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The Legend of the Karwendelmarsch: Get Prepared with These Tips!

9. August 2018

Once the end of August arrives it is that time again: time for the Karwendelmarsch! This year the “legendary” long-distance walk celebrates its 10th anniversary. A hike through one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the Alps, which will give walkers a feeling of community (and goose bumps). A total of 2,500 runners and hikers have accepted the challenge and will traverse the Karwendel from Scharnitz to the Achensee on 25 August. This means that 52 or 32 kilometres and many vertical metres have to be conquered along the way. Of course, this kind of challenge demands some preparation. That’s why we interviewed endurance athlete Adrian Niski. He told us about his experience on his first Karwendelmarsch and offers some helpful tips to runners and hikers. Use these tips for preparation, during the run or afterwards and you will be ready for the Karwendelmarsch!

Adrian comes from Hohenlohe in Germany and is studying education. The Adidas Terrex Trailrunning Team member dedicates his free time to sport: originally triathlon, but these days mainly mountain running. Soon he will fulfil his dream of living in the Tyrol – the Karwendelmarsch is going about it the right way! He is happy to share the experience he has gained over many years of mountain running with other amateur and professional athletes.

Below you can find Adrian’s tipps for trail runners as well as his tipps for all those who will participate in the walk.

Adrian, how did you come to take part in the Karwendelmarsch?

After my first Ironman long distance in 2014, I set myself fresh goals for the following season. I discovered my love for the mountains on a hiking holiday with my parents. After some research in the internet I came across the Karwendelmarsch – it was at a great time and, with the distance being little more than a marathon and not toooo many metres in altitude difference, it would be easy for a triathlete to master – at least I hoped so. I took part in the Karwendelmarsch in 2015. At the time I thought: “This shouldn’t be so difficult!” – but unfortunately reality was a little bit different from what I had imagined.

What did you experience then?

The most memorable moment was probably the sunrise below the Falkenhütte – it was a unique spectacle of light. Running in the pack I couldn’t keep my enthusiasm to myself because I wasn’t used to such a scenery. The enthusiasm turned to disillusionment with the second climb. I hadn’t expected it to be so hard. I had paced my race completely wrong and had to pay for it after the Eng and really was “running backwards”. There could be nothing better than the Achensee right at the finish. I jumped right in to cool off and took a much-needed nap on the shore.

Why do you want to do it again this year so much?

This year the Karwendel Run takes place for the 10th time and, with my move to the Tyrol, there would be no better start than to participate in the crossing of the Karwendel again, something which actually got me into running in the mountains. I also have a few kilometres and altitude metres in my legs. So hopefully I won’t suffer a collapse like I did in 2015.

Karwendelmarsch:Tips for Runners

What tips can you give to advanced or beginner runners?

A distance of 52km and 35km can seem like a very long way, so planning with fluid and nutrition intake is very important. It is also crucial to have already experienced some longer runs including climbs.

What equipment should you take with you?

It depends on the planned speed of the run. The quickest, who are aiming to finish in just over four hours, usually take just a soft flask (that is a small and extremely light plastic bottle) and a couple of energy gels. The soft flasks can be refilled at the refreshment stations. The slower you run, the more equipment you need to take with you, especially for the ‘thirst stretches’ between the refreshment points. So, think about taking enough fluid and nutrition – a small trail rucksack will help. Poles can be helpful, especially when climbing. A light windbreaker will also be comfortable in the morning chill.

What tips do you have for training?

The best training tip I can give is to have fun when you are running! That helps unbelievably to stay motivated and to keep a regular training programme on track. Long runs are also important, as they lay the basis for a long-distance competition such as this one. But I would also recommend some shorter and demanding runs on the flat now and again, which will help with the more even stretches, especially the last kilometres to Pertisau.

How else do you prepare well? Do you have any advice about the refreshment points, nutrition or blisters?

