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A guide to warm-weather training in Fuerteventura

We sent globetrotting adventurers Jonny and Hannah Verman for a spot of warm-weather training on the sun-soaked island of Fuerteventura. Here’s how they fared on the beaches, mountains, and volcanoes of the Canaries’ much-loved vacation (and training) destination.

 

You might be wondering if taking a week or two out of your schedule and jetting off for some warm-weather training is worth the time and money—and that’s a fair question. Like us, you’ve probably got a solid routine in place to beat the winter blues. However, there’s a reason the who’s who of the sporting world swap grey skies for sunshine once temperatures begin to plummet.

 

For starters, numerous studies show the physiological benefits of warm-weather training. Just switching up your routine to soak up some vitamin D is a real mood booster that filters into your performance. Of course, the feel-good factor and great tan are not the only reasons to chase the sun: Working up a sweat in high temperatures is way more challenging on your body. Blood plasma levels also increase in the heat, ensuring endurance improves once you return to those chilly conditions back home.

 

 

 

All work and no play?

We’re pleased to report this really isn’t the case. Warm-weather training places greater stress on your body, so sessions are shorter yet more intense. Therefore, it’s important to take rest and recovery seriouslywhich is great if you’re combining training with a vacation.

 

In Fuerteventura, there are over 150 km of pristine beaches to kick back on, while the windy conditions create one of the best windsurfing scenes in Europe. If you’ve got some wiggle room in your schedule, you might want to build a couple of days of acclimatization into your itinerary just to get to grips with the heat, which even in the depths of winter can reach upwards of 25°C (77°F).

 

 

The epicenter of warm-weather training

The Canary Islands have long been a premier getaway for sunseekers, thanks to its dreamy beaches and year-round warm weather. But the golden stretches of coastline and rugged, volcanic interior are not just popular with fly-and-floppers. The archipelago is also a haven for those looking to swap sandals for CloudTec®. The likes of Ironman champ Tim Don and Olympic triathlon gold medalist Nicola Spirig spend plenty of time honing their fitness here.

 

The Cloudflow
The lightweight fully cushioned shoe for training and racing. Loved by elite athletes, this is the shoe that broke the Ironman world record. Now with Helion™ superfoam for added temperature resistance on hot roads.
See the Cloudflow

 

An island built for adventure

Fuerteventura translates to ‘Strong Venture’—and if you’re looking for a venture of the strong variety, this island more than has you covered. Fuerteventura’s diverse array of landscapes and weather conditions (it can get real windy!) are strikingly similar to those found in Kona, Hawaii, home of the Ironman World Championships, so it’s the ideal place to prep for any manner of challenge. Plus, on top of sun-soaked beachside trails, Fuerteventura boasts several volcanoes that are ready-made for high altitude workouts.

 

As mentioned, this combination of high-heat and high altitude ensures you return home with a boosted amount of red blood cells and an increased plasma level, meaning you’ll boss sessions in colder climes. Although it’s the second-largest of the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura feels far removed from the crowds of nearby Tenerife and Lanzarote. You’ll often have boundary-pushing trails to yourself, so it’s no wonder cyclists, hikers, and runners wax lyrical about the island.

 

 

 

 

Finding a base in Fuerteventura

In the south, you’ll find a heady blend of picture-postcard beaches and cute coastal towns, while the north is a paradise for surfers and sailors. Central Fuerteventura is dominated by mountains and is perfect for high altitude workouts. We chose to base ourselves in the south, near the village of Piedras Caidas, and couldn’t wait to and get exploring on clouds.

 

We’d seen pictures of the volcanic landscape and golden beaches and heard all about the epic trails, so we were excited to put our gear to the test. The island greeted us with typically hot and dry weather, but we had to wait a couple of days for the strong winds to die down. With the mercury rising and the wind dropping, we kick-started our warm-weather training with a gentle 5 km run from our base to the village of Morro Jable. Being flanked by a sandy ribbon of perfection and crashing waves was an intoxicating introduction to island life.

 

The perfect mountain run

As picturesque as this coastal run was, the mountains were calling. The next day, we packed up the car and headed 60 km north to Antigua, the gateway to the Betancuria Massif. We had high hopes for the island’s most mountainous region – and it didn’t disappoint.

 

For 25 km, we weaved along mountain roads, with only a handful of cyclists passing by. It may have been a real leg-burner, but the views sure were worth it—especially from atop a rocky outcrop, which provided sweeping island vistas. As well as being spectacular during the day, this area is home to virtually no light pollution, so when the sun goes down, the stars light up the night sky to produce an otherworldly spectacle.

 

The Performance-T
The ultralight running t-shirt that’s breathable and fast-drying to keep you comfortable even in hot climates.
See the Performance-T

 

How to top perfection

If we’re honest, we really didn’t think we’d be able to top this mountain run. But we shouldn’t have underestimated Fuerteventura — it’s an island that’s full of surprises, and just outside of Morro Jable, we found a gem of a trail that should be on everyone’s to-run list. The first strides took us along a slick tar road, but in no time at all, we were on gravel and sand tracks and heading through the Jandía Natural Park to the town of Cofete.

 

As we approached Cofete, we were welcomed with a real pinch-yourself moment as the glittering ocean appeared below. Nothing gives you a second wind like knowing the sea is waiting for you! It didn’t take us long to realize why many claim Cofete has the best beach in Europe. After wiggling our toes in the sand and taking a quick dip, we ran the 10 km back to Morro Jable with a real spring in our step—and, as a bonus, all our gear was dry by the time we reached the car!

 

 

A runner’s paradise that’s worth the hype

All in all, Fuerteventura proved to be a real runner’s paradise. The variety of landscapes coupled with the different types of terrain made for an unforgettable training environment. The high heat and strong winds posed a unique challenge that needed to be respected. However, serious runners will love conquering and exploring the dramatic trails on offer here.

 

In your downtime, away from the beaches and watersports, your taste buds are in for a real treat as the island’s food scene is a delicious mix of traditional and contemporary seafood dishes. Although the island is only 100 km long and 25 km wide, transport links are limited, so renting a car is the easiest way to reach Fuerteventura’s epic trails. Whether you’re near the beach or in the mountains, you’ll find ample places to pull over and put your best foot forward.

 

 

The Cloudventure
If you’re looking to go off-road as you explore the island of “Strong Venture”, the appropriately named Cloudventure is your shoe. This lightweight trail shoe combines the hold of Missiongrip with the downhill cushioning of CloudTec®.
See the Cloudventure

Keep up to date with Jonny and Hannah’s global wanderings at findingouradventure.com or on Instagram (@findingouradventure).

 

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