Impressions from the 38th Silvesterlauf, Zürich 

The 38th edition of the annual Silvesterlauf (Silvester run) came to an end last Sunday in Zürich. Among the 21,643 runners who registered for the event, I too was one of them. This was my first run in conditions which were below 5 degrees. Unlike my other runs in the past few years, this was different weather wise while in running terms, I did not feel a strain since preparing well in advance helped me getting used to running in such conditions.
Well, in all fairness I have ran at the races without preparation (including a half-marathon) and as a result I have also suffered from those body aches, niggles and other small bodily discomforts. I didn’t want any of this and moreover I wanted this run to be like a normal run, a feeling of routine from my daily life. This was my goal and I am happy I was able to achieve this small milestone.

For a long duration in my life I have spent winters that hovered around 15-20 degrees. Yes, it is a paradise by the looks of it and hence my breathing and tolerance to cold weather and sub-zero climates had to be adaptive. One of the best methods to adapt to colder conditions is to face them, train in them and giving the body an incremental challenge to get used to the surroundings. Last year, I could not manage to take part in the ‘Silvesterlauf’ and this year, I was determined to take part if I were to be in Zürich.

Kept it simple – just made it a point to spend time outside with relatively less warm clothes by jogging, and running. This time the weather leading up to the race helped me train better. There were many days late in the evening where temperatures were below 10°C consistently and on few days it hovered around 5°C and less. I spent anywhere between 15 minutes to 40 minutes training depending on the time and I managed to complete the full-distance at least twice a week, if not more. This gave me the confidence early on – that I could finish the distance without grasping for breath and in relatively quick time!

I prefer variety over mundane training and this included the route I chose each day. I measured a lot of distances within my town and the neighbouring two towns and came up with a lot of options. For a given distance, I had close to 5-6 route variations to choose from and this helped me a lot! Maybe, it is me and something to do with personal preference and my curiosity to explore more ‘routes’ within the distance I wanted to achieve.

The race day was a Sunday and I treated it  just like ‘any given Sunday’. Like I mentioned in my earlier posts, to me short-distance running is an extension of my lifestyle and not something I have to spend a lot of time. My race was scheduled at 18:35 and the weather conditions were not too bad or that was how I felt, minutes before the start. The beauty of Zürich Silvesterlauf is – that you get to run around the busiest parts of the city which on any other day or time is impossible. And once on the run, it was auto-pilot in action and I ran at my own pace without bothering what was happening around me, while soaking up the carnival atmosphere and managed to complete the race well within my target.


A day’s rest and the usual routine starts. Though there are no runs scheduled till the Spring time, I will use this time to get used to training in sub-zero temperatures and explore more on adapting to colder conditions. 

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