First stress test at the virtual Lucerne city run


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The 43rd edition of the Lucerne City Run should have taken place on Saturday in Lucerne. Corona thwarted the plan of a normal run with contact to the opponents, cheering from the edge of the course and the smell of bratwurst. Instead there was a virtual version with app, headphones and funny looks from the roadside.

Background of viRACE

viRACE is the app that made the virtual execution of the Lucerne City Run possible. The app served as a registration platform, timekeeper, speaker and results service for the race and was developed by running.COACH within a very short (but intense) time during the lockdown.

“For us as athletes and companies that are at home in the running industry, the daily reports of cancelled runs were a stab in the heart every time,” says Stefan Lombriser, Managing Director of running.COACH. “We then had the choice: wait or throw everything on the scales and press the accelerator. viRACE is now the result of the second option”.

In cooperation with Swiss Running, the app viRACE was then developed, to make it possible to hold the cancelled races, albeit in an unusual form.

Virtual Lucerne City Run

After many small and medium-sized test runs, last Saturday’s Lucerne city run was the first big stress test for the brand new app. A total of 904 registered participants successfully completed the run.

The top 3 of the four categories offered are as follows:

1.5 km Saturday
1. Cedric Meyer, 00:04:25
2. Martin Winiger, 00:04:40
3. Kylie Jenner, 00:04:49

3.8 km Saturday
1. Janis Gächter, 00:11:48
2. Raphi Kunz, 00:13:03
3. David von Arx, 00:13:21

7 km Saturday
1. Jorge Garcia, 00:24:02
2. Elias Raemy, 00:24:45
3. Flavio Rieder, 00:25:00

1.5 km Sunday
1. Paul Jacquot, 00:05:13
2. Philipp Joller, 00:05:28
3. Selina Sidler, 00:05:40

A great summary of the experience was published published in the local paper.

Did you like the run?

If you enjoyed participating in the virtual Lucerne City Run, we would be pleased if you would continue to take part in virtual competitions in the future. The app is constantly being developed and new functions are coming.

If you would like to support us in the further development of viRACE, you can Vote for us by following this Link until Tuesday evening. Thanks very much for your support.

viRACE – Information page for organizers


viRACE is an app that enables runners to take part in a running competition in real time without having to be physically present. On this page, we would like to describe the advantages viRACE brings to organizers.

Virtual running races


Everyday life is anything but ordinary now. The necessary official measures regarding social distancing force us to drop deeply ingrained routines and stay at home whenever possible. However, regular exercise and athletic activities are still recommended by experts. From experience we know how difficult it is to maintain a structured training without a competition goal. In cooperation with Swiss Running we have therefore developed ViRace. The app should enable the participation in cancelled competitions without having to be on site and with virtual instead of direct contact to the competitors.

Optimal training for your target competition – How running.COACH prepares you for your competition


The goal of running.COACH is to optimize your training and adapt it to your specific requirements. Not only your current performance is taken into account, but also the training days available to you (number and time) and your individual running goals. The following blog post can serve as a guide on how to get running.COACH to optimally prepare you for your running goals.

Season break for runners. When does a running break make sense?


Have you successfully completed the competition season? You’ve probably trained countless hours to reach your goal. You have challenged your body a lot. Now is the time to give something back.

Mental training and sports



Author: Dr. med. Günther Effinger, Facharzt FMH für orthopädische Chirurgie und Traumatologie, Int. Sportmedizin FMH, Osteologe DVO, Sonographie (SGUM), Manuelle Medizin (SAMM), Schmerztherapie (SSIPM), Leiter Medbase Basel Heuwaage


Mental training helps to consciously use thoughts and feelings to achieve a state of optimal performance. It should be just as much a part of training as physical training.

In professional sport, the mental coach has a well-established place alongside the coach and the nutritionist. In amateur sport, on the other hand, mental training – if at all – has so far only taken place selectively. And usually only when problems arise. This leaves a great deal of potential unexploited.

