Swiss Canyon Trail - Switzerland - 2021 - 58th

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
58th place

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