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Tour de Newport Training: Week 12

Week 11 ended with a marathon around Cheltenham on Saturday and a 10 mile trail run on Sunday that took in part of the TdN route. The weekly total was 61 miles and surprisingly my legs were feeling pretty good at the start of week 12. As usual after a higher mileage week the long run will be shorter.

Tuesday – 7 Miles

The plan for today was the usual Somerton 7 route and not long into the run things were feeling really good so I took advantage of it with a tempo pace run. Those types of impromptu speedier runs can be so rewarding and are great for kickstarting that runner’s high.

Distance: 7 Miles

Wednesday – 6 Miles

6 miles on the cards today and it was supposed to be a speed session but I talked myself out of that and headed up and down Stow Hill like the last two weeks. In my defence, I did have a tempo session yesterday.

6 miles allows for a warm up/cool down as well as 4 times up and down the 0.4 mile hill so you get a good workout. It’s never speedy but I try to keep a good pace for the entire length of the hill. It’s always a good session.

Distance: 6.22 Miles

Thursday – 7 Miles

The last 4am of week 12 of the Tour de Newport completed and it’s become my favourite time of day to run, especially on a morning like today.

Heading out the door it’s still dark but twilight is beginning to lighten the night sky. The bright moon is visible and Venus is still twinkling but soon the sky will brighten as Mother Nature gradually turns her dimmer switch to start the day.

There’s still an hour left before the sun emerges over the horizon in the east and in the west the moon is sinking towards the horizon, maintaining its brightness but turning creamier in colour. I chose to run loops around the Riverfront so that I could observe the changing colours in the sky and with the sun getting closer to rising it was painting the sky with a palette of reds, yellows and oranges.

Coming to the end of the run the sun is minutes away from rising and I’ve enjoyed a full hour of watching the day begin. It’s sometimes difficult getting up early and there are wet and windy days but mornings like today make it so rewarding.

Distance: 7 Miles

Saturday – 14 Miles

For this week’s longer run I travelled to Freshford near Bath for a run to Bristol along the canal and railway path. The route is largely known to me although it up with some trail sections at Freshford and another at Coombe Down/Bathwick. I had recently purchased some Hoka Challenger ATR 6 in preparation for the challenge so it was a good time to test them on a variety of terrain.

For this run I decided to fuel on proper food such as Ella’s Kitchen, a pork pie, wagon wheels, salt and vinegar chick peas and some spearmint chews. I also had some Salt Stick tablets and 1.5L of water with Precision hydration.

The temperature was warming up and halfway through the run I was starting to find it a struggle. I sweat heavily on runs so combined with warmer weather I was losing a lot of salt. I was ensuring I was using the salt tablets, drinking fluids and eating the other things but it was still a struggle. I did manage to make it to 19 miles but glad I didn’t have to go further. Even though I was supposed to do 14 miles I fancied a bit further.

Cap worn on the run showing the amount of salt I lose

Doing the challenge does cause me some concern due to the potential for warmer temperatures so going to have to try different tactics such as taking the Precision and SOS Hydration in the days leading up to long runs to see if that helps.

Distance: 19 Miles

Sunday – Active Recovery

Today was meant to be a recovery day but I couldn’t resist getting out onto the trails to check more of the TdN route, and I’m glad I did.

There was a section of the route that was marked on the OS map with green circles which indicates that it’s a public access route but the rights of it are unknown. Being greeted by barbed wire on the fence was a sign that the rights along that route had been revoked!

I fired up the OS Maps app and saw that was a footpath leading out of the nearby motorway services so followed the busy road to it. There was no sign of a path and didn’t look there had ever been one since the services were built so headed towards Magor to follow a lane I was familiar with and would take me to the end of the original path that was blocked.

Now that was back on tracked I followed the footpath along a beautiful valley all the way to Penhow Castle. On paper the path passes through a farm and a church so I was keen to check it out to see what the access was like. The path was well sign posted so didn’t feel awkward when I passed the farm workers in the middle of the farm.

The route needed to be circular but rather than retracing my steps all the way I took a different path out of Penhow which took me through an ancient woodland. The Penhow Woodlands is a gem of a place with a signposted 1 mile circular route within.

Exiting the wood I rejoined the country lane and retraced my steps back to the car.

Distance: 8.77 Miles (to make it to 48 miles for the week)

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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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