2016 In Review: My Personal Running Year

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The beginning of a new year is always an opportunity to view back on the past year. I want to do this with this post and share all the running related stuff that was going on in 2016. I consider 2016 as not the best year when it comes to the state of the world, political developments and my everyday job. But running made it a good one at last.

So let’s dig right in!

The Races

In 2016 I planned to participate in three events, all at least marathon distance. I started with a mostly flat marathon in spring and then went upwards. In summer I ran a 45km race in the Swiss alps that went up to an altitude of 10,000ft (3,100m) above sea level. The last race was my first ultra marathon, a 60k event also in southern Switzerland. Here’s how they went:

Aargau Marathon

On a cold and rainy May 1st I started at the first marathon event since 1.5 years. Although this was a flat marathon it featured some steep but short uphill sections. I struggled a bit in the first half but had an awesome time in the second. It was actually my first marathon where I was able to run a faster second half. It was also my fastest marathon with a finish time of 3:32. It’s great that I was able to strip 15 minutes of my current personal best. But it’s even better to see that finally I was able to implement my race plan on race day!

Read more: My Best Marathon So Far

Zermatt Gornergrat Marathon

If you know Switzerland you might know the Matterhorn, probably the most famous mountain in Europe. So I was looking forward to run in such a spectacular scenery. On the 45km it went mostly uphill from an altitude of 3,600ft (1,100m) up to 10,200ft (3,100m). Due to bad weather I didn’t see the top third of the Matterhorn but I had a blast on this mountain trail marathon. I finished in a bit more than 6 hours.

Read more: Mountain Happiness: Zermatt Marathon 2016 

Le Défi du Jubilée

This was probably the smallest event I participated in. Around 100 runners from all over the world started at 7am to this 60km (37.3 miles) race with 2,500m (8,200ft) of altitude change positive and downhill. I was at the front of the runners during the first uphill section but needed to let a few runners pass on the first steep downhill. It was pretty tough to keep running on the last 10k that was mostly flat and I changed walking and running all the time. In total this was a great experience running my first ultra on beautiful trails on a perfect day.

Read more: Just Finished My First Ultra Trail 

The Training

I started the year with my usual training pattern, a long run on Mondays (my day off), a shorter but faster run mid-week and a short run on weekends. I actually planned to do 4 runs each week but didn’t manage to do it. So towards the marathon in spring I trained 3 times each week with a maximum of 60k (37 miles) per week. I also did regular strength exercises to strengthen my core and of course stretching 2-3 times a week.

After the marathon I switched the fast runs and interval training sessions mid-week with hill workouts. I usually ran up the nearest hill and back down again. Also I’ve added some hill sections into my long runs and tried to run a bit more on technical trails. All this of course to prepare for the terrain on the two trail races later in the year. My mileage didn’t go up in these months but the elevation gain and the intensity did.

After the Zermatt Marathon I’ve added even more up- and downhills into my long run. I’ve ended up doing a 35km (22 miles) with around 1,500m (4,500 ft) of altitude gain. And another, faster but shorter hill run. After the races I did train a little bit but took it more or less easy in November and December.

Chet out my Strava review video of my training in 2016 below:

The Blog

Another running related thing that was happening in 2016 is this blog. I decided last summer to start a blog where I share my thoughts on running and try to motivate people to start running and help them along the way to awesome running experiences. Writing a blog itself is an interesting thing to do and I like many aspects of it. It’s pretty hard at the beginning trying to attract some audience but positive comments and increasing page views keep me motivated. I try to improve this blog piece by piece and always appreciate your feedback! If you want a specific topic covered here just drop me a mail at info@therunningmate.run.

In the meantime it would be a great help if you’d shared this blog or some posts you like with your friends and running buddies 🙂

My Plan For 2017

After looking back I’d like to do a short outlook into what’s up this year. I plan to do three mountain trail races all between 55 and 61km and 2,500 and 4,000m of elevation gain. A first in July and again the one I did last year in October. I’ll also participate in the lottery to get into the OCC race at the UTMB week in Chamonix. I really hope I get picked to run this event otherwise I’ll have to look out for another event to do in August or September.

As far as training I’ll try to do stuff more or less the same as ever but increase my mileage a bit more and add a fourth run each week. Also strength training will play a bigger role as I want to prepare even better for technical trail races in the mountains. I also try to improve my diet as my current chocolate addiction doesn’t help that much 🙂

And of course I’ll keep improving and writing on this blog.

So what are your running goals in 2017 and what did you learn and experience last year? Let us know in the comments section below.

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