The Swiss Canyon Trail race was my first goal race for 2021 (see my race calendar here). I was excited about running a race in the Jura, about getting the season started, and I thought that my fitness was in a great place to start racing again. I prepared well over the winter and I had done a few runs over the race course so I knew exactly what was coming.
In the race I ran a steady pace all day and I followed my race plan carefully. I ate well, paced myself well, and I finished feeling strong. However, in reflection and with the perspective of seeing how the others ran, I believe that I was far too conservative and that I didn't run a race that reflected my fitness or my potential on this course. Looking back I realize that I approached the race as a "mountain ultra" while I should have approached it as a "marathon with a climb". Rather than going through the race step by step, in this report I'm going to note what went well and what I could improve on.
Things that went well:
- I ran consistently in the HR zone I had planned for the race.
- I managed my intensity carefully to follow my plan.
- I ran a steady and fast pace on the flats and descents.
- I achieved my nutrition goals of eating 90-100g/hr.
- I hydrated well.
- I knew the route from running it in training and that helped with managing my effort.
- I had a positive attitude all the way.
Things that I could have done better:
- I should have had a far more aggressive race plan.
- I should have aimed for higher HR goals at key points in the race.
- I should have worn less clothing given the high intensity of the race.
- I should have taken less equipment and gear with me.
- I should have raced at least once before this race (not possible this year).
There's still plenty of races left in the season so I can improve and work on all of these things. The first race of the season is often a chance to calibrate and establish where I am at and this happened again in 2021.
The good news is that I had a great time racing again and I'm positive and excited about the races I have ahead of me. It's fantastic to be back to a nearly normal running season!
|The highlight of the route, Creux du Van, wasn't visible in the fog.|
|Running past the Cascade de Môtiers at 45km.|
|Almost at the finish running in Couvet.|
Race result:5 June 2021