31 Jul. 2022 · Summer Activities
Sarina Berchtold

TIRED LEGS. FIT AGAIN - regeneration for trail runners (and hikers)

The summit is in sight. Once again, you'll have to activate your last sources, because it's almost done. At this moment you neglect he fact that your legs are heavy, your lungs burn and the pulse hammers in your ears. The fact that you must go back down and that you have more tours planned for the next few days is just as important. The body wants a break. But the mind wants to go higher, to do more tours. After all, you're here to run mountains. A good regeneration is not so difficult, if you pay attention to a few things. Here are five tips for BEFORE, DURING and AFTER running. This is how mountain adventures become success stories for body, mind and soul.

Rund um den Widderstein  | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Fotograf: Dominik Berchtold

1. Basic training: Success in running depends on preparation.

The most important training is also for trail runners: the groundwork. Many runners think they always have to train fast and hard at their performance limits. For it to do any good, it must hurt. But in fact, basic training is the fundamental pillar for good endurance and ultimately for optimal regeneration. This is also the point of view of Daniel Jochum, a trail runner from Kleinwalsertal: "Even professionals should train more in the basic and slow areas to further improve their endurance. This is important for all trainers in this field." And that can be a hike at the beginning of your trail running journey.

Sarina doing yoga | © Sarina Berchtold | Photograph: Dominik Berchtold

2. Stable and flexible: Staying balanced while trail running.

Again, preparation meets opportunity. If you do something for your mobility and stability, you will have fewer problems during and after the run, or in the best case no problems at all. Good stability is important so that you don't lose your balance on uneven terrain and can adapt quickly to changing conditions. Overloads in your knees, ankles, hips and back are often related to poor body stability. In addition to stability training, mobility training should also become an integral part of your training. This can help prevent injuries.


Daniel Jochum also describes trail running as a sport that has high and variable training requirements. Especially downhill, the body has to act very flexible. In order to prepare the body optimally for this and to prevent shortening, one can work on this, for example, through yoga or with static stretching exercises. Stretching directly after running for better recovery? Daniel wouldn't recommend that. His tip: "To properly work on flexibility, take advantage of rest periods." He himself prefers to do this in the morning or in the evening before bed. 

Try our 7-minute yoga quickie for stability, mobilization and mobility for trail runners and hikers. For every day or dynamically executed also regenerating after running. (german language)

Trailrunning Sarina Berchtold | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Dominik Berchtold

3. Refuel energy: Properly supplied during trail running

For trail running you don't really need much at the beginning. Neither a GPS watch nor a running backpack nor any other equipment. However, it is important to have a good and suitable shoe. Normal mountain shoes are too heavy and firm. Road running shoes will do for the beginning and on easier trails and in good conditions. However, if it gets wet and roots and stones come into play, you should invest in proper shoes. If the distances become longer (more than 45-60 minutes), you should make sure you have enough water. For optimal recovery, you need to refill your energy during longer and more intense sessions. The supply of carbohydrates during sports (sports drink, bar, gel, dried fruit) replenishes the glycogen stores. This leads to the fact that the muscle do not empty so much, and as a result to less fatigue.


Relaxation at the Kneipp Schwandlift | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Oliver Farys

4. Take a deep breath: Give your body breaks from running.

Trained athletes recover twice as fast as the non-trained. Still, it's important for everyone to give their body enough breaks. Maybe you've just started trail running and your hyped. New outfit, great shoes, mountains, sunshine. What more could you want? The two long tours of the previous days and the fact that you may already have 20 to 30 kilometers in your legs, you tend to forget. Motivation is good, but so is mindfulness for your own body. The first longer runs in the mountains have most likely given you sore muscles. The end of the story: joints, ligaments and tendons have to absorb what the muscles can no longer do.

Give your body a break sooner rather than later and make it slightly active. For example, with a regenerative hike by the water or a day at the day spa with low-intensity swimming.Also great: cool your legs after a run. For example, dangle your feet in the water at one of the kneipp pools in Kleinwalsertal.


Relaxation while hiking with Ifen in view | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Oliver Farys

5. Sleep and eat right: the secret weapons for good regeneration

"The most important regeneration tool is sleep and nutrition. It really doesn't depend on much else" explains Daniel Jochum. In short, it means: in everyday life, make sure to eat a balanced diet with wholesome foods. Immediately after exercise, it means replenishing empty stores. The body needs fuel. The body has lost carbohydrates and minerals in particular. These should be supplied again as quickly as possible. The best thing to do is to have a small snack in the first 30 minutes, e.g. a fruit juice or a banana, and drink plenty of fluids. 

Daniel also sees sleep as a more important tool for amateur athletes than massage guns or other equipment. After all, too little or poor sleep means stress for the body It is therefore even the most important factor for a good regeneration. In these hours, the body can do everything it didn't have time for during the day.

This may also be interesting:

HOW TO: Trail running for beginners

How to benefit from running on rough terrain, even as a beginner. Here's how to get started with trail running.