Ian teaches very valuable principles regarding training including: the importance of the base building period (with the inclusion of skills and drills) in order to build your aerobic physiological engine along with developing proper rhythm and technique, the mental and psychological aspects of training and racing to maximize feelings of fulfillment and compete at your best, proper breathing to help fuel your efforts while relaxing the body and finding your power (mental, spiritual and physical) to deal with the pain of competing and pushing yourself to new levels of performance, and the importance of rest, recovery, balance and proper nutrition to do all this safely and minimize the risk of getting sick or injured.
Day 1: Pick-up in Rome and arrival at Villa Poggiarello. Fly to Italy. We will pick you up in Rome and then you will be accompanied by car or van to Villa Poggiarello - your vacation home in the hills of Southern Tuscany. After settling in, Ian and your Coaches will show you around the area, which will be your home for one week! You will have time to relax in before enjoying a welcome run with your coaches. For dinner you will enjoy a Tuscan meal prepared by Romeo.
Day 2: Cycling Our Way to Tuscan Beaches. In the morning, after Breakfast we will take off on a beautiful training ride to the Tuscan seaside known as “La Pineta”. It is considered to be one of the most picturesque areas along the Tuscan seaside. About half of the ride is downhill and it is about 40 miles to get to the coast. On the beach, we will go for an open water swim before relaxing with a nice lunch on the beach. We will then have some time to relax before visiting Castiglione della Pescaia - a beautiful seaside fishing village. Once home, you can prepare a healthy Tuscan dinner with Romeo (cooking lesson).
Day 3: Bacchus Bike tour to Montalcino (wine country). Early morning hill run and then we will set off on bike for Montalcino, a town famous for its Sangiovese grape vineyards that produce the celebrated Brunello wine. You will visit the magnificent 14th century Rocca (a fortress) and enjoy yourself wandering around the village and exploring picturesque little shops. Then, your guide will bring you to visit a quaint family owned winery just outside Montalcino. The owners will show you their cellar and explain to you the procedures of how to make wine. You can then have a tasting of the Rosso and Brunello. On the way home, visit Sant’Antimo. Dinner at Villa Poggiarello.
Day 4: Sunrise Meditation and Yoga then Swimming and Shopping in Grosseto. No biking today because our legs will need a rest! The hills of Tuscany! We will start of with deep mental skills (concentration and contemplation) practice followed by a yoga class led by Michi and Brandon with commentary for endurance athletes by Ian Darrah. Afterwards, we will enjoy a light breakfast before driving down to Grosseto. We will then explore the historic center of Grosseto and shop, or window shop. Before lunch, we will need to work on our swim skills with a full fledged swim clinic in downtown Grosseto - one of the few places with Olympic sized pool access in May! Afterwards, we will have a post-swim snack in one or two or three local café bar before heading back up to Arcidosso for a nice feast at La Locanda.
Day 5: Monte Amiata – the biggest hill of them all! And the small towns of Monte Amiata. In the morning, after a light breakfast, we will tackle Monte Amiata. It is a short yet brutal challenge. Less than 10 miles of climbing but some of the toughest you’ll ever encounter. If you conquer Monte Amiata you will arrive on your bike to Southern Tuscany’s highest point: nearly 5400 feet! This will be a very special moment. Upon return we will transition into a “blood shift” run just to get ready for Lunch.
After lunch, you will have the opportunity to visit the small towns of Monte Amiata: Santa Fiora with its historic center and ancient Parish Church which contains fine terracotta bas-reliefs by Andrea della Robbia (15th century), and La Peschiera, the private gardens and swimming pool of the Sforza family (16th century). Dinner at La Locanda in Arcidosso.
Day 6: Triathlon in Castiglione della Pescaia. Today, you will enjoy a trip to the seacoast to the pretty seaside village of Castiglione della Pescaia. This old fishing village stands up high on a hill with its castle looking over the turquoise bay. Here we will do a triathlon – the race is on! Swimming in the spectacular Mediterranean Sea, biking along coastline and up into the hills with stunning views and running along the seaside complete with hills (what a surprise) running up past the village castle. We will then snack to hold us over while we drive to Siena where we will feast at a local restaurant. In Siena, we will visit the famous Piazza del Campo, the main square where the people from Siena (“i senesi”) organize, twice a year, a medieval horse race known as Il Palio. Facing the square there is the beautiful tour Torre del Mangia, where if you wish, you can climb up to the top to admire a marvelous view of the city. You can also visit the Duomo which is a gothic style cathedral. Once home, you will enjoy your farewell dinner at Villa Poggiarello.
Day 7: Farewell Villa Poggiarello and friends. You can choose to have a final breakfast at Villa Poggiarello or at the local cafe before heading back to Rome.
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