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Training tips by Jasmin Nunige

You want to prepare ideally for the Swissalpine Irontrail? Then check out the training tips from professional athlete Jasmin Nunige here!

Alternative Training program?

If you are not yet in the middle of your upcoming running season, you are most probably about to start preparing for it. The structure of the training usually starts with a basic endurance block followed by shorter and more intense intervals during spring time in order to prepare for the races. Nevertheless, I would like to introduce a completely different method to you which is mainly used for triathlon, cycling and increasingly also for running. The training is also known as "Périodisation inversée".

What does that mean?

Instead of starting with a basic long duration training in a very low intensity range, a training with a higher intensity and speed is maintained. Strength and speed are supported by shorter units. The second phase includes longer sessions while still keeping the intensity.

You first learn to walk faster on shorter distances in order to be able to increase the speed while running over longer distances.

This type of training is particularly suitable for athletes which have trained already for several years and therefore show a certain level. In addition to that this type of training is ideal in our region. Due to the cold winter weather it is much more pleasant to complete shorter but more intense units. Mentally you remain fresh and motivated to start the spring training and then increase the duration as well as the extent of the training sessions.

Training examples:

2-3 times 8min, 20 "fast, 20" easy, break sessions: 3min easy footing

This training is suitable in the area as well as uphill.

4-6 times 3min speed running, active break: 1min30
3-4 times 6min speed running, active break: 2min30

Like this you can increase from week to week, either the load duration or the repetitions.


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Injury. What now?

Due to an injury, the majority of you already had to adjust their training hence the preparation for the competition. The consequence is disappointment, frustration and feeling lost. You don’t know how to go on and feel misunderstood. I will give you promising tips in order to regain confidence while staying fit, even though running training isn’t possible at this moment.

In the first stage of injury, rest and regeneration is a must. Enough liquid, basic nutrition, alkaline baths and physical therapies such as massages, osteopathy, electrotherapy, etc... Personally, I am not a fan of painkillers since pain can be a good "assistant". Most of the time pain demonstrates the upper load limit. This limit of too little or too much load often leads to a problem. An ambitious runner wants to get back to his standard training schedule as fast as possible. To reach this goal, there are very efficient alternative training options. I recommend aqua jogging, combined with swim training, cross trainer as well as bike/home trainer. Following this alternative options, the pain barrier will guide you! You should start with shorter loads followed by a slow increase. If at the end of the training the pain is stronger, the session was too hard. As a consequence one should schedule a less intensive training for the upcoming session.


At the beginning of the injury, I only recommend little pressure. If there is no pain, you can start with a more intensive training. Suitable for this are interval training in water, on the bike or with the cross trainer. You will notice that similar to the normal training this option will push you and thus you can perfectly train the cardiovascular system.


Training example:

Crosstrainer: Warm up for 15-20 minutes, after that 2 minutes fast, 1 minute recovery, duration 50min, 15min easy footing.

For your core stability do not forget to do regular exercises during the entire injury break!

When and how do I start my running training?

As soon as you are free of pain, you can start again with light running training however, with only little pressure. Depending on the duration of the injury break I recommend to start with 10min. only. Eventually, even start with 2min jogging, 1min tramping, 2 min jogging, 2min tramping, etc...

Do this every 2 days and once the pain is completely gone you may slowly increase the training load. Intensive units by foot should only follow after sufficient training and full recovery.

A further key injury aspect is the psychological part. In this case it may be worth to get help from a mental coach or to use techniques which support mental stress. Personally, I have made very good experience with NLP (neurolinguistic programming) as well as working with images/breath techniques. Defining positive thoughts and new goals are crucial.


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Hill Running, a challenging task

Today’s topic is hill running.

Hill Running on short distances

Typical hill running is short and has an average duration between 30s and 3min per time.

With intense hill running, power, strength endurance, speed and particularly lactate tolerance will be trained.

Hill running can be integrated once a week, anywhere, during any time of the year, for instance on snow-covered roads or on trail routes. Keep in mind, that a good foot kick-off  should always be possible.


  • Stronger leg muscles
  • Improvement of running technique
  • An intense training unit without heavy joint load

Training example:

8-10 repetitions on a light decline of 8-10%.

In the beginning the load duration should be no more than 45s, however can be increased from month to month. (Until a load of 3min is reached). The duration of the break lasts as long as you need to jog back easily to the start. (For example 60s load = 1min 30s to return to the start).

Warming up 30min/easy footing 15min.

Hill Running on long distances

Longer hill running fits more specifically to the needs of long-distance- and marathon runners as well as adventure and mountain athletes. Longer hill runs are primarily to train the strength endurance. Especially for mountain athletes those runs count as typical competition training, slightly under the individual anaerobic barrier.

Training example:

3-6 repetitions on a light decline of 8-10%.

Load duration 6-15min.

The break should be used actively, run back to the start at a good pace.


A strong leg kick-off, stable hips and technically correct running are very important during the performance. What makes the difference is the technique and strength of the run rather than the general speed until you reach the top.

This type of training is even more pleasant with other athletes as well as in a group. Everyone starts together, each one continues in its own pace and returns to the start.

Now I wish everybody a lot of fun with their training and see you next time…

Jasmin Nunige

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