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Tour de Newport Training: Week 1

This week saw the start of my block of training for the Tour de Newport which I’m aiming to attack in the Summer. I’m following a 20-24 week 100k plan that I’ll follow for the majority of it and then adjust throughout depending on how I’m feeling.

I’d normal be completing the mid-week runs from the office in Cardiff but with the showers out of action due to Covid I’ve restarted getting up extra early to them completed before heading to work. I’m always an early riser so it’s not too difficult to get up a bit earlier and with the mornings getting lighter I’ll eventually be running in the light.

Tuesday – 6 Miles

The first run of the training plan and a 6 mile run to kick it off. With the showers not in operation in the office, I have resorted to getting up early to complete the run so was up and out before 5am.

The plan was to try and slow down and I did a pretty good job of staying under 9:00 /mi for the first 4 miles but then sped up a bit resulting in the heart rate going up. Still, overall it felt like a good pace.

At 0527 I observed the start of nautical twilight which signals the coming of longer days. The nautical twilight (when the sound is between 6-12° below the horizon) usually lasts around 40 minutes followed by 30 minutes of civil twilight (when the sun is between 6° and the horizon) and then daylight.

Shortly after 0530 I noticed a man leaning on the town bridge facing towards the railway line which I thought was odd. Less than 5 minutes later a passing police car had pulled over and was talking to the man in the car. He didn’t look homeless so couldn’t work out if he was ill (he was bent over standing by the car) or if he had been contemplating jumping into the river.

0527 and the start of nautical twilight

Wednesday – 4 Miles (Hills)

The arrival of an Atlantic storm didn’t dampen my enthusiasm to get stuck into training. Out of the house at 0445 again for 4 miles and some hill repeats up North Street. Pleased with how the run went although it’s been a while since I attempted hill repeats so wasn’t the quickest.

Pleased that I got the run done and still managed to irrigate in time before heading out to Cardiff.

Thursday – 6 Miles

Whew! What a wet and windy run. Yesterday morning’s run damp run signalled the start of the storm and was more wet then windy. Today’s run had the full force of the storm with gusts of 60mph as I headed out. Instead of my usual loops around the Riverfront I had decided the day before to mix it up and go for a circular route which took in the City Bridge (SDR). In hindsight I probably should have avoided it during a storm. Progress was somewhat slow getting over the bridge but the strong wind was working wonders clearing the snot from my nose!

Runs like this are a great way of getting used to running in bad conditions because come race day you won’t be in control of the weather. I have enjoyed the pre-5am runs this week and an early night before has made it easier to get up in the morning. When out running it’s so quite and usually busy roads are so quiet you don’t need to stop. There is a chance to see some odd characters including the young man in a tracksuit (in a storm!) talking to graffiti in a subway.

Saturday – 13 Miles

Saturday saw the first day in months that we were allowed to venture a little bit further from home (but still stay local) with some sunny spells forecast I headed to the western side of Newport to run around the lanes of Rhiwderin/Draethen/Rudry/Michaelstone-y-vedw.

The training plan called for 12-14 miles so was going to aim for around 13 miles. I planned a circular route along the country lanes some of which I was familiar with others less familiar. The route was going to be undulating with a couple of decent climbs so would be good training for the TdN. The plan was going to be to run at a leisurely pace and not worry about stopping along the way to take some photos.

Testing out some new gels from Xmiles. Both were pretty decent with the Manuka tasting really good and the Mountain Fuel was a lot thicker.

It was so enjoyable being able to head a bit further afield and run through the countryside and not be concerned about pace but just enjoy being out, getting the miles in and admiring the posh houses and historical sights along the way.

Sunday – 60 Minutes

Last run of the week and 60 minutes of running on the plan. I headed to a similar area as Saturday running around Castleton and Marshfield and ticking off some streets on City Strides. The route took me up Coalpit Lane and across the A48(M) and back down Tyla Lane and over the A48(M) (two bridges I’ve driven under but have never been over.

After crossing the A48 I ran down Vaendre Close and past the Grade II listed Vaendre Hall (currently on the market for £1.65m) and onto the old computer language roads in St Mellons Business Park (Pascal Close, Fortran Road, Cobol Road).

Beyond that it was a run through Marshfield to tick off a few more streets onto Castleton and back to Coalpit Lane.

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I once didn't run, then I started to run and got addicted. Then Crohn's Disease put a stop to my running adventures. Now I'm back with a new bum (colostomy) and starting to embark on new running adventures.

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