Munich is often perceived as the most glamorous of German cities. And that just might be true as it’s home to the rich Bavarian culture and tradition. But don’t assume beautiful old buildings, fancy neighborhoods and the Oktoberfest are the only dominant themes of the city.
With the Isar river navigating its way through the Bavarian capital, lush riverbanks of green aren’t hard to find – a major reason why Munich is so close to Olympian Alexandra Burghardt’s heart. And when you’re an Olympic athlete, home as to be a special place. A place that motivates and inspires. A place that supports Olympic level training programs but also lets you unwind during downtime.
Olympic level guidance
To prove to you that Munich possesses all of these qualities, we found a guide that’s home on whatever ground you can run fast on – 100m in 11.01 seconds fast. But for our insider’s guide to running Munich, Olympic sprinter Alexandra Burghardt switches from the race track to her favorite running routes through the city Bavarians lovingly dub ‘Minga’.
“My biggest connection to Munich is definitely sports.”, she manifests. And after attending the 2007 Track and Field Eurocup in the old Olympic Stadium here, there was no end to her hunger to one day race in the stadium herself. Ever since, she considers herself ‘married to the game’ and spends her days training and racing the fastest women on earth. “Running has allowed me to meet so many people, discover new cultures and places. It means so much more to me than just working out and sweating – it’s pure joy and excitement.”
After some bad luck with injuries, she tipped the scales by meeting her current physiotherapist through a random encounter in a café. Under his expertise, the explosive Bavarian finally managed to fight back to the top and promptly bagged gold both in the 100m and 200m race at the 2021 German Championships. Now, she’s looking forward to realizing her childhood dream when she races in the Munich Olympic Stadium during the upcoming 2022 European Championships.
Well, when you’re visiting Munich’s top coffee spots as frequently as Alexandra is, you’re gonna run into the right people there sooner or later. “Every coffee lover’s heart beats a little faster in Munich. There’s too many cute cafés.” She actually never races without finding a good coffee somewhere in the morning.
But unlike Alexandra, we will do our running first and drink coffee later. Let’s start with her favorite running routes through the city, from 5k to 10k and 15k.
5K: Alexandra’s Olympic Playground
For our first route, Alexandra invites us to what has become her second home over the years: the Olympic Park. Here, she not only trains close to the stadium or on public tracks, but makes use of the park’s natural inclines and stairs. “There’s an almost endless array of possibilities to get a workout in.”, she declares.
On the emotional side, this route has all it needs to get Alexandra’s motivation to Olympic levels as well: “The Olympic Spirit of 1972 can be felt at every corner here. And the lake is so beautiful as it reflects the surrounding nature in its water – perfect to soak it all in before the run.” So let’s go and feel what makes the Olympic Park the perfect location for our 5K run.
5k Route - Training Playground Olympiapark
We start close to the eastern end of the Olympic Lake and proceed to run in between some of the old game sites that are still in use today – “Don’t miss the concerts and events in the Olympic Hall!”, Alexandra adds. Continuing on the circular route through the lush greens of the park, the variety of opportunities to improve your stamina, strength and speed are hard to miss. And above all, the Olympic Stadium that will host Alexandra for the 2022 European Championships is never far away, which definitely serves as a healthy dose of inspiration and motivation to her.
Before we return to our starting point, Alexandra encourages every runner to finish off their 5K run with a sprint up the Olympic Mountain – not only for a great workout, but a scenic view over Munich as well.
For Alexandra’s 5K run:
Light, fast and fully cushioned. Take on training and racing in complete comfort.
10K: Alexandra’s Munich Essentials
As a Sprinter, a 10K run isn’t on her usual training menu. This route however passes numerous worthwhile sights that justify a couple of quick breaks along the way. The starting point of our 10K route is the peaceful Isar river, right in the heart of Munich. We run along the riverbank for a while until we cross over to the other side and return into the city center.
After a long straight along the river, we turn left and pass the expansive English Garden before venturing into Munich’s lively city center. Here, we become witness to the many faces of the city: peaceful nature, a historic old town, young and hip neighborhoods right next to fancy shopping districts.
