Marathon training week 9 – hiking 

Well this week involved one day of travelling, four days of hiking, one day of recovering / travelling and one day in Cartagena, Colombia. As you can imagine, not much running or cross-training was done on my four day hike!

Run 1 – the long one was in fact instead a long hike, around 47km or 30 miles, with a LOT of elevation gain. Think numerous hour-long climbs with a rucksack on your back. Day 2 was the hardest, with 6 hours of walking (not including stops), most of which was uphill. We were walking to the Ciudad Perdida in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada, a hidden pre-Columbian city that is still a sacred place for the indigenous people who lived in the mountains. More of that in another blog post! 


Run 2 – the short run

Only the one actual run this week due to the hiking! Mum and I spent the weekend in Cartagena, a colonial town on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. On Sunday morning we woke up shortly after dawn and headed out to run around the old city. It was a beautiful run, most of it up on the old city walls, and otherwise running alongside the sea. 

We thought the run would be longer but ended up completing our circle around the city at around 5.5km. I have to say it was really nice not to be running at altitude and not to have any hills to run up – but on the other hand it was so humid!!! By the time we finished, although the sun was still hiding behind clouds, the humidity was really lying on its thickly and we were glad to be back in our air-conditioned room for a shower and breakfast!

Cross-training: as we were pretty much on the go from dawn to dusk every day and sleeping in bunk beds or hammocks that were basically outside, there was really no time or space for any cross -training! Or to put it another way, the whole week was cross-training. We did 17 hours 45 minutes of exercise this week, including one Fitstar Yoga session, one run and all the hiking. I’m counting all the hiking as it was certainly not easy! My heart rate was sky high a lot of the time as we were climbing up steep slopes or the over 1000 old stone steps leading into the Lost City! 3,500m or 11,400 feet of altitude gain is not to be sniffed at!

Best marathon training eat: either the wonderful Radio Burger burgers in Santa Marta, the evening after we finished our hike – a treat just to be clean! – or an incredible afternoon snack on Saturday, after we had been in a bus over lunch time. We went to the wonderful Mila Vargas in Cartagena and shared a chocolate brownie and a lemon tart… I ate so many of these in Madrid and was really missing a good lemon tart. This one did not disappoint!

Something fun that was nothing to do with training: errrrrm that whole hiking business? The views were just absolutely incredible – that’s what you get when you drive for an hour off-road to even get to the start of the trail! We also met some wonderfully interesting people and just generally had a fantastic (although not easy!) time. As I said above, a full blog post will come with all the gory, dirty details, and lots and lots of photos!

Marathon training inspiration: my inspiration this week is my mum. She is also doing Brighton Marathon with me – her first ever and she is in her late 50s. She only began running a few years ago. Shortly before coming out to visit me in Colombia she went and ran 30km (18.6 miles) all by herself, without any fuel and only a little bit of water. And she ran all the way. On the last main climb of our four day hike, she powered to the top ahead of everyone else until two fit men in their late 20s overtook her right at the end. I reached the top a few minutes later to be told by all them that my mum was ridiculously strong – one whispered to me in an incredulous tone “she was leading the way right until the end!” Of course, I just grinned because I wasn’t surprised at all! After her victory, she tripped on the downhill and is now sporting an impressive black eye and cut up face – but mum and I were still the first to reach the village at the end of the hike! A real inspiration to me 😀



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