Before starting your Karwendel run adventure on 25.08, you should have a look in the days before at the exact route and altitude profile. This is the only way to calculate the estimated times and thus food and drink intake, which play an important role during a long run. If you have a trail running rucksack, you can take one or two delicacies with you and indulge yourself in low points of the run. If you get blisters, usually only one thing helps – a solid tape or a blister plaster. If you are not sure about your shoes, you should always take these with you so that the run does not become a torture.

What’s the best thing to do if you are nervous the night before?!

A healthy dose of excitement is actually quite good. However, consistent preparation helps you to go into the last night with confidence. Rituals that calm and strengthen you are also important (as long as this is not a bottle of wine).

Another question about nutrition: what do you have for breakfast before a run like this?

Breakfast should be light. I eat two bananas and drink tea and an energy drink myself. Toast bread with marmalade has proven itself with most people – but everyone can decide for themselves what tastes good and does you good! The last three to four days before the race you should change to a lighter diet and increase the proportion of carbohydrates – “carbo-loading” is what we are talking about here. However, this is a very wide and profound subject and I cannot go into in detail here. This is also not so important for hikers and hobby athletes. But if you have any questions, feel free to contact me via my social media (Instagram or Facebook)! 

And for recovery afterwards? 😉

I will definitely be jumping straight into the Achensee after the run! It helps to eat something right after the run for a quick recovery – luckily there are very good refreshment stations! A sauna helps the muscles – and the spirits – recover quickly.

Training for the race: the most beautiful routes in the Olympiaregion Seefeld

All motivated racers will find a good selection of running trails in our region – flat or with plenty of climbs and descents, but always with a great view! The trail running routes can be found here.

 

Karwendelmarsch –Walk: Tips for Walkers

What tips do you have for walkers?

Walkers should realise that it will be a long day. They should be prepared for that and have taken enough long tours beforehand to that they are ready to walk for many hours.

What equipment should they take with them? And what should they leave at home?

The choice of equipment varies from walker to walker and is very personal. Still it’s clear that the less you take with you the less you have to carry. That’s something that is quite noticeable on a hike of 52km – the neck, back and knees will thank you for everything you leave at home. These essentials should not be missing, however:

  • A well-fitting rucksack
  • Additional clothing, for example, a windbreaker for the cold morning hours
  • Comfortable(!) boots
  • First aid kit and mobile phone
  • Enough to eat and drink for the period between the refreshment stations
  • Headwear, sunglasses & sun cream
  • Poles
  • A pleasant walking companion

What kind of tips do you have for preparation?

One or more longer tours should in any case be undertaken as preparation. You should test the items and the material you will be taking with you – especially the boots. If you pack too many things, you will notice it during the preparatory tours and can decide what to leave at home with confidence. Also make sure that your clothing does not rub or chafe, otherwise it will be very painful at this long distance. A T-shirt might be a better choice than a top to prevent the backpack straps from chafing and to protect the shoulders from sunburn. 😉

What’s the best thing to do if you are nervous the night before?!

I‘ll repeat: a healthy dose of excitement is actually quite good. However, consistent preparation helps you to go into the last night with confidence. Rituals that calm and strengthen you are also important (as long as this is not a bottle of wine).

And for recovery afterwards? 😉

I will definitely be jumping straight into the Achensee after the run! It helps to eat something right after the run for a quick recovery – luckily there are very good refreshment stations! A sauna helps the muscles – and the spirits – recover quickly.

Preparation for the Karwendelmarsch: the loveliest hikes

Pack your rucksack and test your equipment so that you’re ready for the big day. There are countless lovely hikes in our region that you can use to prepare for the Karwendelmarsch. Here are our 10 best mountain peak hikes that will get you in shape for the Karwendelmarsch.

The Legend of the Karwendelmarsch

We wish all runners and walkers a really good time on the Karweldelmarsch!

Find more important information about the Karwendelmarsch here:

Karwendelmarsch.info

Karwendelmarsch – Facebook

Karwendelmarsch – Instagram

Karwendelmarsch 2017: The video

 

Fotos: Sportalpen.com; Adrian Niski; Hans Herbig; Bert Willer, Stephan Elsler; Tirol Werbung (Dominik Gigler, Jens Schwarz, Bernhard Aichner)

 

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