had to double my runs up to the “Gisliflue”.
  3. Keep on going.
    Hang in there! No break. No stop. Just run. For paragliding that means “Never go landing. Only who stays up in the air, can fly long distances.” For running these basic skills like “endurance” or “stamina” are very equal. I would say the physical strain of trail running is about one third higher than running on flat and well prepared courses.
  4. Run more complex courses
    Not only altitude gain helps you develop your trail running skills, but also diverse terrain: from stones until serious rock faces (where you use also your hands), from sand to mud, from dry forests to deep snow.
  5. Run efficiently
    Ergonomically, with less power, lightweight and faster, faster, faster… Eating at the right time, walking at the right time… The combination of all those factors makes it complex.

What is my trail running goal?
Currently it still is “to run one time on top of Mt. Rigi”. From bottom to top. 1300 meters difference. No break. No stop
… But maybe I’ve got to set more ambitious goals soon. We will see 😉

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