In 2021, I shared an extensive season review that outlined my goals for the upcoming season. These included participating in short, early-season races, optimizing my in-season training, and meticulously preparing for the specific environmental factors in races. Successfully addressing some of these objectives in 2022, my review for that year emphasized my satisfaction with improved performance in short races and swimrun events. After considering my progress over the previous two years, I set about planning for the 2023 season. The plan for the year included shorter races to begin the season, it incorporated new and more challenging swimrun competitions, and I limited myself to only a couple of ultramarathons to manage overall physical demand.
Early season preparatory races
During the winter, I engaged in intensive training sessions, strategically incorporating shorter races to help maintain my speed and motivation during the base training phase. I opted to compete in some 5km to 10km races, which would help me to prioritise track training sessions without compromising the consistency and volume in my overall training plan.
Despite usually being in the middle of base training during cross-country race season, I always try to fit in some cross country races because they are so much fun. XC Riviera, just a few kilometers from home, was the easiest to include this yar. I chose the shortest distance, ran it at the end of a long week of training, and came in second. The competition wasn't very deep, but I still enjoyed the fact that I came second in the Championnat Vaudois!
In the 2022 race, I set out to support my goal of running some shorter, faster races at the beginning of the season. I had not expected such a competitive field in 2022, but I was pleasantly surprised by the event's intensity. This year, armed with better preparation, my goal was to run faster than my previous year's performance, which I managed to do by running almost a minute faster. The timing and competition of this event mean that it fits into my early season well, and I plan to participate again in 2024 with the aim of achieving an even faster time.
After the 10km race in Payerne, I wanter to run another fast road race and I found Traine-Savates on the calendar. Despite challenging weather conditions and an unexpectedly demanding route, the race unfolded with me running alongside another athlete for the first four kilometers. While I wasn't as strong as I needed to be on a hill in the final kilometer when he pulled away, the race provided invaluable lessons for my future preparations. Additionally, receiving a substantial prize hamper, including local products, added to the overall positive experience.
The focus of my trail racing season was on shorter races, an ultramarathon in the Engadin valley, and the Wildstrubel 70km. During the season I had a couple of setbacks such as adjusting my expectations at the Engadin Ultra Trail and an injury preventing participation in the Wildstrubel race. Nevertheless, the season was enjoyable and successful and the races I did compete in solidified my preference for shorter trail races over ultramarathons in the coming years.
Another revisit from 2022 (race report here), the Saillon race served as a testing ground for my early-season form. Achieving sufficient vertical gain in winter training can be challenging, but this race provided the necessary motivation and a familiar training route in the weeks leading up to the race. Running a steady threshold effort, I felt consistently strong, showing some progress compared to 2022 and setting a positive tone for the upcoming trail races.
Running in the Jura during autumn and spring has always been some of my favorite times of the season. The more rolling and runnable trails, compared to the steep terrain in the Alps, make for a slightly different stimulus which I enjoy. After a surprisingly hard start and some initial doubts about my preparation on the first climb, I gradually regained momentum along the top section of the course and on the second climb, and ultimately I finished strongly. The final descent turned into a sprint, as I almost caught 2nd place who I could see for the last 10 to 15 minutes of the race. It was a lot of fun and a strong time on that route.
This was a fun race that V and I did together in our first week in the Engadin valley. It was a chance to adapt a bit more to the altitude and to see a new place (Pontresina). We had a great time and enjoyed the route a lot on a beautiful day.
Initially planning to participate in the 55km ultramarathon, I adjusted to a shorter race due to sore legs after ÖTILLÖ Engadin. Although I wasn't in peak condition, I pushed hard and savored the route, which had been obscured by clouds and fog during my reconnaissance. I loved going all out and had a great time.
This is a race I have wanted to do for a long time. With our trip to the Engadin valley in the summer and an ultramarathon planned for September, this was the first year that it would fit in the calendar and it was the 50th anniversary of the race which made it even more special. Sierre Zinal lived up to everything I have ever heard about it: it was super hard, the route was spectacular, and there was so many people out on the trail cheering and supporting. I had a smile all day long and loved it. I plan to go back every year!
|Jura Swiss Trail.
In my second season of swimrun races, I aimed to challenge myself against top athletes. I decided to go to Sweden to race ExSwimRun and to take on ÖTILLÖ Engadin in the World Series category. The other races that came up during the year were organic opportunities to race more. This season progressed so well from my introduction to the sport in 2022, I had such good times and experiences, that now swimrun races will be my primary goals for 2024.
To up my game in swimrun races, I competed in the Supersprint event against strong seasoned athletes. The format and hard, fast racing were amazing. Although pleased with my performance, I learned valuable lessons about pacing over the three races.
The day after Supersprint, Markus and I raced ExLong together. Racing with a partner other than V for the first time, we had a good day, pushing ourselves hard and securing second place.
This ÖTILLÖ race was one of my main priorities for the season. The race suited me with a higher percentage of running to swimming, with technical trails and climbs, and that it would be at altitude. V and I spent a couple of weeks in the area prior to the race and I was able to learn the route and adapt well to the altitude. I had a fantastic race and did one of my best performances of the season here. I was very happy to be with the leading athletes throughout the day and to win the men's solo category. I was invited to return in 2024 and I will be going back and planning to go even faster.
V and I decided to participate in Gothenburg after a canceled race in France. Racing in the archipelago with tough entries and exits into the sea and cold water, it was challenging but fun. As a team we did a great job and we were consistent in our pacing and pushing all the way to the finish. This was another great experience and racing together in new places is something we want to do again next year.
Going to the World Championships was a long-term goal that was just small spark in my mind. When Markus asked me to join him it was an instant and very easy decision to say yes. I enjoyed the whole event and it exceeded all the expectations that I had. Unfortunately during the race I fell and injured myself which caused us to stop the race. Even though my race didn't go the way I hoped, this is the number one race I want to do again and I plan to get back as soon as possible.
|OtillO World Championships.
Overall, I am pleased with my season and the progress made in swimrun races. With six podium results in 13 races, I competed at my best. Iconic races like Sierre Zinal and the ÖTILLÖ World Championships were amazing experiences. While I would have liked to end the season on a stronger note, I accept that sports involve risks, and my willingness to take chances means there will be inevitable setbacks. Looking back on this season makes me proud, and I am excited about the improvements and focused racing plan I have for next year.
Next year I have some improvements to make and a plan to race with more focus. In terms of improvement, I still need to find the right approach to transition from my base training and winter routine into a more consistent and progressive racing season routine. I would also like to improve my speed on longer, flat races and take that to swimrun events and Sierre Zinal in 2024. I will focus on running a road marathon in spring, some ÖTILLÖ world series races in the summer, and then hopefully have Sierre Zinal and the ÖTILLÖ World Championships as my biggest goals for the year.
Thanks to HRV4Training
This year I represented HRV4Training again. I'm grateful for all the support and encouragement Marco and Ale give me and I love being part of their team. I have been measuring my HRV every morning for years now and it's a daily routine that I never miss. I find the data and advice from the app to be a reassuring and useful tool that can help me make good decisions in my training. I will be representing HRV4Training in 2024 and I hope to be able to stand on some podiums again in my HRV4Training gear.