What is this about?

Background

I started with triathlon in 2011. Out of the three disciplines running was clearly my weakest one. Having transitioned from triathlon to swimrun in 2015 I now have almost given up swimming in 2017, but only for now. Why? Well, I wanted to strengthen my running, become a better runner and time unfortunately is a scarce resource, thus focusing entirely on running makes sense to me.

In the spring of 2016 together with my friend Benjamin, an experienced runner and my swimrun partner, we came up with the idea (first it was joke) that we should organise a training camp, preferably abroad. And since we were both born in Switzerland it was a rather easy choice to have our first training camp there. Luckily and maybe even because Benjamin’s relatives have a cabin in the Bernese Oberland picking a spot was a no brainer.

Training camp

What exactly is a training camp you may ask yourself? For me there is no one clear definition. You could probably summarise it as a 1. definite period of time spent in a 2. defined location focusing on a 3. specific area of choice. In our case that will be 1. three consecutive days of 3. trail running in 2. the Bernese Oberland. The objective of this training camp is of course to improve my running, physical strengthening, running real mountains and not least to enjoy the magnificent views this specific region has to offer.

All in all our planned route involves about 98 km of trail running with a tad shy of 8k elevation.

Where exactly?

We will travel by plane from Helsinki to Zurich and continue by train via Bern to Interlaken and by other means of public transportation to Mürren. Running will be on three days, starting the next day after arriving.

Our first leg will be from Interlaken to Brienz over Hardergrat, some 32 kilometres with roughly 3k elevation.

Route map for Interlaken-Brienz by Benjamin Allemand on plotaroute.com

Our second leg will bring us from Brienz over Faulhorn to Wilderswil from where we proceed to Mürren by public transportation, some 38 kilometres with roughly 2,7k elevation.

Route map for Brienz – Wilderswil 38k / 2733m by Sasa Tkalcan on plotaroute.com

Our third and last leg will lead us up to Schilthorn and back to Mürren around Saustal, some 28 kilometres with roughly 2,2k elevation.

Route map for Mürren -Schilthorn-Saustal-Allmendhubel by Benjamin Allemand on plotaroute.com

All in all our planned route involves about 98 kilometers of trail running with a tad shy of 8k elevation.

Preparation

Such a project requires some preparation, it is no Sunday afternoon walk in the park. But having had well over a year to plan this trip I think we have been able to consider and appreciate the most important aspects.

Physical

According to my polar flow log I have run 2034 km from August 2016 to July 2017, compared to 863,5 km one year before (August 15 to July 16). What’s probably more important is the amount of elevation climbed, that figure although I was not able to extract too easily. Now Finland and especially the capital region is rather flat. In Helsinki there are a few landfills and ski jumping hills that very popular among trail runners as they are the only option to gather elevation. But of course it is quite a mind job – just to get to 1k uphill you have to climb a 35m hill 33 times, it’s just insane. So here I am not entirely sure I am prepared well enough for a 3k climb on the first day alone, but it is no race and we do not have to push hard.

Psychological

This is quite a question mark. I have not been thinking about the running in the mountain itself. I feel confident, full of expectation and eager to hit the trails. But what happens on the trail I cannot forsee. I have accomplished a full distance triathlon and am very optimistic that this very experience carries me if needed, that I can draw from those memories to go on.

Gear

As you can imagine this plays an important role. The shoe is probably the single most important piece of equipment and I have been trying out three different shoes for this trip. The first model was too narrow, as was the second which I only noticed after three to four runs. The third one now seems to be toe bow wise perfect. And yet I had to bring it back because the sole’s front slugs were already worn off after 120 km.
During the whole year I have been looking for gear in sale. I am not a sponsered runner (by any sports brands that is) and since trail running and alpine gear is costy looking for sales items is the only option to get quality stuff.  Proper gear involves such products as the mentioned shoe, technical running clothes and rain protection – moreover warm midlayers, spare clothes, water, food and all this stuffed into an adequate running backpack. On top I will bring along my camera and the handheld gimbal.