To master my 28Summits challenge I mainly will need three things: knowledge about the summits, improved technique (e.g. in climbing) and physical fitness. I am working on the first point since I came up with the idea for this challenge and have spent hours reading about the summits, routes and general conditions (see this post for information about my sources). Â In this post I want to focus on one of the most important factors, the physical fitness. In particular, my complicated relationship with running that is slowly turning into a love story.
I have never been a good endurance athlete. I could pull off quite a good time on the 100m sprint, but running for more than 5 minutes always was a challenge for me. Common excuses for not running included that I was not built to be a runner, that running would be bad for my joints … I think we all made or heard those excuses before. So last year I started swimming instead, but after a few months it did not really go anywhere and I was usually bored just doing lane after lane. But considering this challenge I had to do something to enhance my endurance considering that I will have to do more than 2,000 meters of altitude gain in one day on several mountains. So I set myself the goal for 2014 to start living more healthy by changing my diet and start running with the ultimate goal of at least being able to run 10 km in under an hour.
As I never been running I did not have the proper footwear at the beginning. So while I still was at my parents place in the Black Forest after New Years, I just pulled out a pair of old sneakers that looked like they could do. Close to my parents house is a really nice forest with a nice trail network. However, as it had been raining for days, those trails turned into worlds of mud that did not seem like the best starting point for running. Instead I took our dog to one of the fitness trails that is a few minutes drive away. There the trails are reinforced by gravel and there is not that much forestry going on. Despite the heavy rain, we had a lot of fun there:
For the beginning I’m working with intervals and a total workout time between 40-45 minutes. I am following a good workout plan I found on the website of Runner’s World that is specifically designed for beginners like me. To improve my running, I treated myself to a pair of really nice trail running shoes (Salomon XR Mission) that I got when I came back to Sweden. I might write a review about them after I have tested them for a longer period and in different environments:
Since I’m back in Sweden winter finally arrived. The trails are covered in snow and I really enjoy running in the falling snow. Sometimes it is of course harder to get grip on snow and ice, but I also see it as a good balance training for the difficult mountain trails coming up. I’m now in the third week of running and it still feels really good even though I often reach my limits. But running through the woods on snow covered trails makes up for the physical effort. I will give updates here how my love story with running pans out and how my new running shoes perform on different trails and environments.
This blog is about my 28Summits Challenge with the goal of reaching the highest points of each member state of the European Union.
My name is Matthias, I am 28 years old. Growing up close to the Alps I have been hiking basically all my life. I love being outdoors and exploring the nature. When I am not doing this I am working in media management or follow up on my other passion of cooking and baking.
On this site I will share my experiences along the road to achieve the challenge I set myself. Furthermore, I will blog about my other hiking trips as well as media about the outdoors.
My hiking companions blog about hiking and traveling in the North:
Yummy and healthy vegetarian food:
My favorite baking blog (only in Swedish):
Here goes my favourite online shop for outdoor gear and clothing (shipping to EU countries and some more):