Interview with Judith Wyder

19. April 2022

Foto: Romina Amato for Wings for Life World Run

After five orienteering World Championship titles, Judith Wyder started a second career as a trail runner and immediately shook up the scene. She celebrated her greatest success with her victory in the overall ranking of the Golden Trail World Series. 

After your successful orienteering career, you dared to become a trail runner. What are the similarities, what are the differences?

For me, orienteering is one of the most beautiful sports in the world. Running through the forests while continuously navigating my way to the posts as quickly as possible gives a constant feeling of happiness and great flow! However, orienteering requires a lengthy period of preparation in the different types of terrain at home and abroad, which was no longer compatible with my family. 

Running in the mountains gives me an incredible feeling of happiness too! Discovering great, new routes and enjoying the views is beautiful and motivating! I wanted to see what else I can physically achieve and how I can develop in trail running. My training now focuses more on trail and mountain running, but it's still very much the same. Unlike before, I can now train from home, which fits in well with my family!

Trail running and orienteering are both "marginal sports", which have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. But I do both sports purely due to the wonderful challenge and great experiences during training and at competitions! 

More and more runners are toying with the idea of running a trail or ultra race. What are your three key tips to make it a success?

Being curious about the trails and the discovery of new routes will help you take this step. Trail running is any run that does not take place on paved roads. There are therefore also competitions with very different technical requirements and lengths ranging from 8 km to 350 km. It does not always have to be an ultra (>42 km)!

It is important to also do downhill training and regularly incorporate speed units on the mountain. Good core and leg muscles also help to prevent injuries.  

You are a physiotherapist, coach, and mother of 2 children. How do you organise a typical day to fit in your training, job, and family?

I have been working independently in our own business indurance GmbH (which organises trail running and cross-country skiing weekends) since 2018 and as an athlete but no longer as a physiotherapist. Good planning and great flexibility is very important when it comes to work, sports, and the children! Above all, the flexibility to adapt my training to bad nights, sick children, or absent childcare, and always find the best possible solutions for everyone helps me to get through my everyday life with a lot of positive emotions. Thanks to the support from my husband, grandparents, and the nursery/playgroup, we can enjoy many hours together with the kids but also have time for ourselves and for work.

You’ve also struggled with health problems over the past few years. What are your top three tips to ensure a high follows a break and a low?

I think this is always highly individual and difficult!

  1. After a setback, it’s okay to be sad and unmotivated for a certain period of time.
  2. Then you need to draw up a precise plan so you can take small (realistic) steps towards your competitions/training/goals. But it is important that this plan remains flexible so you can always experience small positive moments.
  3. A good environment helps you to stay on track and also see "distractions" as something very positive. This environment affects the medical environment with regards to an injury. But for me, my family is a very important (if not the most important) factor in getting out of a low! It gives me strength and lots of beautiful moments! 

Do you have an insider tip with regards to training, equipment, nutrition, or recovery?

When it comes to the balance between sport, exercise and family, recovery and nutrition in particular are often overlooked! Make sure you take time out for yourself, plan days off from training, and eat a well-balanced diet after training. If time is short, a homemade shake is also really great and easy to make.