cross training: skiing

Not an option for everyone granted, but when you’ve got a ski-slope at the end of your road, you’ve got to give it a go occasionally.  Skiing is fantastic cross training as it gives you an arse of steel and quads of iron.  Obviously it can also give you a broken leg but we tried not to consider the implications of that as we headed up on the chairlift.  With the snow pelting into our faces and a stiff breeze near the top, I learned something else about skiing:  it makes you tough.  Still, what fun we had.  It was near white out and the “piste” had up to 2 feet of snow in places but this kept the crowds away and we had the place to ourselves – lucky really as we are genuinely awful skiers and run the risk of either maiming someone, or dying of embarrassment, or both in fact, in a crowded environment.

We were much improved after our glühwein break, although whether this was genuine improvement or distorted perception of reality will never be known.

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brrrrr…how to run when it’s brass monkeys

The temperature hasn’t been above -10 for three days now.  Balmy by Montreal standards granted, but bloody parky to a soft midlander like myself.  An hours gentle trot on packed snow and ice, spikes a must, took me through the Leutasch Valley towards Gaistal, and back via the Leutaschersee. The mountains were just turning pink and layers of ethereal mist hovered just above the valley floor. I must admit that I hesitated before removing my mittens to take a few photos but couldn’t resist trying to capture the eerie mood.

What a magical hour.  Made all the better by coming home to hot shower, Steaming Muligatawny soup and a blazing fire.

it's now -15 outside. Thank god for this lovely stove and lots of wood.

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Cross training by toboggan

Yesterday it finally stopped snowing and after a hard morning of DIY, we were ready to do something fun.  So we grabbed the sledge and headed at a steady walk up Hohe Sattel.  This tough hill usually makes up our tempo run, but today was all about fresh air and fun.  What stunning views at the top.  The trees were just turning golden in the late afternoon sun and it felt like the end of the rainbow.  A few minutes to take in the view and then…. whey hey back down again.


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And still it snows…

I had to post these photos as a record of this crazy snow. I’m starting to worry about our roof under all the weight.  Still, I’ll have great toned arms if all this snow shovelling continue.

These photos were taken at lunchtime during a gentle trot around the Leutascher See. The snow continues to fall heavily, as it has been for three solid days now.wouldn't fancy stading under there for long  All the trees are completely leaden and the roofs have over a metre of cover.

50 minutes of gentle and relaxing running and I’d come up with a few new years resolutions.  Nothing interesting enough to share so I won’t bore anyone, but it did make me think how well the mind seems to work when the legs are going round.

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welcome to Narnia. Runners’ food: mulligatawny soup

An hour long running tour through Narnia: certainly the first run I’ve ever had where I should have worn goggles.  Still it wasn’t cold and it was pretty.  This photo was actually taken at 2pm, giving some idea of the visibility.

Back home and hungry, I made the most of the leftover roast chicken from yesterday and cooked this lovely warming soup.  It ticks all the boxes for runners’ food: filling, protein, carbs and nutritious (and of course delicious) so I thought I’d add it to the recipe directory. This would be suitable after a normal run, or a long run (just eat more!).

Mulligatawny Soup (adapted from Soups for all seasons, Liz Herbert)

1 onion chopped

1 carrot diced

1 clove garlic minced

1 small spud diced

knob of butter

2 cloves

2 cooked chicken thighs diced (I used the leftovers from a roast chicken)

 125g rice (I used wild rice)

1 litre chicken stock

1 tbsp curry powder

2 tomatoes (diced with seeds removed)

1) melt the butter and then sweat the onions, garlic carrot and potato over a low heat for 10 minutes in a large pan.

2) add the curry powder and stir for a minute.

3) add the stock,tomatoes and cloves, and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.

4) add the rice and chicken and continue to simmer with the lid on until the rice is cooked (about 10 minutes).

5) Remove the cloves, season to taste and eat. Yum.

By the way, I wouldn’t advise eating three bowls like I did or you might not be able to move all evening. Very very filling indeed.


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snow snowy run

Had to share a couple of a quick photos I took yesterday on my short run at dusk.  The paths had been cleared earlier in the day but the snow came so thick and fast yesterday that there was still a good few inches underfoot.  I may be running like a tractor this winter, but at least my knees and ankles should be strong!