After all, every training session and every competition is influenced by thoughts and feelings. However, this often happens unconsciously – and this can reduce performance. Mental training helps to achieve and maintain a state of ideal performance.

The “Deming” or “Sports mental training cycle” developed at the Heidelberg Institute for Mental Training comprises four phases:

The first phase is about defining your own values and setting goals: What do I stand for? What is important to me? What do I want to achieve: have fun, find inner peace, receive recognition, find a sponsor who supports me …?
If several goals are important, it means defining a “value hierarchy”, because to want to achieve everything at once is utopian. The goal should be formulated positively and as concretely as possible, for example: “I want to have improved my best time at the end of the race”.

What are the outstanding characteristics of every athlete? In the second phase, when analysing one’s own strengths, it’s all about finding the answer. Which characteristic is the strongest? Which is number two, three, four, …?
Mental training should strengthen the strengths. This includes both mentally going through and improving movement sequences and learning not to be distracted. Because only those who can concentrate fully on the current situation will be able to fully exploit their strengths.
Training mindfulness can help to stay mentally in the “here and now”. Thoughts that wander into the past or into the future such as “I should have made more speed in the beginning” or “I won’t catch up anymore” are obstructive.

With the help of self-motivation strategies, one’s own strengths can be used at the right moment. What awakens the feelings and ideas that are needed in the respective situation in order to achieve the maximum possible? Which own rituals, inner images or experiences inspire and strengthen? For example, let your experiences pass in review: In which situations have you been particularly successful? What was the perfect situation when running in which everything was right? Which gesture or music, which object or smell is connected with this memory? This could be a key for mental training.
A sprinter who has to run away explosively at the start could, for example, motivate himself with the help of Hard Rock. Or you can tell yourself internally: “I can do it” and imagine the clenched fist. Such a gesture, self-hypnosis, relaxation exercises … there are hundreds of possibilities.
At first these processes “only” take place mentally. But the full potential can only be exploited if one “feels” them emotionally and physically.

The third phase of mental training serves to overcome and prevent inner blockades. Suppose a tennis player on rank 70 on the world’s best list makes it to the final of Wimbledon. He now thinks: “I can only lose against this famous top player. The eyes of the whole sports world are on me. Don’t miss the ball!” – then the game is already decided. He will lose.
Because the human brain doesn’t distinguish between ideas that shouldn’t happen and those that are longed for. This is like NOT thinking of a blue elephant. It is quite difficult not to imagine an elephant.
Athletes who want to do it especially well often get into the “overmotivation zone” – they hit balls, become unfocused, waste their energy.
However, the ideal performance condition is achieved when an athlete feels neither pressure nor stress or – on the other hand – boredom and too much relaxation (undermotivation zone). In mental training, effective countermeasures are developed against both.
For example, the tennis player might think: “I’ll show them”. He has built up a healthy self-confidence and mental strength, plays his best techniques meticulously in his mind and visualizes with all details the course of a game in which he plays his strengths to the full and wins.

Finally, the fourth phase is the success control: What was successful? Where else is there a problem? Can mental training be sustained in this way?

– Mental training needs practice. Just like endurance, strength and flexibility training, it should be integrated into every training cycle.
– It is best to start with a mental trainer.
– Rituals or inner pictures should fit the person and the desired goal.
– Do not think in terms of problems, but focus on the solution.


Packing list for your running competition


The training preparation is over, “only” the actual run is still to come. Definitely something to look forward to. If only the annoying packing on the evening before wouldn’t be left. Our list should help you to make the packing process as easy as possible and to make the evening before a bit less stressful.


