Running the Amalfi Coast, or La Costiera Amalfitana, has been on my bucket list ever since I first visited the area ten years ago. My wife is part Italiana and I have long held a great passion for Italian culture, food and the country in all of it’s diverse beauty. This summer, we returned to celebrate a special family birthday and the week’s break made for a perfect mix of family, celebration, food and awe-inspiring running routes. It is a perfect opportunity to introduce my latest collaboration with a superb new British start-up, Evossi.
Fresh, seasonal local food would make for delicious and nutritious eating on this trip and, contrary to popular belief, it is easy to maintain a healthy low carb, high fat diet with traditional Italian food. The mountainous terrain and high temperatures promised a physical challenge and would make hydration a key concern. With the most beautiful lemons in the world growing all around however, the Amalfi coast is the best place on earth for making my hydration formula sports drink.
Accessed either by sea or through mountain passes and steep cliff top roads the towns along the Amalfi coast make for tough running. For us, my wonderful wife and I, the route to hilltop Ravello would be undulating at its most tame and near vertical, via myriad flights of medieval stone steps, the rest of the time. We would gain nearly 500m of elevation in just 3.5Km, pushing the heart rate up to a whopping 192bpm at times.
Public water fountains offer a refreshing drink and a moment’s rest to hard working legs and the opportunity to capture the incredible scenery before pushing “sempre su!” as one kind Italian signor encouraged, “always up!” We continued the ascent towards idyllic Ravello where we would stop for more than a fleeting moment.
WHAT I ATE
As usual, my fuelling and hydration start the day before any event, so the night before I enjoyed the most wonderful buffalo mozzarella Caprese salad with local tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and lashings of local olive oil. I also fuelled up with a selection of local meats and salumi including traditional Salame di Napoli which is a pork salame generously marbled with pork belly fat and flavoured with garlic, herbs, pepper and just 2% salt. Other delights were various cured, prosciutto crudo with the most wonderful flavours providing generous pearly white fat that would set me up perfectly for the following morning’s run. On the walk home I bought some local lemons and sea salt. Before bed I prepared around 800ml of my lemon and sea salt sports drink, drank 400ml before brushing my teeth and getting a good night’s sleep. The plan was always to run fasted so no need to eat and digest first thing. Just up and at ’em.
In the morning, I woke early, sipped the other 400ml of my sports drink on my way to the beach to warm up. My warm up included around 400m of barefoot walking along the idilic sandy beach before some select static stretches prior to my favourite dynamic stretching routine. I returned the hotel to clean the sand from my feet, sand in your shoes is a sure fire way to get blisters. Wifey and I were ready to go.
WHAT I WORE
I wore my usual basic running shorts and shoes, but the star of the show was my new Evossi Elevate tee shirt. Not only is the Elevate tee perfectly named for me and the Elevate Sport brand, it is also the best fitting, most functional tee shirt I have ever worn. the fit is form fitting, but not at all restrictive, with enough movement in the fabric to facilitate cooling on the run. You quickly forget you are wearing anything at all. The functional features include two carefully positioned zip pockets that are ideal for a key, credit card and even your phone or MP3 player if you want. In addition, you have left and right sided pocket/pouches for more storage, which I found perfect for the euro notes I carried for the Ravello coffee stop.
Head over to Evossi online and use code Liam15
HYDRATION ON THE RUN
Hydrating correctly the night before and first thing in the morning meant that hydration was easily manageable on the run. When the intensity got extra high, thirst rose as expected and the water fountains en route were the perfect solution. A mouthful or two and I was good to go. Having stopped for the perfect Ravello Caffe Macchiato and a short rest, I took the opportunity to sip about 250ml of bottled water. For the 3.5Km descent back to Maiori, I experienced no thirst and felt fantastic.
THE COOLEST COOL DOWN
By the end of the run back down into Maiori the temperature was up to about 26℃ and I was ready to kick off my shoes and cool off in the cool, calm Mediterranean Sea. A gentle swim and lower body static stretches (three times thirty seconds for each major muscle) and I was ready for a bite to eat.
Ravello is a place of immense beauty. You have to see it to believe it and I highly recommend that you do. I am sure that its beauty was even more apparent after our journey, like a mini pilgrimage to this hilltop gem. You can stay in Ravello itself, but I think that staying somewhere like nearby Minori and walking or running the route “sempre su!’ to Ravello will make a memorable experience unforgettable.