10k Route - Isar & City Highlights
During our stint through the city, Alexandra can’t stop raving about her favorite places to grab a good coffee with friends: “The Sweetspot Café is my clear-cut favorite in Munich. Especially because I can always meet my friends who work there.”. Other highlights on the route include the Viktualienmarkt for a healthy dose of good food, Gärtnerplatz and its surrounding area of shops, bars and more and the world-famous Eisbachwelle – just in case you want to trade your running shoes for a surfboard every once in a while.
After reaching our final destination of the 10K route, be sure to check out a true Munich rarity: a 24/7 kiosk at Reichenbachbrücke. Great for a refreshing drink after your run and to enjoy beautiful sunsets.
For longer runs:
The performance shoe for maximum cushioning on road runs – from 5k to a marathon.
15K: Peace in the City
We mentioned it before, but now it’s time to actually go there for our 15K run: the English Garden.
When it comes to short shake-our runs, evenings with friends and, of course, longer runs, the English Garden is your perfect escape into nature in Munich.
15k Route - Peace in the City
As Alexandra is constantly training hard to push her 100m and 200m sprints to the next level, a 15K run isn’t a recommended part of her training. Most of you on the other hand, have no excuse not to give this one a go.
The great things is, the English Garden offers so many different paths and routes that everybody can find their own way to clock up the 15K without having to plan ahead much. And afterwards you won’t be in a rush to get out of there since it has everything you need to relax and unwind after a long day on your feet.
What Alexandra is wearing
The running jacket for ultralight protection whatever the weather. Made with high-tech Japanese fabrics, it’s the perfect companion for wild runs.
Waterproof and windproof breathable anorak.
Protection, not restriction with the weightless vest that weatherproofs your run. The shield you can trust when you can’t rely on the weather.
Performance Long T
The casual top that’s light yet protective, simple yet sophisticated, casual yet made for high performance.
Ultralight close-fit shorts for all distances.
From running to workouts, these two-in-one shorts are perfect for performers who want to double down on training.
Designed to keep you moving in colder conditions, these high-stretch tights offer the length you need to keep warm.
The standout performance running sock that always has you covered. A statement of intent for your run.
This hoodie combines classic functionality with new tech details. The result? A relaxed fit, woven with performance.
Alexandra’s Munich Essentials
Great food after a taxing run:
Aloha Poké – Fresh Poké to recharge and help your muscles recover
Rootine – Healthy juices to replenish on nutrients
Eataly – Hearty Italian dishes to treat yourself for that new PB
For special occasions:
Brasserie Colette – French dining in the heart of Munich
Trader Vic’s – Polynesian specialties to try something new
Can’t miss spots and activities:
Grab a coffee at the Sweetspot Café
Attend a concert at Königsplatz
Get lost in the many shops and cafés around Gärtnerplatz
Alexandra’s Pro Running Tips
“Don’t start too fast! I’m guilty of that one too from time to time…Rather start too slow than too fast. It’s simply much more fun.”
“Don’t aim too high from the start. Give yourself a break along the route and get to know your limits before approaching them with more confidence.”
“Visualize your goals to remind yourself what you are doing it for. You will be overflowing with drive and the feeling after a hard workout is unlike anything else – because you know you just got better than before.”
“Run with your glutes! It’s this huge muscle we have and I used to forget about it. Make sure you use it.”
Alexandra’s Olympic Insights
“Embrace the power of your mentality. I have continuously worked on that part of my game over the last two years – always visualizing how I want to approach things and how they should work out in the end.”
“Learn to control your emotions. Negative emotions can limit you while positive ones ignite such force within you.”
“Put the focus right on the moment you’re in. As a sprinter you’re in complete silence and then you have to explore forward with no room for error. That’s the toughest part of sprinting but also the most exciting one.”
Your Challenge to win fast-paced prizes
Feeling anxious to test the routes yourself? What are you waiting for, step into your running shoes and off you go. We have placed a special segment on Alexandra’s 10K route for you to run and compete with other Munich runners. But that’s not your sole motivation:
For the lucky winners of the accompanying raffle, we have some pretty spectacular prizes in store:
3x head-to-toe On outfit (Jacket, Shirt, Short, Socks, Shoes)
3x your shoe of choice
3x the Weather Jacket
How to join? Use the Strava activity to participate or take a screenshot of your activity and sign up.
Sign Up Below: