Trail running in Madeira, part 1
It has been exactly one week since I arrived to Madeira. My first impressions so far? Beautiful island, a little bit Jurassic Parc style.
However, I am not just here to enjoy the landscape, but also to get in some extra trail running experience and on the 22th of October I will run an ultra trail here as well. To be honest, I was hoping I would feel more confident about that by now… let me tell you why.
Jurassic parc vibes
The first thought I had about this island when we were driving to our Airbnb was how much it reminded me of the movies of Jurassic Parc. The more trails we were discovering, the more clear this became.
For nature lovers, this island is a must-go to destination. Everywhere around you are mountains (if you can see them through the clouds), lush nature and impressive look outs.
What I also truly love about this island is the peace it gives me. I come from Barcelona, a touristic hotspot, so staying in a place like this where most people grow their own vegetables and where the biggest city of the island is the same size as my home town, is like a dream. Or at least to me☺️
(ultra) Trail training
As I said before, I was hoping I would more confident for my upcoming ultra after trying out the trails here for already a week. Although I cannot really complain after a trainings week of +/- 100K, some trainings didn’t go as well as I had hoped (note: I am not saying that I didn’t enjoy them )
Our first trail went really well. Comfortable pace and afterwards I didn’t even feel slightly tired. However, our second trail was a whole different story.
We went to Pico Ruivo (beautiful place, but go early to avoid the tourist groups) so we already started at around 1400 above sea level. I didn’t realize it until my dad told me, that probably due to this the training felt a lot more challenging (The higher above sea level you run, the more difficult it is to train at high intensity because of the less availability of oxygen. Therefore athletes do altitude trainings, to increase their red blood vessels, but lets get into details about that another time.)
On Thursday we had a much needed restday and on Friday we hit the trails again, this time in Boaventura. The first 8K went great and also a very nice path next to levada’s and tecnical ascents/ descents but in stunning landscapes. However, the second part, the route was just ‘find the path yourself’. We had to push through a lot of vegetation and I think my body got some sort of allergic reaction to it and the fun was gone. After 19K and ‘only’ 900 D+, we finally got back to the beginning and I never felt dirtier before in my life.
Saturday we went for a nice little hike to discover the peninsula a bit more and to also get ready for Sunday, our long run.
Sunday long run
Can I start with saying that this route was just WOW?!
The first climb was a tough one, but once done also the ‘toughest’ part was behind us. 7K and 800 D+ you really notice haha. However, after this part we were rewarded with a nice flat path next to another beautiful levada.
My dad decided to take a small shortcut and I continued climbing until I was literally running in the clouds.
After this climb, the fun could begin. Downhills are my weakness, but today I was just flying. Caught up again with my dad and together we finished our long run of 32K (we missed a part in our downhill, oops).
After this training I am feeling super confident for my ultra. It will be a tough one, but good things never come easy.
If you also have any tips for Madeira, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Would very much appreciate it xxx