Christmas Training

After an exceptional performance at the 2012 London Olympics, finishing 8th in both the 5000 metres and 10,000 meters, with huge improvements on her personal best times, Julia rounded up 2012 rather tired; having raced close to 70 kilometres on the track, compared to just 17 kilometres in 2011.

So what did Julia do after a very busy year of training and competition? She headed to Ethiopia for a high altitude training camp over Christmas and New Year! Having not visited the country for a number of years, Julia felt a visit to Ethiopia would allow her to “get back to running in its purest, simplest form. The country has produced Olympic Champions in the 5000m, 10000m and marathon distance, so there must be something to learn”.

Staying in the Yaya African Athletic village north of Addis Ababa, “possibly the largest endurance running hub in the world”, Julia enjoyed “Comfortable rooms, fresh organic food, a well-equipped gym and sauna, a beautiful garden for relaxation, a gravel track and training loop, pace makers and running guides to show you the way and ensure that you are training hard enough!”

On Christmas day, whilst most people settled down to a Christmas dinner, Julia headed out for a training session – “It was a still and crisp morning, warming quickly with the rising sunshine. Nic (her coach) set me the workout – 4x4x500m with 30 seconds between 500s and 3 minutes between sets. Looks reasonable on paper but, at 2750m of altitude, it was not just the location that was breathtaking!”. This was Julia’s first full track session since the Olympics, 5 months previously!

Julia has now returned to the UK, is back racing, and is already in preparation for the World Cross Country Championships at the end of March. To follow more of Julia’s training and racing, log into Julia’s website at and watch out for some updates from Julia on the TORQ website and TORQ Running Facebook page in 2013. Director, Matt Hart, and TORQ Runners, Simon and Julie, are heading down to Julia’s training base in Hillingdon, Surrey on Monday for a training session, so there will be some sore legs at TORQ HQ on Tuesday!