There were several walkers about, this being the tourist season and all, but all called a cheery welcome as we made our way through the thick snow.

So peaceful.

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new year running resolutions

What a crazy time christmas is. What with the arrival of the first guests in the holiday apartment, umpteen wonderful friends and family members over from the UK and an unwelcome knock in the car, running went pretty much out of the window. Now the guests have gone and there is finally enough time to get back to some winter training.

fetish gear for trail runners

fetish gear for trail runners

We’re so lucky here in Leutasch, as the council clears the walking trails for tourists. This means that there is always somewhere to run, even after a metre of snow. Most runners that I see just wear trail shoes, but I feel happier with my spikes on, especially down hill.

After a layoff of a few weeks, I’m going to start gently today with a hour of slow to steady running.  Over the next few days I’ll start to add some faster tempo sections, although it’s hard to move very fast on the snow so I tend to concentrate on base building in the winter.  The thing I won’t be doing is stressing about the time lost over christmas.  It’s too late to get that back, so throughout January I’ll be building up to  lots of steady longer runs and not worrying too much about the pace. Feedback and photos of today’s wintery run to follow later….

11pm update.  Well the best laid plans and all that.  An improptu drop in from the yoga teacher delayed the start of my run so I eventually set out at 5pm armed with a headtorch.  It still wasn’t to be though as after 8 minutes a nice lady from the doctors rung me on my mobile to say that my cousin had had a skiing accident and needed collection.  Quick couple of snaps and then back home to get the car.  Cousin was luckily just bruised and shaken. Mañana mañana.

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lovely trail run in the autumn sunshine

Sometimes when out running, something clicks.  Today, as the sun shone through the colourful trees, the frost still covered the shadows and the trails were peaceful, all the stressful thoughs that have been fighting for space in my head were forgotten and suddenly life was good.

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runners’ food: chicken with cauliflower

tastes better than it looks thank god.

Runner’s food should always be nutritious or delicious, or hopefully both.  Tonight I made the best of the autumnal veg with this tasty low-calorie meal which will surely satisfy even the biggest of appetites.




Ingredients (for 1)

Chicken breast

curry powder

red cabbage sliced

half a small cauliflower

75 ml skimmed milk

half a stock cube (veg or chicken).


Break the cauliflower into small florets and put in a pan with the milk and the stock cube. Put the lid on and heat on medium heat so the milk simmers but doesn’t boil.

Slice the chicken breast into strips then add curry powder (2 tbsp) to coat all over.

When the cauliflower is nearly tender, put a frying pan on a medium heat with some veg oil.  When hot, wipe the oil around and away with kitchen roll, then add the chicken.

after 5 minutes, add the red cabbage and keep stirring.

Blend the cauliflower into a puree with a hand blender.

Serve the chicken and cabbage on top of the puree.


This meal is low carb, so it won’t fuel you up for marathon training, but it is nice and filling, so it’s a great option if you want to watch your weight without going hungry.


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first snow

miserable weather, dramatic sky

Running: sometimes it’s hard to get out of the door, especially when the weather is rotten.  A cold-snap over the last few days has brought the first snow to Leutasch, along with slushy wet cold weather that would test even the strongest runner’s resolve. However, there are a few little tricks that can help to get over the inertia and out on the trails.  First, I put on my running kit.  Then I have a cup of tea (and pray for a caffeine boost). Then I tell myself that I will only do 20 minutes, 10 minutes to try and if I still feel that I don’t want to continue then, 10 minutes to get back home again.  This rarely happens but on the few occasions that it does, I can come home happy in the knowledge that I’ve tried.  Yesterday was a case in point, low energy and grim weather ganging up on my good intentions to do a long run. Eventually, I donned hat and gloves, along with trail-shoes and headed out. After 20 minutes with cold hands and wet feet I realised that this was not the day for a long run, and settled instead for a steady plod on a lovely undulating trail through the woods.  One of the benefits of inclement weather is the opportunity to be completely alone on the trails and I enjoyed the peace and solitude with only the sound of falling snow to disturb my thoughts.  One hour later and my hands and feet were numb, my knees had begun their annual winter round of complaining, but my spirits were high.

soggy feet

Not in the mood for running today? it’s always worth a try.




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