My last long run is done and the race is just around the corner. My legs feel strong and my mind is psyched to get started now. I’ve wanted to return to Cortina since discovering this beautiful alpine town last year while climbing the classic Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Now I’m heading back on Wednesday to race in a stunning and difficult trail race.

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Running is hard on your body, there is no doubt, and, your body needs to develop the strength and resistance for the miles you put it through. However, putting your body through too many miles without the relative strength, stability and mobility opens you up for injury and, potential, missing your race.

As I train for The North Face Ultra Trail de Lavaredo, I’ve been working on protecting my body and getting stronger.

Here is a session I completed with a group of ultra distant runners using body weight movements.

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As I sit on a lift going back up for another ski run, tie onto the rope for another lap, or catch my breath before running up another hill I can’t help feeling like I’m cheating, that I’ve given myself an advantage over myself in previous years. Strength has given me a capacity to do just one more route, one more lap, and these extra efforts are what are allowing me to improve. Step by step. Is it cheating?

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Big Mountain Dreams

What are you training for right now? What is on your wish list that, maybe, you’ve not started training for yet? I’ve been ticking along recently, which has been a much needed gear to be running in but I’ve recently been feeling the need for something more. For picking an objective and committing to the work that will be required to get from where I am now, to where I need to be then.

I have dreams to climb big mountains, via big routes, over big days in the hill, and that means I need to get in shape.

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Amazon, Apple, and Google are just a few of the many great businesses that started in garages. Now we can add to that illustrious list: The.. um.. Mountain Foundry. Joking aside, this feels like very big moment for me. From the moment I started training people, the idea of having a space with my own equipment and vibe was constantly been at the back of my mind, now it is a reality.

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I have been so excited about coming back to London to study and hopefully qualify as a personal trainer – it is the culmination of several years hard work, life changing decisions, and listening to that little voice deep inside me. As exciting as that is, I knew I was going to be missing Chamonix, the mountains, and the training that being based there enables. Not one to be dissuaded, I have managed to keep on top of my training with the awesome help of some people.

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Last week I made it to the halfway point in my intensive personal training course at Fitness Industry Education and passed my tests as a gym instructor. The course has been really eye opening – I knew I would learn a lot but some nuggets of information have been real keepers. I wanted to share them with you here.

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At 11pm Sophie turns to me and, with a look that is hard to say no to, says ‘Can we get up for sunrise and go swim in Lake Passy?’. I pause for a second too long and so she presses on, ‘We can take the kettlebells and have a proper training session down there…?’. It’s hard to say no to Sophie at the best of times but a 5am wake up call for a cold swim should be easy to refuse. As she topped up my glass of whiskey, my judgement got the better of me and I agreed to this very Sophie idea.

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All three of us are breathing hard, sweating profusely, and sneaking glances at the clock counting down the seconds. We’re halfway through the third and final set of a new kettlebell training session and we’re all feeling the effort and exertion. Looking up at the stunning blue skies over the mammoth Aiguille du Midi, our objective for tomorrow, encourages me to dig a little deeper, push a little harder, and not give up.

This is my third attempt at creating a kettlebell class and I think this is a keeper.

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I’ve changed. I can see it in the mirror but, most importantly, I feel it inside – in my general well being, my state of mind, and my drive and motivation. It hasn’t come easy, there has been a huge amount of sacrifice, and I’ve worked very hard to re-educate my body and re-align my requirements. The results? I’ve lost 2 stone, countless inches, sleeping incredibly, and, to top it all off, I’ve the beginnings of abs.

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