My Experience and Results

Paul Smith – UK Outdoor Fitness

The first time I travelled to the Chamonix valley, I spent 3 days walking and trail running. The first day I attempted a recommended walk renowned for its amazing views. My aim was to run as much of the route as possible, however walking some of the route was inevitable due to the angle and adjustment to the altitude. The views were spectacular and the anxiety of being on new terrain quickly disappeared. The lack of people and sense of escape from every day life was bliss. All I could see around me were wide open views, trees and mountains!

Argentiére is fantastic base. A quaint little town away from the hustle and bustle of Chamonix town, with endless trails on the doorstep and no need for a car. I was keen to try some of the many mountain trails but to adjust to the terrain and get to know the area, one of my first trails, took me along the valley to Chamonix centre. This was a route I repeated several times. Despite it being a valley route, it has very undulating terrain with awe inspiring views – a great taster of the trails of the valley and an opportunity to test my fitness and compare my increasing speed and fitness as the week progressed.

When I returned home I monitored my progress. I paid attention to my oxygen levels, re-running routes/segments and managed to push my body harder than I had done in a long time! After just 3 days of running in the Alps, running at varying altitudes, there was a clear difference in my overall fitness. My ability to take on hills and push myself beyond previous limits as well as a vastly improved recovery rate made running at home in the UK, feel incredible and greatly increased motivation.

For anyone that is a Strava geek (like me) I improved on segments whilst not at threshold or maximum output. I dropped body fat and my step count went through the roof! I did 120,000 in 3 days and continued doing more than normal when back home, as my body craved more exercise.

The impact I personally found of 3 days trail running in the Alps:

  • Reduced stress levels
  • Improved asthma
  • Increased energy
  • Reduction in body fat
  • Increased motivation
  • Improved breathing
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved oxygen levels
  • Lots of Strava segments golds and even some cups

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