The Long Weekend….
With the off season well and truly under way i had the opportunity to take some time off and head off for a few long weekends. As it happens i had two back to back trips which involved popping over the North Sea to visit Stockholm for the weekend and heading up to the Lake District the following weekend. Both of these were r and r trips rather than training, however what better places to combine some culture, good food, beautiful scenery and a dash of great trail running to keep things ticking over.
My girlfriend knew she was going out to Sweden to run a training course just north of Stockholm so we decided it would be a great opportunity to turn it into a long weekend in Stockholm and i flew in on the Friday. As luck would have it a good friend and fellow swimrunner Markus Rossel of the world famous “German Sparkle Party” was living out in Stockholm with work and generously offered to put us up for the weekend and show us around. Having only visited Sweden during the summer for swimruns in the past this was a great opportunity to see Stockholm in a different light.
The weekend involved a couple of runs around the city taking in some great tourist spots with the help of ‘Run with Me Stockholm‘ a great running group that is run by another friend i met through swimrun.
We also managed to fit in a 25k trail run on the Saturday in the Tyresta National Park. This offered stunning scenery, technical trails and plenty of fresh air! On top of the training we got to wonder the city, take in some sights, sample some really tasty food including the famous cardamon, cinnamon and even saffron rolls at the coffee shops!
The weather during the trip was very crisp but aside from a little dusting of snow we didn’t have any rain! As a long weekend goes i could not recommend Stockholm highly enough. There are always cheep flights into Stockholm Arlanda and its a super simple bus into the city centre from there! The food is great, there are plenty of opportunities for shopping if that’s your bag and there are no end of attractions to visit including the Abba Museum!!
The Lake District:
Believe it or not The Lake District was actually a longer journey than it was to Stockhom. We made the wrong choice and drove… It was a 7 hour door to door trip from London. With the benefit of hindsight i would say pay the extra cash and jump on the train as it haves the journey time and quarters the stress! Once up in the lakes we checked into a lovely B & B called Virginia Cottage in Bowness-on-Windemere and headed out for a good meal and pint of ale. On the Saturday we headed to a fell race which we had located by doing some research prior to the trip. There are always fell races to be found this time of year, so with a little research before hand you can find yourself a friendly local event! The best part of these are that they are super friendly, cheap as chips (usually £5) and offer free tea and cake afterwards…. Winning!! The Kirkby Moore 10k fell race did not disappoint!! With the greeting of hail seconds before the start gun the race was tough, cold, muddy, technical and hilly and as always with fell races very humbling. That being said there is nothing better than taking a step out of your comfort zone into some good old fashioned fell running running where you have to pack your map, compass, full length water proofs, wooly hat and be prepared for anything! Both of us were made to fell very welcome and had a great time while being left under no illusions that we truly are Southern Softies!!
The rest of the day was spend warming up, eating, and even taking a boat trip out on Lake Windermere where i was ambushed by the local bird life when i started to feed the swans. The evening was spend tasting some local craft beers at the Baha Bar and replacing the days calorie deficit.
Sunday was a little more sedate, we popped out for an easy trail run over and around the fells finding a course online that we could follow, then finished up checking into a spa for a little pampering before jumping back into the car. Thankfully it was a much faster trip back into town. As trips away go the Lake District is never going to disappoint, the train is certainly the way to go and once you are up there taxi’s are fairly good value if you need to get anywhere.
All in all both locations off a perfect place to relax and unwind after a busy season of racing while still offering a fun environment to roll out some very unstructured training keeping the body ticking over in the off season.