Study the planimetric profile
It is very important to know the profile of the route, so request it in time from the organizer (you can often also find it on the event homepage) and save it. It is particularly interesting to examine the relationship between steep and flat sections. In both shorter runs and mountain marathons, the last section is often the steeper one. In the Jungfrau-Marathon, for example, the first half, which goes up to Lauterbrunnen, is still quite moderate, but then suddenly becomes steeper. Try to include sections with similar climbs in your training to get used to running on different slopes and to find out what pace you can keep.
Before a mountain run, you should warm up very well and prepare both the body and the muscles and tendons/ligaments. You may want to warm up by running for about 15-25 minutes. Also, enter short runs with a progressive increase in pace and stretch the calf muscles, because, depending on the altitude profile, in the race, they will be immediately put to the test.
Adjust the stride length
Choosing a stride of the right length helps to save energy. Here’s a rule of thumb: The steeper the route, the shorter the step length should be. Starting at 20 percent inclines, it may be more efficient to walk and help yourself by, for example, placing your hands on your thighs. With an efficient walking technique, you do not lose ground or lose it only negligibly compared to those who keep running, but you avoid muscle soreness due to lactic acidosis and you can keep your heart rate lower.
Pay close attention to downhill passages, especially at the start of a race. The adrenaline charge you have in your body and therefore the greater propensity to risk increases the danger of falling and the impacts suffered by the muscles are paid later in the race. Therefore, you also run downhill by taking short steps at a high cadence and trying to cushion shocks by bending backward. Concentrate well on the trail, even if the view is so beautiful.
Draw up a time schedule
To organize a suitable program for the race, you should roughly estimate how long you will need for the various sections of the course. Since this depends on the elevation and terrain, it is difficult to create formulas with general validity. However, a rough rule of thumb can help you: Compared to running on flat terrain, 100 meters of altitude difference corresponds to a flat course of about 600-700 meters. An example: if in a mountain run you cover a distance of 1000 meters exceeding 100 meters in altitude, the time you need will be more or less what you would need for a distance of about 1600-1700 meters on the plane. In other words: for such passes multiply your average time per kilometer by a factor of 1.6 or 1.7.
Wear warm clothes after the race ends
In the euphoria of the finish, don’t forget that your body is tired and in particular needs heat, liquids and rest. So make sure you have warm, dry clothing available in the finish area. Most of the organizers arrange for the transport of clothes to the finish area for this purpose. As in competitions on flat ground, it is necessary to ensure a sufficient supply of liquids immediately after the competition, also providing for the integration of carbohydrate reserves (liquid or solid foods) to ensure rapid regeneration.