I am 10 days into my fitness regime in preparation for the Engadine marathon, a 26-mile cross-country ski race I’m doing for the first time on Sunday, March 10.
I entered last year but tripped over while out running a month beforehand and hurt my shoulder, so I went as a spectator instead.
This time I’m all booked up to go and it doesn’t look as though I will get out of it.
This didn’t really register until just under a month before race day, at which point I vowed to ‘do something’ every day – especially when I saw that among the other British racers entered are certain Middleton siblings who made impressive times in the much longer Vassaloppet last year.
Anyway, here’s how my preparation has turned out so far…
February 13 – 1hr yoga at lunchtime (ought to start gently, I reasoned…).
February 14 – 2 x circuits of Hyde Park on a Boris bike at lunchtime, as fast as I could, starting at Victoria (about 45min in total). It was warm, sunny, busy and pretty hazardous: I had a near-head-on with a Boris-tourist who didn’t know we Brits are used to riding on the left.
February 15 – In Scotland for a long weekend after getting the overnight sleeper train to Inverness. About 2hr of downhill skiing at Aviemore (little effort, much fun) and 90min walking up Cairngorm on skins (much effort, just as much fun).
February 16 – 90min of cross-country skiing on the excellent trails of Clashindarroch Forest on borrowed skating skis and boots, and a 50min hike to the top of the Cairngorm funicular on foot.
February 17 – Another 90min of cross-country skiing in Clashindarroch Forest – quite strenuous due to slushy conditions, and excellent sunny weather, so base-tan benefited, too.
February 18 – 1hr horse ride (more work for the horse).
February 19 – 2 x circuits of Hyde Park, as before and probably a bit faster; no near-collisions.
February 20 – 1 x circuit of Hyde Park on a Boris bike (25min).
February 21 – 4.2km on treadmill at lunchtime (25min).
February 22 – 1hr horse ride and a 20min walk. Does lots of vacuuming count?
February 23 – Zero! But a bit of stretching.
February 24 – 1hr fast walk.
February 25 – 45min fast walk and 30min run outdoors.
I’m aiming for more of the same over the next days. And while it’s hardly transforming me into a Middletonesque langlauf machine, hopefully it’ll be enough to make the race a bearable (at worst) or brilliant (at best) four-ish hours. Wish me luck!
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