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Altitude training in Switzerland?

Altitude training in Switzerland?

If I didn't feel as though my training was complete before, there's no question it is now.  Like the last three September Weekend holidays, we've taken the opportunity to visit family in Switzerland. I know taking the kids out of school is frowned upon, but to get a 6 day break, the opportunity to see family, and really cheap flights was too good to resist.  Hence, I'm writing this blog entry from my sister-in-law's balcony, looking at the rather decadent view of Lake Geneva, with a backdrop of Mont Blanc and the French Alps - stunning.  

We arrived on Wednesday and I did a 9 mile leisurely run into Montreux and back - first run in 8 days.  I say leisurely, but it is literally downhill the whole way to Montreux, with the return leg a constant climb, including an ample quantity of hairpin bends to negotiate.  It was a road run, however passing field after field of vineyards with constant views of the lake and Alps made this such an enjoyable run.  

Its a strange feeling when you really cut down your training a couple of weeks before the race.  You know your body needs to recover and get as fresh as possible for race day, but there is a natural instinct within that says 'I need to get out and run', or 'what if my fitness drops'?  Some people even complain of feeling sluggish or needing to get another few good runs in.  My problem is my body still wants to eat the same amount of food, but I'm not going to burn it off.  I have a monstrous appetite at the best of time, but there's something about the purity of the air and the altitude where we are in Switzerland, that makes me even more ravenous.  Here's hoping my metabolism doesn't slow too much over the next week!  

I replaced my long run last Sunday with taking part in the Sun Salutation marathon classes we ran at balance, with all takings going to Motor Neurone Disease Scotland.  The class, taken by Michelle Shields, was continuous sun salutation sequences for an hour, and highlighted brilliantly which parts of my body were tight.  None more so than my hamstring muscles (back of the thighs), which haven't felt a workout like that since last year's corresponding class.  As much as I do stretch before and after every run, and the days in between, there's no question the long runs and the hills do shorten the muscles.  I can't stress the importance of stretching for muscle recovery and reducing the loading through the joints.

A few more days in sunny Switzerland, one more run, daily yoga practise and some muscle-pummelling, with more of the same in my final week.

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