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Tour de Newport Training: Week 4

Week 4 of the TdN training block and it’s pretty much a carbon copy of week 3 and the training is continuing well.

Tuesday – 7 Miles

The fourth week of the training plan begins and it’s pretty much a carbon copy of the last week apart from substituting hills with speed work. After the two tough runs on the weekend the legs were feeling a little tired particularly the quads so this week I’m going to try to stick to the plan of not running so far in the Sunday and in a less hilly location. 

With it due to be 21°C later today I was glad to get out in the cold and fog for the usual 7 miles via Somerton and the SDR Bridge. It also meant that I could enjoy a post-work BBQ without having to worry about trying to squeeze in a run or going after it. 

Despite the sore legs the run went well and like other early morning runs it was nice to enjoy the peace and quiet. 

Distance – 7 Miles

Wednesday – 6 Miles (Speed)

Beers and a BBQ the night before made it difficult to roll out of bed for run two of the week and a speed session was on the cards. Decided as soon as I got up that a speed session wasn’t going to happen today!

Went to follow one of the routes I have started to take through Clarence Place but a major police incident had closed off the area so instead resorted to the old faithful – Riverside Loopz. I usually use this area for speed sessions with 400m fast down each side with the two bridges as recovery but instead of that ended up just picking up the pace a little overall. Sometimes you have to adjust based on how you feel and I had a couple of miles at race-ish pace on Sunday at the end of the long run so overall I’m sure everything is still on track. 

Distance – 6.22 Miles

Thursday – 7 Miles

Last early morning of the week and a better start than yesterday waking up 15 mins before the alarm was due to go off which made it easy to get up and was out running by 0415. 

The legs were feeling better today although recently I’ve been having a niggle with the side of my left foot. Overall it doesn’t cause any issues when running (apart from the occasional reminder that it’s there) and just hoping that it doesn’t turn into something more troublesome.

Distance – 7.5 Miles

Saturday – 16-18 Miles

This week’s long run was between 16-18 miles and as usual I was keen to run somewhere new but whilst we’re still restricted to staying within Wales I kept relatively local. I’ve run and walked part of the Vale of Glamorgan before but there are still many lanes that I haven’t been along before. The lanes are mainly small and cycle-friendly which means that they’d be good for running along.

I plotted a route starting at Ewenny Priory (unfortunately closed) and headed south through Corntown, Castle upon Alun, Wick, Broughton, Monknash and as far as St Donat’s on the coast and then returning along different lanes via Llandow returning through Corntown again and ending back at Ewenny Priory.

The route was very scenic taking in a number of historic sights such as a packhorse bridge and the old buildings in St Donat’s but I did find it a bit tough. The legs were a bit tired after a long walk around Margam the day before and even though it wasn’t particularly warm I was sweating more than usual and losing quite a bit of salt.  I didn’t take any salt tablets with me but drinking Precision Hydration ( the PH 1500 version) but perhaps 2 x 500 ml over the 18 miles wasn’t enough. Still, I made it back to base and was rewarded with a custard doughnut which I had brought with me.

Distance – 18 Miles

Sunday – 1h 20m

The Sunday run was for 1 hour 20 minutes and after the 18-mile run around the Vale of Glamorgan I needed to head to the trails for some off-road running. Unsure of where to head I plotted a circular route from Pentyrch taking in Garth Hill – a hill I’ve long been aware of but have never been up. 

The first part of the route passed through fields and woodlands and it wasn’t long before my impromptu route planning had plotted a route along a path that didn’t seem to exist. Using the OS Maps app I discovered an alternative route which interestingly went along a disused railway station at Creigiau which closed in 1962 but still has two full platforms remaining. After the station I followed the disused line for another half mile or so and then rejoined the original path that I wanted to run along. 

The path then claimed through a very scenic woodland and past a disused quarry and then reached a section that was blocked off so it was back through the wood to try and find a detour to the route I needed to follow. Luckily the wood was frequented by mountain bikers so I followed a couple of tracks which took me to a country lane which led me to the exit of the original blocked path.

This section of the route was a long, long climb up towards Garth Hill but I don’t think I could have picked a better day with clear skies in all directions and despite some haziness on the horizons you could see almost to the Cardiff Bay.  With views as good as these I was surprised that I hadn’t made the effort to come here before. 

Descending Garth Hill was quite different to the climb up it and with it’s narrow, dusty trails on a sunny day it was like being in a different country.  After descending the hill the footpaths navigated through a couple of fields and then reached the outskirts of Pentyrch. 

The run wasn’t long at 8.5 miles and wasn’t quick at 2 hours long but I can never resist stopping to take photos of stunning vistas but the time on feet and the climbs will help with the Tour de Newport. 

Distance – 8.5 Miles (~2 Hours)

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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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