  • Underwear
  • Ev. sports bra
  • Running socks
  • Sports top
  • Running shorts
  • Jacket / Training jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • Running shoes (no experiments: only worn ones)
  • Dry running clothes for warming up and after the race
  • Headgear
  • Longsleeve
  • Start number band / safety pins
  • Drinking Belt
  • Insoles

Hygienic articles

  • Towel
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush / Comb
  • Scrunchies
  • Sun lotion


  • Energy Bar / Gel
  • Beverages
  • Snacks
  • Ev meal while on the go / snacks for the trip
  • Salt tablets
  • Proteinshake / -bar for after the run

Documents and things relevant for the competition

  • Timing Chip (ev)
  • Bib number
  • Running clock (loaded) and chest belt


  • Money / Wallet
  • Entertainment for travel and distraction (book/music)
  • Mobile
  • Headphones

The packing list for different events can of course appear differently and should be adapted accordingly.

Record Runs at Sierre-Zinal


Maude Mathys (2:49:20) and Kilian Jornet (2:25:35) are the winners of this year’s Sierre-Zinal. In the star-studded field, both the women’s and men’s course records were broken. The course records fell so surprisingly clearly that in our quiz almost nobody, even close to guessing the right winner time.

Sierre-Zinal is a legendary trail race because of its nearly five decades of history and revered athletic performances, and on Sunday along its famed trails in the Swiss Alps another trail running legend added yet another chapter to both his own storied legacy and the race’s as well. Setting out with a blazing fast pace, Spain’s Kilian Jornet (Team Salomon) ran away from one of the most competitive trail running fields in recent memory to win in 2:25:35, shattering Jonathan Wyatt’s longstanding course record of 2:29:12 by three minutes and 37 seconds. It was Jornet’s seventh win at Sierre-Zinal in nine tries.

On the women’s side, Switzerland’s Maude Mathys (Team Salomon) also broke the Sierre-Zinal course record, winning in 2:49:20 to best Anna Pichrtova’s 2008 time by nearly five minutes. Both Jornet and Mathys won from the front, surging to the lead on the challenging early uphill.

Jornet was chased valiantly by 2016 winner Petro Mamu from Eritrea, who also broke the former course record, finishing just 56 seconds behind the Spaniard in 2:26:31. American runner Jim Walmsley (Team Hoka), competing for the first time at Sierre-Zinal, was 3rd in an impressive 2:31:52. Juan Carlos Carera was 4th in 2:32:52 and Great Britain’s Robbie Simpson was 5th in 2:33:55. Jornet athlete grabbed the lead a few strides into the race and was alone from there on out. The course gains 2,200 meters from the start in Sierre to the finish line in the idyllic alpine village of Zinal, rolling along before a big downhill finish. Jornet wasted no time letting the competition know he was going for broke. At the Chandolin checkpoint he was ahead of Mamu by two minutes 1:05:59 and in hot pursuit of the course record set by Wyatt in 2003.

In the women’s race, Mathys made sure Jornet wasn’t the only one breaking a record on the day. Her time of 2:49:20 was five minutes ahead of fellow Swiss Judith Wyder (Team Salomon) who finished in 2:54:20, and it broke the former course record of 2:54:26 by five minutes and six seconds. Wyder was also under the former record by six seconds.

Mathys was 3rd at the Dolomyths Sky run in Italy a couple of weeks back, but on Sunday she used her strength in the uphill to put distance between herself and the field in the early going. She was more than three minutes ahead at the Chandolin checkpoint and was never seen again by the rest of the pack.

Italy’s Silvia Rampazzo (Team Tornado) was 3rd with another strong effort on the Golden Trail World Series. She finished in 2:56:17. New Zealand’s Ruth Croft (Team Scott) continued her amazing consistency with a 4th place finish in 3:01:56, while France’s Anais Sabrié was 5th in 3:01:58.

Record times in the overview, including split times:

SierreZinal 2019 Record Runs
SierreZinal 2019 Record Runs

The whole livestream of the race can be watched here::

All  Results can be found here:


running.COACH Quiz

And here is the results and the winners of our quiz. The winners all win a free running.COACH 3-month subscription:
1.) Winner women’s race + winning time
Correct answer: Maude Mathys / 2.49:20.
Bet on the right runner and estimated with the best finish time: Christoph Kellerhals (SUI), his estimated time: 2:52:58


2.) Winner men’s race + winning time
Correct answer: Kilian Jornet / 2.25:35.
Bet on the right runner and estimated with the best finish time: Quentin (SUI), his estimated time: 2:27:45.


