Another run-up to the best shape of the season, towards World Mountain Running Champs – Canillo 2018, goes through Sestriere.
Nested at the junction between Val Chisone and Valle di Susa, it’s basically a mountain pass and a popular high altitude training location since the 1980s, when Italy’s greatest distance runners came here to prepare for the most important events of the season.
Gelindo Bordin was the main man; his legends echo on almost every trail you step on from 1800m to 3200m. Helped by coach Luciano Gigliotti, he also built Sentiero Bordin, a 6km flat traverse at 2200m on the slopes of Monte Fraiteve, whose views and up and downs I never get tired of.
However, my favorite training location is Valle Argentera (pictured above, before a warm-up). The variety of trails and roads allows to find that any surface – any distance type of environment which is great for middle distance runners, marathoners and mountain runners.
After Sierre-Zinal I took a short break from hard training – just the time to spend a couple of days in the beautiful Chamonix Valley and come back home to harvest our potatoes.
Then I raced in Susa at Challenge Stellina, the mountain race I’ve run most times (fifth participation this year). After taking second behind Norwegian Johan Bugge on the original course in its 30th anniversary, running slightly over 1h20′ which represents the excellence (only 10 men in history have been capable of faster times), I came to Sestriere to sharpen my shape for WMRC Canillo 2018.
The adjustment was pretty quick and in just three days I was running the first workout with Martin and Bernard Dematteis, Henry Aymonod and Nadir Cavagna in Valle Argentera.
Kilometers are accumulating, legs are getting leaner. As far as I’m concerned, the difference in training is made by the possibility to rest properly and plenty – something I never get enough when I’m at home. I have time for napping in the afternoon and sleeping eight hours per night, and also studying a bit, writing, hanging out with my favorite people.
It’s great to be back with Henry Aymonod, the talent with whom I shared my first room here in Sestriere back in 2014. He adds that bit of craziness to the usual training routine; he seems to have an infinite amount of energy. He also brought a couple of road bikes that we like to use in the afternoon, after the main morning session.
That’s all for now, we are getting ready for a fartlek on Sentiero Bordin this morning. Let’s see what I can pull out!