Wow! It’s been an incredibly hot last few weeks here in the Mid-West. Getting up early to run is the only way to avoid the really high temperatures, but then the humidity levels are much greater in the morning too – so there’s really been no way to avoid it. Europe awaits however, and a reprieve from the humidity and heat is going to be a welcome change to my training routine.
Our new training base of choice while in Europe is a town in the Umbria region of Italy, called Spoleto. Up at around 2000 feet of altitude, the humidity levels are very low, and although the sun is scorching during the peak hours of the day, the mornings are beautifully crisp for longer runs, and the evenings are perfectly warm for pasta and gelato in the town’s piazzas.
Being near the mountains, Spoleto also offers a rare gem for runners – despite the summer heat, the nearby river remains icy cold. This allows me to stand waste deep after runs, and ice my legs, with the sun preventing me from freezing – it’s like the opposite sensation from sitting in a spa pool during the winter!Follow @nickwillis
Reflecting back on how we came to be connected with this local community in one of the most beautiful parts of the world still amazes me. We initially followed Sierra’s sister, who was working at an opera festival in Spoleto. Soon after arriving we met some of the local runners, and they were so incredibly welcoming and helpful, that we became instant friends with many. Not a day of our four weeks there last summer did I run alone. Even on hard track sessions, the local club runners would take turns running two-hundred meter portions of my repetitions to make sure I was helped out the whole way.
The Olympics are the reason for this trip we embark on tonight, but Sierra and I eagerly anticipate our return to Spoleto as a much added bonus to the campaign. Pizza, Gelato and fresh pasta await, but first up is an eight-hundred meter race in Heusden, Belgium on Saturday, July 7th, which will be used to help bust the jet-lag out of my system.