3.) Best estimated winning time in women’s race:
Correct answer: 2.49:20.
Guillermo Morea (ARG) estimated best with 2:50:00 (His tip for the best woman was ‘Eli Anne Dvergsdal (NOR)’).


4.) Best estimated winning time in the men’s race:
Correct answer: 2.25:35.
Quentin (SUI), see number 2, estimated best. The next closer tip is from Dirk (LUX) inherits the prize with 2:27:48 2:50:00 (his bet for the fastest man was also Kilian Jornet).


5) a) Which country has the most top 10 placings? (W+M) + b) Will the records in women’s and men’s races be broken? + c) how many men run under 2:40h? how many women under 3:10h?


Correct answers: :
a.) Best Trailrunning Nation: Switzerland

Sierre Zinal 2019 Top Men and Women
Sierre Zinal 2019 Nunber of  Top 10 Men and Women by Country

b.) Record broken women: yes
b.) Record broken men: yes
c.) Number of Top Men/Women 2019 Men 16, Women 9.

Sierre Zinal Top Men Women
The figures prove very well that this year was quite a special year in terms of level.

Gabe from Catalonia (ESP) has solved this task best. She estimated the number of top men and women exactly and also predicted it on the men’s record. However, she was betting on Spain for the best trail running nation.
6.) Chance winner:
Paul Halford (GBR)
We are looking forward to the race becoming a great spectacle in 2020! And who knows, next year maybe the National Television will also be there.

Jim Walmsley Sierre Zinal
Jim Walmsley Sierre Zinal

Sierre-Zinal 2019 – the battle of the giants!


Sierre-Zinal is not a normal mountain or trail race. What Wimbledon is for tennis, the Wacken Open Air for heavy metal fans or the Lauberhorn descent for skiers, Sierre-Zinal is for mountain and trail runners: something extraordinary.

The course measures 31 kilometres and takes the runners from Sierre (570 m.a.s.l.) to 2425 m.a.s.l. for the first two thirds of the course, before descending 750 m to Zinal for the last third. This results in a total of 2200 metres ascent and 1100 metres descent. (19 miles, 7,200 feet of uphill and 3,600 feet of downhill)

Map and profile of the race:

Since 1974 the traditional event has been taking place, making Sierre-Zinal the oldest mountain race among the great European competitions in the mountains. There is much to be said for the fact that this year’s edition will be a very special one!

The reason for this are the numerous top athletes who will make the running course between Sierre and Zinal unsafe this year. Some of them in the shortest portrait:


Kilian Jornet, Spain, age 31
The Catalan set out to claim his seventh (!) victory at the Sierre-Zinal. He won the first race of the Golden Trail World Series and has the track record firmly in his sights.

You can read more about Kilian Jornet in the running.COACH blog post from 2018.

Jim Walmsley, USA, age 29
This will be his first start at the traditional mountain run. Actually a specialist for the ultra distances, the special distance profile could accommodate him however.

Davide Magnini, ITA, age 21
Coming from ski touring he is the shooting star of the scene. He won both the Mont Blanc Marathon and the Dolomyths Run. Last year, he finished 7th in Zinal, 5 minutes behind Jornet – betting that he will be a top performer again this year?

Nadir Maguet, ITA, age 26
His compatriot Davide Magnini stood in front of the sun twice this year – both the Mont Blanc Marathon and the Dolomyths Run Maguet finished 2nd.

Bart Przedwojewski, POL, age 26
The Pole is the leader of the Golden Trail World Series after the first three runs.

Marc Lauenstein, SUI, age 38
Unforgotten his triumph in 2013, when he won the race in the final descent. After a foot injury, Lauenstein is now back and wants to intervene again this year.

