Running holidays: Lefkas, Greece

Photo by Healthy Options

I’m not used to being shouted at when I run, so when my trainer, Amy, yells at me during our first run session (‘COME ON, JOHN! LAST PUSH!), I’m briefly stunned. Then I respond by pushing the pace and for one delirious moment I am ahead of her. Then she glides by. Still, I feel pretty good. After that, the plucky four who joined Amy for the 8am hill run head back to the resort. I have a quick coffee, then take in a Swiss ball body-sculpt class. It’s led by Amy, who looks as if she’s done nothing more strenuous than recently wake up. And this is only day one of my week at the Healthy Options Holiday on the island of Lefkas, on the west coast of Greece.

There is a focus on yoga and Pilates, but also plenty of running and cycling, as well as circuit classes and, what this place is probably best known for, sailing and windsurfing. There are also various massage treatments available. And when you don’t fancy a class, you can head for a solo run or ride in the hills and olive groves behind the resort.

This isn’t a boot camp. You do as much or as little exercise as you wish and there are plenty of bars within falling distance of the three family-owned hotels that make up the resort, overlooking Vassiliki beach. Still, with so much on offer I made sure I tried something every day, for most of the day, leaving me pleasantly weary by sundown, and consequently far less inclined to celebrate the end of each day with lots of wine than would normally be the case on a holiday.

I tried Pilates and yoga (hatha and vinyasa), all in beginner-friendly classes taken in a long, wide, open-ended tent. On day four, feeling invigorated, I headed out to the olive groves for another circuit class. Amy made us sprint, hop, jog and drop for press-ups, planks and whatever else she could think of. It was hard and it was sharp and yet I found myself relishing the next effort. And that neatly sums up my sense of the entire week. And so, body primed and mind relaxed, I returned home to my training grid looking forward to the miles ahead.

By the numbers

  • 2 bottles of wine drunk over the week
  • 2 sports massages (excellent)
  • 7 miles run one morning (it was extremely hot, so seven was sensible)
  • 3 novels read (on the balcony of my room)
  • 1 pizza eaten (fish and salads, otherwise)
  • 1 hilly bike ride along the coast

The details

When: May–October

Price: The Lefkas yoga and Pilates holiday costs from £795pp (two sharing) and includes return flights (London), transfers, accommodation and classes

Get there: Monarch Airlines

Contact: greece.healthy-options.co.uk