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5 Tips for Trail Running in the Alps from Training App

5 Tips for Trail Running in the Alps from Training App

Mar 18, 2024

By: Constant Wiederkehr, Coach + Marketing Assistant

The Alps are widely known to be Europe’s trail running mecca. From the valley of Chamonix, France to the peaks of Italy’s Dolomites, to passing through the lunar landscapes of the southern Alps… you’ll find a huge variety of trails to run.

If you’ve never been to the Alps, it can be wise to explore the area with experts to make the most out of your experience. And if you’re signed up for (or thinking about signing up for!) a Run the Alps trip, you’ll be in the best hands. Run the Alps guides have years of experience trail running and racing in the Alps, and many of them even call the Alps home, too! 

One of the best ways to make the most of your Run the Alps trip is to train beforehand, so that you can relax and enjoy the challenges of running these trails. That’s why is the official training partner of Run the Alps. has designed specific training programs + coaching to help you arrive in shape and confident for your trip. As a reminder, everyone who signs up for a Run the Alps trip gets their first month of training free from You can read more about our partnership and how to start your training here.

Without Further Ado, Here Are’s Top 5 Tips for Trail Running in the Alps: 

tips for trail running in the alps
Running above Chamonix, France. (Photo: Sam Hill)

Tip 1: Start Training…Now!

We know–it might seem like we’re biased because we’re a training app–but we wholeheartedly believe that training consistently before your Run the Alps trip (and starting to train early on) is the #1 key to enjoying all the adventures of your trip. Preparing beforehand is important for several reasons: 

  • Since trail running can be physically demanding, especially on hilly and technical terrain like in the Alps, being physically prepared will help reduce the risk of injuries such as strains or overuse injuries. (And nobody wants to deal with an injury when you’re in such an amazing place!) 
  • If you’ve trained in advance and have worked with your Coach to strengthen your weaknesses, recover from any lingering injuries, and build both physical strength and confidence, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the experience without being constantly fatigued. That’s the recipe for enjoying the experience!
  • You’ll also learn how to recover better between runs and be able to run day-after-day without risking injury or overtraining!

Overall, training before your Run the Alps trip creates a solid foundation for success, and helps ensure that you’ll make the most of the amazing opportunity to run in the Alps. (You can start training now with the plan for your Run the Alps trip–and all the training plans include your own personal coach to keep you motivated and on the right track!)

hiking and trail running in the alps
Plenty of vertical gain throughout the Alps – going uphill on our Grand Bernese Oberland Traverse. (Photo: Kim Strom)

Tip 2: Prepare for Altitude and Elevation Gain

Preparing for altitude involves focusing on cardiovascular fitness through good base-building, hill training, and more.  As far as altitude is concerned, Run the Alps trips never go much above about 2500 meters (8200 feet). If you’re coming from sea level, that’s still enough to add some additional stress to your body, but if you live near hills or mountains you might already have an advantage!

While being at altitude is a minimal concern, going uphill and downhill poses a challenge. Maybe you live in a flat place or city, and feel worried about being prepared for your Run the Alps trip, but don’t worry – you can absolutely prepare for elevation gain while living someplace without massive vertical relief. There are lots of ways that you can simulate vert in your training–using a treadmill with incline; doing specific strength exercises to prepare your legs for uphill/downhill; and one of our very favorites: using stairs. (At, we’ve coached thousands of runners for mountainous challenges who live in flat places. One of our favorite examples is that we coached someone who lives in London, UK to run the steep Mont Blanc 90k event. We helped adapt his training to focus heavily on stairs, since he lived near the tube (metro) entrance. He successfully trained by running up and down these stairs, and ran the whole Mont Blanc 90k feeling strong!) All of that to say–if you live in a flat place, don’t worry, we’ll help you feel totally ready to face the steep trails of the Alps.    

When you sign up for a Run the Alps training plan with, the training plan will adapt to the availability of hills near you–plus, your Coach can help come up with creative ways to simulate elevation gain in your training to prepare for the Alps.

running towards Chamonix on the final day of a Tour du Mont-Blanc
Keeping our packs light – running towards Chamonix on the final day of a Tour du Mont-Blanc. (Photo: Kim Strom)

Tip 3: Carry the Essentials

For time on the trails, try to pack lightweight items that can adapt to changing conditions, allowing you to stay comfortable. By packing smart and prioritizing essential gear, you’ll be ready to tackle any adventure the Alps have in store.

Essential gear includes proper footwear, hydration & nutrition, weather-appropriate clothing, a GPS watch, and a first aid kit. Yes, you never use it when you have it, but you always need it when you don’t have it… 

All Run the Alps guests receive our Guide to Trail Running in the Alps to assist in preparing for their trip. The guide includes a full packing list showing what to bring and what you can leave at home.

training to trail run in the alps
Run the Alps guide Giles Ruck descending in the Dolomites. (Photo: Martina Valmassoi)

Tip 4: Be prepared for Technical Trails

The Alps are unique and different, especially when compared to the mountains we find in the U.S. The trails, especially those in the Chamonix valley, can be steep and rocky. Some of the best ways that you can prepare for this type of terrain is by doing strength, core, and ankle exercises! By adding some simple but specific training, you can help make sure that you’ll be able to focus on the amazing views in the Alps. (Note: these routines are assigned to you weekly in the official Run the Alps training plans.) 

technical trails above Chamonix
Stopping to enjoy the view above Chamonix during our Mirnavator in the Alps trip. (Photo: Sam Hill)

Tip 5: Enjoy the Experience

Even though running in the Alps can be challenging, it comes with a surprise twist–the Alpine trails are peppered with small huts and refuges, which sell coffee, cake, tarts, and more–so come prepared to make pit stops with well-deserved treats. 

Remember to stop and take it all in during your Run the Alps trip–and enjoy the experience! Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Alps, savoring panoramic views and local culture along the way. 

The Alps are full of beautiful landscapes and amazing new foods to taste. Take time to appreciate the journey and celebrate your accomplishments! You’ll also discover a sense of adventure and camaraderie that will stay with you long after your trip is over.

Running through the Bernese Oberland on our Eiger Trail Tour
Running through the Bernese Oberland on our Eiger Trail Tour. (Photo: Kim Strom)

Embark on your Alpine running adventure fully prepared with these essential tips from–the Official Training partner of Run the Alps. When you sign up for one of the training plans for Run the Alps, you’ll receive expert guidance and a personalized training plan. Lace up your shoes and embark on a beautiful training/running journey. If you haven’t already, book your trip and unlock your best performance by training with

And don’t forget, everyone who signs up for a Run the Alps trip gets their first month of training free from You can read more about our partnership and how to start your training here.

About the author: Constant Wiederkehr lives in Annecy, France (just 1 hour from the Chamonix Valley!) He is a passionate trail runner, Coach, and Marketing Assistant. 

About is the Official Training Partner for our 2024 Run the Alps trips. is the #1 training app for trail runners–their mission is to make trail running accessible to everybody, everywhere through smart training plans and affordable coaching, which costs just $25/month. Sign up today to train with your Run the Alps trip here