Article about Marc Lauenstein in the running.COACH Blog (2018)

Jacob Adkin, GBR, age 23
The British runner became European mountain champion in Zermatt in June. What can we expect from him on the 2.5 times longer course?

More favorites in the men’s race:

  • Robbie Simpson, GBR (2nd 2018)
  • Robert Surum, KEN (3rd 2018)
  • Francesco Puppi, ITA ( 4th 2018)
  • Petro Mamu, ERI (1st 2016)
  • Rémi Bonnet, SUI (4th at Mountain running European Championships 2019)
  • Stian Aarvik, NOR (2nd at Mountain running European Championships 2019)
  • Elhousine Elazzaoui, MAR
  • Jan Margarit, ESP
  • Teboho Noosi, LES (Wants to break the record)
  • Max King, USA (1st Mountain running World Championships 2011, 3rd 2017)
  • Yokouchi Yutaro, JAP
  • Florian Neuschwander, GER
  • Sage Canaday, USA
  • Julien Rancon, FRA
  • Andrew Douglas, GBR
  • Petter Engdahl, SWE
  • Juan Carlos Carera, MEX
  • Geoffrey Gikuni, KEN

Strong locals – Ready for a top placement

  • Stephan Wenk, SUI
  • Jonathan Schmid, SUI
  • Joey Hadorn, SUI
  • Pascal Buchs, SUI
  • Stefan Lustenberger, SUI
  • Martin Anthamatten, SUI
  • Werner Marti, SUI


Lucy Murigi, KEN, age 34
This year the Kenyan woman sets out to bring home the hat trick. After two victories in the past two years, this year she could take her third consecutive victory at Sierre-Zinal.

Ruth Croft, NZL, age 30
After a victory at the Mont Blanc Marathon and a second place at the Dolomyths Run she is the current leader of the Golden Trail World Series.

Judith Wyder, SUI, age 31
In the Dolomyths Run, the 31-year-old Swiss shocked her opponents by improving the course record by seven minutes. This makes the former world class orienteer one of the favourites on home ground as well.

Maude Mathys, SUI, age 32
The highest ranking is probably the current and triple European champion in mountain running. At the Dolomyths Run she showed what she can do at the uphill. Her roller qualities are also very good. Last year she ran a street marathon in 2:31:17.

Eli Anne Dvergsdal, NOR, age 27 
A victory at the beginning of the Golden Trail Series and the second place in the intermediate ranking speaks for itself. The Norwegian should be hot for a top place.

Simone Troxler, SUI, age 23
The third Swiss runner who can achieve a lot on home ground. At the last event in 2018, she showed what she was capable of and surprisingly finished third.

More favourites in the women’s race:

  • Sarah Tunstall, GBR
  • Elisa Desco, ITA
  • Carrion Gisela, ESP
  • Lina El Kott Helander, SWE
  • Ragna Debats, NED
  • Eli Gordon, ESP
  • Yiou Wang, USA
  • Silvia Rampazzo, ITA
  • Sarah McCormack, IRL
  • Holly Page, GBR

Strong locals – Ready for a top placement

  • Theres Leboeuf, SUI
  • Victoria Kreuzer, SUI
  • Maya Chollet, SUI
  • Alessandra Schmid, SUI

Who are your favorites? Are you a connoisseur of the trail and mountain running scene? Then prove it to us:

Start is on Sunday 11 August 2019 at 10:00 CET.

Race Planning / Runtime Calculator

If you are one of the 5200 participants and would like help with the race tactics, we can highly recommend our race calculator to calculate your possible finish time and your splits:

Written by Jonas Merz / Gabriel Lombriser

Running training at altitude


Stimulated blood formation, but decreasing muscular performance – training at altitude can be quite the balancing act. Find the most important tips below.


Author: PD Dr. med. Christoph Dehnert, Specialist in General Internal Medicine and Cardiology FMH, Sports Medicine DGSP, Medbase Sports Medical Center Zurich


What goal do I want to achieve? This question stands at the beginning of any altitude training. Because altitude training has various faces: Is it about preparing for a competition in the mountains, for example an alpine marathon? Or should altitude training provide training incentives to increase performance in the lowlands? Depending on the goal, different aspects are important.

