There are several rumors circulating that the women of Lausanne have the best legs, and who are we to argue with them? Walking the city of three hills is not for the weary, but what about running it?
The Lausanne 20km race is known for its steady but challenging climb up from the lakeside to the Cathedral, weaving through the best streets of the city. It’s such a special race because of the energy—it’s as if the city has come alive with an outpouring of support. And whether or not you’re training for this race, or any other for that matter, it can be difficult to find the kind of run that’s a balance between enjoying yourself and pushing yourself. We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite running routes in and around the city, and some tips if you’re planning to run our personal favorite race this autumn: the 20km de Lausanne
3.1 km, 7.5 km, 12 km
First off, we love almost every trail at Chalet-a-Gobet (which we affectionately refer to as CHAG). Its expansive and fairly flat trails allow you to cover some good distance while being in the midst of mother nature’s glory. You can choose from a 3.1km, 7.5km, or 12km loop – just follow the color coordinated trail markings, which admittedly are sometimes hard to see. The good news is, it’s tough to get lost in CHAG—even if you get off of your designated trail, you’ll always find your way back onto a loop…unless you end up in Froideville, but that’s another story.
~5km / ~10km
Ouchy to Lutry / Lutry to Ouchy
We love running from Ouchy to Lutry along the scenic sidewalk that hugs the lake and it’s a perfect 5km distance for those shorter casual runs. If you want to make a longer run of it, just turn around and make the trip back to double it to 10km. Tip: If you’re planning some speed or interval training, get easily annoyed with running around people, or want to avoid the additional protein of several ingested gnats, skip this route.
Belmont-sur-Lausanne – Grandvaux – and back
This is one of our go-to runs, and we often get readers asking us where it is when we post about it because #lakeviews. It starts in Belmont-sur-Lausanne close to the Hôtel-Restaurant Le Belmont with a panoramic view of Lavaux and the lake. There’s about 1km or so of running along a busy road, but then you enter some gorgeous countryside with views of the lake below. You’ll be along a road the whole time, but you won’t mind with the views both ways. It’s relatively flat and nice for a good, steady run.
Pont du Chailly – Belmont Sur Lausanne – and back
We live around this neighborhood so it’s an obvious running path choice, but we’ve crossed paths with several other Lausanne runners from different areas on this route as well. Start around Pont du Chailly and make your way on the sidewalk toward the Bois de la Chenaulaz along Boulevard de la Foret. It’s a gorgeous run (especially in the autumn when the leaves are showing off) with a steady climb toward Belmont-Sur-Lausanne. And once you’re at the top, you can drink in the view as your reward before you turn around and make your way back down.
Tour de Haldimand – St. Sulpice (Parc du Pélican) and back
If you like lakeside running but don’t love the skinny pathway leading toward Lutry, try heading the other direction all the way to St. Sulpice. You’ll get plenty of entertainment between the people watching and the lake admiring, but the paths are wider and a bit more accommodating for runners. We love this run because it’s a solid 12km that is relatively flat, and for some reason it just passes by quickly and we don’t realize we’ve been running (and talking) the whole time.
~15 km – 18 km
St. Saphorin – Ouchy
This is one of those runs that comes later on in your training, and it’s the perfect balance of steadiness and variation. We don’t know about you, but for us, it’s tough to do a longer run that isn’t either a loop or one way; there’s nothing more discouraging than running a significant distance and then having to turn around and cover the same path again. Take the train one-way to St. Saphorin and run along the lake road back to Lausanne. The best is to time it so that the sun is setting in Lausanne close to your arrival: the pink and purple sky over Lac Léman is a wonderful backdrop as you stretch and give yourself a pat on the back for completing such a feat.
TLG TIP: One of our friends who also happens to be an elite-running coach/founder of Tribu Performance advised us to work in elevation runs for the 20km de Lausanne. He suggested at the end of a run, finishing off with a climb similar to the likes of Avenue d’Ouchy. We would start right at the bottom and run as fast (which wasn’t fast) as we could up to the Royal Savoy and repeat it 2-3 times. Even though it was awful, we must say it helped us prepare for that kind of leg and lung work in the race.