Training camps in Switzerland

Breathtaking Alpine scenery coupled with super-efficient infrastructure makes the Swiss Alps a top destination for fitness and specialist training.

Training camps in Switzerland

There are few locations better suited to multi-discipline training than Switzerland. Locally-based cycling coach Tom Eeles explains what's on offer.

Why do so many of the world’s top athletes choose training camps in Switzerland? Honestly? It’s because of the Ice Age. Hundreds of millions of years ago glaciers carved out a landscape of mountains, lakes and valleys that is the perfect environment for athletes in training.

Need to train at altitude? No problem. Want to swim in pristine lakes? We’ve got you covered. Like cycling over epic cols with only cows and blue skies for company? Ride on!

If you are training for a triathlon, marathon or ultra-distance trail run, or are simply keen to enjoy some fabulous road cycling whilst working on your technique and fitness, then Switzerland has the training camp for you.

Insanely beautiful scenery combines with first-class infrastructure - perfect for busy amateur athletes fitting in real life around their sporting passions.

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GUIDE TO TRAINING CAMPS IN SWITZERLAND

Trail Running Camps in the Swiss Alps

Trail running
The stunning views of the Swiss Alps should provide the distraction you need as you up your running training.

If you’re a trail runner, the famous Sierre-Zinal trail event should be on your list. You can combine competing in this prestigious race with training runs high in the Valais Alps. Track & Trail's Swiss Alps Sky Runs, for example, are perfect for trail runners preparing to take on the Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc.

The views of Switzerland’s grand 4,000-metre peaks are a significant attraction, but the real beauty of this trip is that you are deep in the Zinal valley - this is authentic Switzerland, a place where us locals come to get away from the crowds of better-known spots such as Verbier and Zermatt.

Altitude Training Camps for Marathon Runners and Triathletes

High altitude training
Take on altitude camps used by the Swiss Olympic team.

For those training for a running event, be it a marathon, a half-marathon or a triathlon, get some valuable training at the altitude training camp used by the Swiss Olympic Team in St Moritz. 

By training, at almost 2,000 metres you’ll benefit in two distinct ways. Firstly, at this altitude, your cardiovascular system is forced to become more efficient. Secondly, your body responds by producing more red blood cells that carry oxygen to your muscles and carry away the lactic acid you’ll be racking up.

Cycling Training Camps in Switzerland

Cycling camps
Riding through the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland.

The Swiss Alps are a top destination for cyclists looking to challenge themselves. Take part in a local sportive event, or reach peak fitness on a cycling training camp. In addition to working on your fitness, training sessions typically cover techniques involved in group riding, climbing and descending - as well as sportive tactics. Most road surfaces are wonderfully smooth.

A week-long training camp schedule is perfect if you are training for Alpine events such as the Etape du Tour, La Marmotte, Haute Route or Maratona les Dolomites. Riders can expect to benefit from a support vehicle, on-the-road guides and all-inclusive accommodation.

Open-water Swimming

Open-water swimming
Lake Thun is one of a number of stunning destinations that you can enjoy open-water swimming training.

There are endless possibilities for some stimulating triathlon-swim training - including stunning high-altitude lakes if you don't mind cold water. Lucerne in the centre of Switzerland is a prime location: as well as the eponymous lake, nearby Sempachersee is used by the Swiss national triathlon team, while Lake Zurich is another possibility. Then there are lakes Brienz and Thun on either side of the resort town of Interla.

TOP 5 EXPERIENCES

1. Trail running on the UTMB

Follow part of the fabulous Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc as it winds its way across the high mountains of the Valais in southwest Switzerland.

2. Sierre-Zinal trail running event

The Sierre-Zinal trail race (a.k.a the Race of the Five 4,000-metre peaks) is considered by many to be the best in the world: 31km of ultra-glorious scenery with views of jagged snow-capped peaks.

3. Swimming in Lake Lucerne

Lake Lucerne is a favourite location for open-water swimming and triathlon training. It's easily accessible and set amid beautiful scenery, plus the water temperature is pretty warm in summer and early autumn.

4. Cyclotour du Léman Sportif

This wonderfully scenic sportif around the shores of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) takes place in late May. There are 60, 110 and 180km courses.

5. The Col de la Croix

In the mountains southeast of Montreux at an altitude of 1,778 metres, this spectacular col is one of the most challenging Alpine ascents for cyclists - a truly spectacular ride.

WHEN TO VISIT

Best times to go:

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Training camps generally operate from the middle of May until September. You can enjoy trail running in Switzerland from June through October; the St Moritz altitude camp is open from June to September.

There are numerous cycling and trail running events, as well as marathons, in the summer months around the country:

Cyclotour du Léman Sportive (May)

Alpenbrevet Sportive (August)

Granfondo Gottardo (July)

The Sierre-Zinal Trail Run (August)

The Lucerne Marathon (October)

Aletsch Half-marathon (June)

Swiss Alpin Marathon (July). Options include a mountain ultramarathon, the highest altitude marathon in Europe, and a half-marathon.

The Engadin Ultraks Trail (July)

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