If your goal is to achieve the optimum performance in an alpine race, you have to acclimatize as much as possible to the corresponding altitude. To do this, you should have trained at altitude before the race, according to the motto “Train high – live high”, i.e. “Train at altitude and live at altitude”. This type of altitude training is – in the truest sense of the word – a tightrope walk: the danger of overtraining is much greater than in the lowlands. In order not to get exhausted, you have to reduce the usual training intensity and train more slowly than usual. The catch: the muscular performance adapts quickly – and consequently decreases in height. One way out of this dilemma could be to spread the acclimatization over several short episodes of three or four days each. So, for a few days you have to train regularly at altitude, but in between you need to train in the lowlands repeatedly.

Because the air is “thinner” at altitude, the red blood cells take up less oxygen than usual. In order to improve the oxygen supply to the organs, the body first eliminates blood plasma and “thickens” the blood. In addition, the heart pumps faster and thus increases the volume of blood pumped per minute. However, there is no rule of thumb how much faster the pulse beats in the mountains. Therefore, the training levels from a performance diagnosis carried out in the lowlands cannot simply be transferred up in altitude. Also, the subjective assessment of the training intensity is often far off, especially when experience with training at altitude is missing. The best way to transfer this assessment to altitude is by looking at the respiration. As in the lowlands, during basic endurance training, one should be able to talk in short sentences while running. If you want to have a clearer picture of your performance, however, you cannot avoid performance diagnostics at altitude. Still, this is usually difficult to achieve.

While studies clearly prove that altitude training before a competition at altitude improves the performance there, the data situation is not too clear as far as altitude training for the purpose of increasing performance in the lowlands is concerned. The mechanisms of altitude training to improve performance in lowlands are not yet completely clear. Nonetheless, it is considered certain that the blood formation stimulated by the lack of oxygen at altitude has a performance-enhancing effect. However, this process only begins after two to three weeks of continuously staying over 2000 to 2500 meters. During this time, however, the muscular performance decreases due to the lower training intensities at altitude.

In competitive sports, therefore, two forms of altitude training have become established in recent years: firstly, the concept of “sleep high – train low”, i.e. sleeping at altitude to take advantage of the positive effects of oxygen deficiency on hematopoiesis, but training as usual in the lowlands so as not to have to reduce training intensities. And secondly, to shift the high-intensity training up to a considerable altitude in order to exert an additional stimulus. However, these two logical concepts do not always lead to an increase in performance. There are substantial individual differences here.

If at all, altitude training to improve performance in the lowlands is therefore only useful for top athletes who have exhausted their training in the lowlands to the maximum. But even with them it is controversial whether it really brings the hoped-for benefit. Amateur athletes have rarely optimized everything in terms of training. For the best possible result at the peak of the season (assuming the competition takes place in the lowlands), they probably benefit more from training optimization than from altitude training.

Those who nevertheless decide in favor of an altitude training camp should bear in mind that experience has shown that the maximum performance can only be expected about two weeks later. But here, too, everyone has to make their own experiences.


  • Staying at height acts as a stress factor for the body. For example, it takes about ten to fourteen days for the body to acclimatize to an altitude of 2000 to 2500 metres.
  • If you want to prepare seriously for an alpine competition, it is best to keep a training diary and train regularly at altitude.
  • When it comes to systematic preparation, the ultimate for a competition at altitude is an experienced trainer and/or performance diagnostics at altitude. However, this is expensive and there are very few providers.
  • If the time before an alpine run is not enough for a good high-altitude training, you should train at least a few times at altitude to gain experience.
  • If you don’t have the possibility to do so, it is best to arrive immediately before the competition. The performance at altitude is best in the first hours (maximum on the first day) after arrival. After that it decreases.
  • Training at simulated altitude only makes sense if specific training is possible.


Translated by: Denise Kaufmann